1/21/17 5:40 am CST
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU picked up its 20th commitment for 2017 yesterday when wide receiver Racey McMath gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers. McMath (6-3, 210, Edna Karr, No. 11 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2017) is the second-highest ranked wide receiver in the state of Louisiana, behind Davonta Smith of Amite, and is a great get for Coach Ed Orgeron and staff at a position of need. McMath chose LSU over offers from Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Miami and others. To check out what kind of prospect McMath is, here are his video highlights.
McMath’s commitment marks the start of what could be a very significant weekend in recruiting for LSU. Coach Ed Orgeron and his staff are hosting another star-studded group of visitors this weekend, including several players already committed to LSU and five big remaining targets. The biggest of the remaining targets is linebacker Jacob Phillips who is committed to Oklahoma but will be visiting LSU along with his family on an unofficial visit. The other four remaining targets visiting this weekend, all on official visits, are linebackers Willie Gay, pass rusher extraordinaire Markaviest Bryant, wide receiver Marlon Williams and defensive end Justin Harris. This is a big weekend not only because of all these LSU targets who will be in Baton Rouge, but because of all the LSU targets – in-state targets, that is – who will be visiting Tuscaloosa. As mentioned yesterday, Chris Allen, Davonta Smith, Todd Harris, and Phidarius Mathis will all be visiting Alabama. In addition, LSU’s top remaining running back recruit, Travis Etienne of Jennings, is visiting Clemson this weekend, and WDE/LB target K'lavon Chaisson is visiting Texas. If any news breaks on any of these guys, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Yesterday when I gave you my thoughts on several targets left on LSU’s board, I forgot to mention two linebackers, Tyler Taylor and Ellis Brooks. Taylor visited LSU last weekend and LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma are believed to be his leaders. His school of choice announcement could come in the next few days. As for Brooks, he’s from Richmond, VA, which is a long way from Baton Rouge, but from what I understand his visit to LSU went very well this week. He was in Baton Rouge from Sunday night until Tuesday. Currently, Maryland appears to lead for his signature, though I wouldn’t count out the Tigers.
In men’s basketball news, LSU (9-8, 1-5) plays in Fayetteville vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks (14-4, 3-3) tonight in a 7:30 p.m. contest on the SEC Network. After an impressive 11-1 non-conference start, the Razorbacks have had an up and down season in conference play, winning games at Tennessee (82-78) and vs. Missouri (92-73) while losing to No. 5 UK (97-71), No. 19 Florida (81-72) and Mississippi State (84-78). Arkansas’ most recent victory came against Texas A&M (62-60) in College Station, where the Tigers lost in embarrassing fashion (92-62) just 10 days ago. LSU seldom wins at Bud Walton Arena, though the Tigers did upset the Razorbacks 81-78 two seasons ago. Last year, with eventual No. 1 NBA pick Ben Simmons, LSU was throttled in Fayetteville to the tune of 85-65.
In the last two contests, we have seen the Tigers play with much more intensity than several of their previous contests. Unfortunately, LSU had fatal lapses on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor to lose both of those games. Against Alabama, the Tigers mixed zone defense with man-to-man to hold the Crimson Tide to 56 points in the first 35 minutes but crumbled late in being outscored 25-10 in the final five minutes of an 81-66 home loss. At Auburn, the Tigers raced out to a 26-15 lead in the first 11 + minutes of the first half, but costly turnovers and ineffective offensive execution led to a 42-16 run by Auburn and 57-42 lead with about 12 minutes remaining. While LSU fought back and almost pulled off an amazing comeback in Auburn Arena, the Tigers fell short again and now have lost six of their previous seven games. Without question, LSU will have to play disciplined basketball for a full 40 minutes to beat a talented and veteran Razorbacks team that is starting to catch fire after winning their previous two SEC contests.
Now. with just 27 days remaining until the start of baseball, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve got a bad case of spring fever. Part of that is knowing that those tomato seeds I planted last weekend are starting to sprout in my greenhouse, and part is knowing that in less than a week LSU will begin preseason baseball practice. With that in mind, today we’ll continue our mini-countdown to Game Day by introducing you to a freshman who wears the No. 27, right-handed pitcher Matthew Beck of Alexandria. If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Beck was an outstanding football prospect as well, an All-State quarterback at ASH. As good as he was at football (he turned heads at an LSU football camp I attended in 2014), he’s even better at baseball. I might add that he’s even better in the classroom, as he graduated in the National Honor Society with a 4.0 GPA. As for how he might be used as a member of the LSU baseball team, here’s what coach Mainieri is quoted as saying about him in Beck’s official LSU bio: “Matthew might be the ‘sleeper’ of this class, as he has as much upside as any pitcher coming to campus. Matthew chose LSU Baseball over continuing his football career as a quarterback at a number of Division 1 football programs. Matthew led the state of Louisiana in passing yards and touchdowns in 2015, and we are very excited for him to get to campus. At 6'7" he may draw some comparisons to 2009 LSU National Champion Anthony Ranaudo, and we think he has that type of potential on the mound for us. His fastball will sit in the 88-90 range, and we are excited for his development. This is another one of those guys that you get excited about knowing they will learn under the tutelage of Alan Dunn.”
In gymnastics news, the second-ranked LSU Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season with a 197.475-192.625 win over TWU. More than 11,500 fans were in attendance for the match, the fourth-most in the history of the program. With the victory, the Tigers extended their winnings streak inside the PMAC to 23-straight meets. For more on the win, see this article on LSUSports.net.
Today’s closing tidbits:
• Congratulations to former LSU Basketball star Tasmin Mitchell for being named one of the 2017 SEC Basketball Legends. For more on the topic, see this article on LSUSports.net.
• Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons will be the final football game at the Georgia Dome. To help commemorate the occasion, LSU has released these highlights of some of LSU’s greatest moments in the Georgia Dome.
• Last but not least, my seemingly relentless reminder of our annual fundraiser, which is in its final 10-day stretch. If you value these daily reports, I ask that you help keep them coming by pledging your support. To find out how and why, please read this important message. Thanks for your consideration.