LSU's had more than its share of good fortune venturing into south Florida for quality defensive backs.
The latest in that string - John Battle IV of Hallandale, Fla. - hopes to continue the trend of standouts from that region when the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder offered his commitment to LSU football coach Les Miles on Friday.
"He was more excited than me," Battle said of Miles. "He said he was grateful to have me and we're getting ready to do some big things at LSU and wants me to be a big part of that. He said let's go out there and win a national championship."
The decision by Battle, which was carried live by South Florida High School Sports, continued an upward swing in LSU's current recruiting class with its second commitment this week, joining four-star defensive end Deondre Clark of Oklahoma City-Douglass.
Battle, the nation's No. 34 cornerback, provided LSU with its 12th overall commitment, sixth from an out-of-state prospect and pushed the Tigers to 11th nationally in the team standings.
LSU has previously received pledges from corneback Ed Paris of Mansfield, Texas, defensive back Chris Hardeman of Houston and Devin Voorhies of Woodville, Miss., an athlete who could play safety.
"I grew up being a big fan of LSU and dreaming about playing in Death Valley," said Battle, who punctuated his on-line decision with a purple and gold hat. "I get that feeling every time I think about LSU and walking out of the tunnel and looking up into the stadium. It doesn't get any better than Death Valley. It stayed in my heart and it's still there to this day so that's what I went with."
Battle said his decision ultimately came down a meeting Friday morning between his parents and coaches, reviewing all of the strengths and weaknesses of each school.
A total of 32 schools offered scholarships but Battle said he picked from a field that was narrowed to LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina State, Louisville, USC and South Florida.
"I'm locked in," Battle said. "I'm done."
The road to reaching LSU began with a five-school summer tour nearly three weeks ago when Battle and his parents started with trips to LSU, Tennessee, Louisville, N.C. State and South Carolina.
While Battle, who is being recruited by LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, departed Baton Rouge with more than a favorable feeling about the school he said it wasn't until his return home when he began to hone in on the Tigers.
"I got home and did some deep thinking," Battle said. "I wanted to look at the school other than the football aspect and see if I could be there for four to five years. I loved the university, the coaches and the players and that's why I picked LSU."
During the live on-line feed of his decision Battle described in glowing terms the relationship he's had with Raymond as a key element along with the feeling of comfort that exuded while around Miles.
"I just have a great relationship with Coach Corey Raymond," Battle said. "We had some great times when we were up there. I spent a lot of time hanging out with Les Miles. He is a great coach and he has a drive to win. That is something I want to do and that's big boy football. It doesn't get any better than the SEC and I'm ready for it."
Battle has played both corner and safety for Hallandale, registering 40 tackles and two interceptions while playing safety last season.
Battle explained that in LSU's system he'll play what's termed a "hybrid" safety or someone with the ability to play the run but can also roll down and cover slot receivers.
"I'm a hard hitter, somebody that can go up there and get the football," Battle said. "I'm somebody that can tackle, a rangy player who can get to each side of the field and a winner. I'm somebody that wants to win."
Battle is also someone with a preference for being a two-sport athlete. He won his third straight district title in the 110 hurldes and wound up fifth at state, opening the door for a spot on LSU's track team in the spring.
"That's what I want to do," said Battle, who has a personal best of 14.2 seconds in the hurdles race. "We talked about it and hadn't made a final decision. As of now it's looking really clear that I can."
Battle, who plans to major in broadcasting, would like to return to LSU next month and in the July camp which is expected to draw a larger pool of talent over the June offering and will also enable the Tigers newest commitment to get to know some of his future teammates.
"When I was younger and started to get into watching college football I was a Miami fan," Battle said. "Then I became a Florida fan. Now I've become an LSU fan."
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