Antonio Baker from Amite and Daniel Porter from Istouma were headed to Southeastern Louisiana before they committed to Louisiana Tech the week of signing day in 2006.
D'Anthony Smith from Pickering was another Louisiana native that was not recruited heavily out of high school. Porter is now running circles through the CFL after becoming Louisiana Tech's all time leader in rushing yards. Baker finished 2010 on the Houston Texan's practice squad. Smith was drafted in the thrid round and 74th overall in 2010 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Baker, Porter, and Smith are living proof that it isn't always about the stars when it comes to recruiting. Looking at the map, it also draws a line back to Louisiana Tech Offensive Line Coach Petey Perot, who has recruited numerous key players from South Central Louisiana and East Texas for the Bulldogs.
The 2006 class featured 26 players, including 6 junior college players. Joe Danna was the big 6'5" quarterback from junior college power Blinn College in Brenham, TX. Danna was the headliner for the class and one of four players rated three stars by Scout.com.
Of the six junior college players, Danna was the onloy one that did not make an impact. Chris Pugh and Ben McGilton mae plays on the defensive line despite being undersized. Jared Parten was limited by multiple injuries, but he still managed to make a positive impact on the team. All three defensive linemen helped improve the toughness of the defense.
McGilton's two teammates from Pearl River, Chris Lowery and Shalamar Walker also made contributions, with Walker playing a key role in the secondary.
While Daniel Porter was a late addition to the signing class, William Griffin one of the key members of the signing class. Griffin helped lead the way for Tech to recruit Patterson High School (Tank Calais) and other players from the Thibodaux area (Kiamni Washington, Phillip Livas) in the future.
Griffin never made the kind of impact that Tech fans had hoped and he ended up transferring to Northwestern State.
Rob McGill, Cudahy Harmon, and Lon Roberts were offensive linemen that started early in their careers and had to have close to 100 career starts between them. These three guys were crucial to an offense that saw many changes (to the offense and to the coaching staff) over the course of their careers.
Two out of three years, Ross Jenkins was benched in favor of other quarterbacks, only to finish both seasons as the starter. Jenkins saw his completion percentage increase all three years as a starter; from 52.9 as a sophomore, to 59.3 as a junior, and finally to 62.8 as a senior. Jenkins had 36 touchdowns to only 14 interceptions in his career. The Langham Creek (TX) product had a career best 2,095 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 7.22 yards per attempt as a junior.
Terrance Freeman, Jahoyde Owens, Chris Riser, Greg Greathouse, Jamarr Thompson, Derrick Williams, Joe Thomas, Nick Narcisse, Eric Harris, and Clayton Chambers never really saw a lot of action on the field for Louisiana Tech. Greathouse (Evangel) and Chambers (West Monroe)were both from North Louisiana high school powerhouses. Both players were undersized for their position, but mangaged to be solid members of the team for a few years. Freeman, Owens, Riser, Thompson, Williams, Thomas, Narcisse, Harris, and Joe Danna add up to eight players who either never made it to campus or did not stick around very long.
Will Taylor ended up gray shirting and like Greathouse and Chambers, he had a solid career as a practice player.
Randy Grigsby was a local product (Ruston High School) and he played four years on the defensive line. Grigsby earned a few starts and filled the void at defensive tackle in 2010. After the Bulldogs suffered a few injuries at tackle, the senior moved inside to help the team.
For filling a few holes in the defense with junior college players; this class had an instant impact. With a quarterback (Jenkins), a running back (Porter), and three offensive linemen (Harmon, Roberts, and McGill) that had long, productive careers in Red and Blue; this class had staying power. With Smith, Baker, and of course the program's all time leading rusher in Porter; this class had star power.
Louisiana Tech had four players with three stars in 2006, three in 2007, and four again in 2008. Tech had three each once again in 2009 and 2010, before jumping up to six in 2011. Looking back, Porter, Baker, and McGill all had at least three star level careers. Smith would have easily been a four star recruit had other coaches been able to look a few months into the future and see the kind of impact he would make as a freshman.
The 2006 Class for Louisiana Tech gets an A- to a solid A now that 5 years have passed. Had Danna, Riser, or Griffin produced, or if so many players had not left, this class would have been an A+. What it lacked in number of contributers, it made up for it in players that made big impacts.