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May 10, 2014

Big night for LSU football program

LSU coach Les Miles and his staff received some great recruiting material Friday night.

Three Tigers players - defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, running back Jeremy Hill and wide receiver Jarvis Landry were chosen in the second round of the NFL draft. Ferguson went to the Chicago Bears, Hill to the Cincinnati Bengals and Landry to the Miami Dolphins.

Throw in Odell Beckham getting selected in the first round Thursday by the New York Giants and LSU had four players drafted in the opening two rounds. If a recruit wants to play in the NFL, Miles and his assistants certainly can get them ready.

For just the third time in school history, four Tigers players were chosen in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. Miles has been the coach for two of those three drafts - this year and 2007. The other draft which had four LSU players picked in the first two rounds was 1951.

In 2007, the Tigers had four first-round selections - JaMarcus Russell, LaRon Landry, Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis. There were three first-round draft choices in 1951 - Y.A. Tittle, Ebert Van Buren and Kenny Konz. Rip Collins was picked in the second round.

The night ended with guard Trai Turner being selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers. For the third time in the past four years, LSU had at least five players picked in the first three rounds - five in 2011, six in 2013 and five in 2014.

With Ferguson's selection, a LSU defensive tackle has been drafted for seven consecutive years. The only tackles picked higher than Ferguson during this time were Glenn Dorsey in 2008 and Michael Brockers in 2012. Both Dorsey and Brockers were drafted in the first round.

"The Bears flew me in to Chicago before (LSU's) Pro Day," Ferguson said. "I talked ball for a long time with (defensive line coach) Paul Pasqualoni. He asked me if I can play two-technique. I feel I can get to the quarterback. I do need to work on my pass rush. I always bring heart and a competitive nature."

Ferguson admitted Friday night that he missed LSU's bowl game against Iowa for a "violation of team rules." He added that it was a "coach's decision" for him not to play in the game.

Hill was the highest picked Tigers running back since Joe Addai was the Indianapolis Colts' first-round selection in 2006. Hill was only the fourth LSU tailback chosen in the first two rounds in the last 25 years. The other two were Harvey Williams (1991/first round) and Kevin Faulk (1999/second round).

"Jeremy Hill is a very, very talented young runner," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "He is one of the most versatile runners around. He is big and strong and he can make people miss. Jeremy can also catch the ball.

"His skill set and knowledge of the game will permit him to be productive early in his career. The LSU offense mirrors a lot of things which are done in the NFL."

Hill is projected to be a great complement for Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard. Hill will be the big back, while Bernard is more of a slippery type of runner.

For the fourth time in the past 11 years, the Tigers had two wide receivers drafted in Beckham and Landry. Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson were chosen in 2004, Skyler Green and Bennie Brazell in 2006 and Bowe and Davis in 2007.

"I am thrilled to have Jarvis Landry," Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said. "I saw him play live several times. He is tough, smart and productive. Jarvis has a passion for the game. What always jumped out to me was his ability to just make plays."

The last Tigers offensive lineman drafted before Turner was Joe Barksdale by the Oakland Raiders in 2011. Ironically, both Turner and Barksdale were selected with the 92nd pick in the draft. The last LSU guard drafted was Herman Johnson by the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.

Turner is the highest drafted Tigers guard in ten years. Stephen Peterman was the 83rd choice (third round) of the 2004 draft. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys.



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