No school had ever lost 11 underclassmen to the NFL draft. Not until this past winter when 11 LSU Tigers told head coach Les Miles they would be making the jump to the professional ranks, that is.
Quite naturally, the coach has tried to turn that negative into a positive… on the recruiting trail:
“The situation is a reality in our program. We did a great job developing our guys, and investing in them. And what’s happening is that three-and-outs are reality. We’re going to have to enjoy the success that those guys can have in three and out.
I still believe that there are opportunities (for players to return) to raise their draft status. The two pieces to whether you stay is whether you raise your draft status and the opportunity to make it and stay in the NFL. To me, when you’re ideally placed to be drafted high and to be in a position where you have to find your worth and your abilities but you will make a team — those guys are really welcome to leave (school) and, in many instances, will.”
Cut through the standard Miles doubletalk and you’ll easily grasp the coach’s message to prospects — “Hey, kid, we can get you ready for the NFL lickety-split.”
Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that “some are wondering if the coach works for a university… or an NFL farm system.” In reality, the answer is both.
Miles is aware of the current college sports landscape and he’s adapting to it, not unlike John Calipari at Kentucky. No rules are being broken. Heck, those who abhor the NCAA might even say Miles and LSU are helping young men break free from the bonds of Mark Emmert faster, allowing them to make money sooner.
Still, if Miles were to be honest, one would guess he’s not thrilled about having to replace so many players ahead of schedule. Faced with that issue, however, he has to put a proper spin on it. And he has. So anyone upset with Miles’ comments regarding three-and-outs should first ask themselves this question: “What was Miles supposed to say?”