ARTICLE Cream of the crop LSU's Saban lures nation's top class to Baton Rouge Posted: Wednesday February 05, 2003 9:28 PM BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU bolstered an already strong recruiting class with the signing of top quarterback prospect JaMarcus Russell, despite losing another sought-after quarterback to rival Mississippi on Wednesday. The Tigers brought in an expected strong recruiting class, loaded with talent at positions from wide receiver and running back to linemen and defensive backs. "I think almost at every position we recruited a player that can upgrade that position at some point in time in the future," LSU coach Nick Saban said. Saban did it by capitalizing on Louisiana's wealth of homegrown talent, then filling out his recruiting class with several top prospects from the neighboring Gulf states and a big running back from Maryland. "They have absolutely dominated the state of Louisiana and reached into Florida, Mississippi and Texas and taken away blue chip athletes," said Bobby Burton of Rivals.com. "What's more impressive to me than any single player is the number of top players they have. The depth they have is unbelievable." LSU's class was ranked No. 1 by the Prep Football Report, Rivals.com and National Blue Chips -- three prominent recruiting services. The Tigers were fourth in SuperPrep's rankings. Russell, a 6-foot-6, 225-pounder who threw for 3,332 yards last season and was named an All-American by Parade Magazine, waited until late Wednesday evening to make his announcement on regional cable television from Atlanta. He picked up a LSU baseball cap to signal his decision. "I want to tell all the people back home I'm going to be a Tiger," he said. Russell's letter of intent was faxed to LSU from Atlanta shortly after he made his announcement at the TV station. "JaMarcus is certainly an impact guy who can make a lot of big plays for us and I think that has a lot to do with winning football games," Saban said. Robert Lane, the son of former NFL quarterback Bob Lane, said earlier that he intended to play at LSU, but decided Wednesday not to chance getting stuck in a three-quarterback system if Russell, a standout from Mobile, Ala., decided on LSU. Also headed to LSU is Matt Flynn of Tyler, Texas. Most high school football analysts also ranked Flynn among the nation's top 20 recruits at quarterback. LSU's in-state talent included defensive back LaRon Landry, Craig Davis and Daryl Johnson. Davis is a wide receiver and Johnson is a defensive back. At running back, LSU now has on of Louisiana's top running back prospects: 6-1, 226-pound Alley Broussard of Acadiana High School Lafayette. He rushed for 780 yards in three playoff games and scored 32 touchdowns last season. LSU got a pair of linemen from John Curtis. Jerry Sevin (6-foot-4, 294 pounds) was considered one of the best offensive line prospects anywhere. Carnell Stewart (6-5, 285) plays defensive end. Joining Stewart on defense will be Kirston Pittman (604, 245) of East St. John in Reserve, considered one of Louisiana's best at defense end or linebacker. LSU's out-of-state help includes a top Florida prospect in wide receiver Anthony Hill of Jacksonville. At the linebacker position, LSU expected immediate help from junior college standout Ken Hollis. Another top-rated running back, Barrington Edwards (6-0, 205) of Bowie, Md., also signed to LSU.