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12/18/18 5:35 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

DandyDon.com needs your help! Please read this important message and pledge your support!

In just one day, College Football’s second-annual 72-hour early signing period gets underway and it should be an exciting time for Tiger Fans. LSU currently has 19 commitments and the nation’s 4th-ranked recruiting class, per 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. Assuming there aren’t any unexpected defections, there will be an awful lot to like about LSU’s class of early signees tomorrow night. By that time, LSU should have signatures from 11 players who rank in the top-10 nationally at their positions, including the nation’s best cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr., the best running back tandem in the nation in John Emery and Tyrion Davis, and one of the top two guards in the nation in Kardell “Mr. Pancake” Thomas. And the best thing about those four standouts is they’re all homegrown talents. Other current LSU commitments who rank in the top-10 at their positions include linebackers Marcel Brooks and Donte Starks, center Charles Turner, and two special teams specialists – longsnapper Quentin Skinner and kicker Cade York. There’s also cornerback Maurice Hampton, who ranks as the nation’s No. 9 cornerback, but I didn’t list him since he’s not expected to sign in the early period. Remember, he’s the two-sport athlete committed to playing football and baseball at LSU. Personally, I think it’s probably a good thing that he’s not signing in the early period as it gives LSU more time to guage where his head is with regard to the Major League Baseball draft. As of now, he’s the only player in LSU class of 19 current commitments who is not expected to sign in the early signing period. 

While the above illustrates what a tremendously talented class LSU is putting together, the one area that still needs a big boost is the defensive line. That boost could come early tomorrow as defensive tackle Siaki Ika of Utah is expected to announce his school of choice with a “hat ceremony” at a little after 9 a.m. CT. I’m cautiously optimistic (60% confident) that he’ll pick the Tigers and give LSU two DT signees in this class, along with Joseph Evans of Haynesville.

A couple more recruiting notes: 

TE Keon Zipperer: LSU hasn’t relented in its pursuit of this four-star tight end from Lakeland, Florida. I’ve been thinking he was most likely to stay close to home and sign with Florida or Miami – and I still think that – but a tweet he posted yesterday has me wondering. At 2 p.m., he tweeted “Hold that Tiger!” Zipperer would be a solid addition to the class and is certainly one to monitor tomorrow, though I know better than to put too much stock in tweets like that.

CB Raydarious Jones and LB Nakobe Dean: Both will sign tomorrow at approximately 1:20 on ESPN. LSU is clearly in the mix with these two stars from Horn Lake, Miss. and I would be very surprised of LSU didn’t sign at least one of them.

In tomorrow’s report, we’ll give you a summary of what to watch for throughout the big day, and remind you of our handy dandy signee tracker where you can keep track of the action. 

In other news, the LSU football team held its annual Awards Ceremony last night after practice. As you might expect, linebacker Devin White won the Charles McClendon Award, which is presented annually to the most valuable player on the team. White also earned recognition, along with cornerback Greedy Williams and safety Grant Delpit, as recipients of the Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award. The Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Offensive Player Award was given to three players – quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Nick Brossette, and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Cole Tracy was the winner of the Outstanding Special Teams Award. Also, eight Tigers were selected as permanent team captains. Burrow, Brossette and Foster Moreau were named permanent offensive team captains; White, Delpit and Rashard Lawrence were selected permanent defensive captains, while Tracy and Blake Ferguson were named special teams captains. The following is a complete list of LSU’s 2018 award winners announced last night:

Alvin Roy Award
Given to the player(s) who has shown the most dedication to the individual and team goals of the Tiger’s year-round strength and conditioning program.
2018 Recipients: Lloyd Cushenberry, Glen Logan, Foster Moreau 

Dr. Charles E. Coates, Academic Award
Presented to the senior who has demonstrated the highest commitment to scholarly work in combination with excellence on the field.
2018 Recipients: Jack Gonsoulin, Rashard Lawrence, Josh Growden, Tiger Scheyd 

Outstanding Special Team Award
Presented to the player who accumulates the most points over the season through his effectiveness on special teams play.
2018 Recipient: Cole Tracy 

Jeff Boss Unsung Hero Award
Presented by the Bengal Belles goes to players who have made significant contributions to the success of the team and received the least recognition for it.
2018 Recipients: John Battle, Zach Von Rosenberg, Lloyd Cushenberry, Blake Ferguson

Butch Duhe Award
Recipient is one whose character and contributions to the LSU Football team most personify the idea of unselfishness, dependability and commitment to the team.
2018 Recipients: Damien Lewis, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Garrett Brumfield, Nick Brossette, Breiden Fehoko

George M. Wallace Memorial Award
Presented to the defensive player who has distinguished himself by performance, leadership and commitment to team.
2018 Recipient: Michael Divinity, Devin White, Grant Delpit 

Outstanding Offensive Lineman
2018 Recipients: Damien Lewis, Lloyd Cushenberry 

Outstanding Defensive Lineman
2018 Recipient: Michael Divinity 

Permanent Team Captains
Offense: Nick Brossette, Foster Moreau, Joe Burrow
Defense: Devin White, Rashard Lawrence, Grant Delpit
Special Teams: Cole Tracy, Blake Ferguson 

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Offensive Player Award
2018 Recipients: Joe Burrow, Nick Brossette, Justin Jefferson 

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award
2018 Recipients: Devin White, Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit 

Charles McClendon Most Valuable Player Award
2018 Recipient: Devin White 

In baseball news, congratulations to LSU outfielder Daniel Cabrera for receiving All-America Recognition by Collegiate Baseball. Cabrera was named to their third team. Franky, I’m surprised that fellow outfielders Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis were not recognized, but I suspect they’ll end their seasons with plenty of accolades. Here’s the full press release on Cabrera’s recognition.

I’ll leave you today with a few good reads on three LSU commits who are expected to make immediate impacts at LSU:

• John Emery wants to be more than the next great LSU running back

• Derek Stingley Jr.: LSU's next great cornerback, and a 17-year-old kid

• LSU kicker commit Cade York takes to heart lessons from Cole Tracy

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who have stepped up to the plate and pledged your support for DandyDon.com by contributing to our annual fundraiser. If you value these all-in-one daily doses of Tiger news and haven’t yet done so, please read this important message about why your help is needed and consider making a pledge today.





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12/18/18 5:35 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

DandyDon.com needs your help! Please read this important message and pledge your support!

In just one day, College Football’s second-annual 72-hour early signing period gets underway and it should be an exciting time for Tiger Fans. LSU currently has 19 commitments and the nation’s 4th-ranked recruiting class, per 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. Assuming there aren’t any unexpected defections, there will be an awful lot to like about LSU’s class of early signees tomorrow night. By that time, LSU should have signatures from 11 players who rank in the top-10 nationally at their positions, including the nation’s best cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr., the best running back tandem in the nation in John Emery and Tyrion Davis, and one of the top two guards in the nation in Kardell “Mr. Pancake” Thomas. And the best thing about those four standouts is they’re all homegrown talents. Other current LSU commitments who rank in the top-10 at their positions include linebackers Marcel Brooks and Donte Starks, center Charles Turner, and two special teams specialists – longsnapper Quentin Skinner and kicker Cade York. There’s also cornerback Maurice Hampton, who ranks as the nation’s No. 9 cornerback, but I didn’t list him since he’s not expected to sign in the early period. Remember, he’s the two-sport athlete committed to playing football and baseball at LSU. Personally, I think it’s probably a good thing that he’s not signing in the early period as it gives LSU more time to guage where his head is with regard to the Major League Baseball draft. As of now, he’s the only player in LSU class of 19 current commitments who is not expected to sign in the early signing period. 

While the above illustrates what a tremendously talented class LSU is putting together, the one area that still needs a big boost is the defensive line. That boost could come early tomorrow as defensive tackle Siaki Ika of Utah is expected to announce his school of choice with a “hat ceremony” at a little after 9 a.m. CT. I’m cautiously optimistic (60% confident) that he’ll pick the Tigers and give LSU two DT signees in this class, along with Joseph Evans of Haynesville.

A couple more recruiting notes: 

TE Keon Zipperer: LSU hasn’t relented in its pursuit of this four-star tight end from Lakeland, Florida. I’ve been thinking he was most likely to stay close to home and sign with Florida or Miami – and I still think that – but a tweet he posted yesterday has me wondering. At 2 p.m., he tweeted “Hold that Tiger!” Zipperer would be a solid addition to the class and is certainly one to monitor tomorrow, though I know better than to put too much stock in tweets like that.

CB Raydarious Jones and LB Nakobe Dean: Both will sign tomorrow at approximately 1:20 on ESPN. LSU is clearly in the mix with these two stars from Horn Lake, Miss. and I would be very surprised of LSU didn’t sign at least one of them.

In tomorrow’s report, we’ll give you a summary of what to watch for throughout the big day, and remind you of our handy dandy signee tracker where you can keep track of the action. 

In other news, the LSU football team held its annual Awards Ceremony last night after practice. As you might expect, linebacker Devin White won the Charles McClendon Award, which is presented annually to the most valuable player on the team. White also earned recognition, along with cornerback Greedy Williams and safety Grant Delpit, as recipients of the Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award. The Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Offensive Player Award was given to three players – quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Nick Brossette, and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Cole Tracy was the winner of the Outstanding Special Teams Award. Also, eight Tigers were selected as permanent team captains. Burrow, Brossette and Foster Moreau were named permanent offensive team captains; White, Delpit and Rashard Lawrence were selected permanent defensive captains, while Tracy and Blake Ferguson were named special teams captains. The following is a complete list of LSU’s 2018 award winners announced last night:

Alvin Roy Award
Given to the player(s) who has shown the most dedication to the individual and team goals of the Tiger’s year-round strength and conditioning program.
2018 Recipients: Lloyd Cushenberry, Glen Logan, Foster Moreau 

Dr. Charles E. Coates, Academic Award
Presented to the senior who has demonstrated the highest commitment to scholarly work in combination with excellence on the field.
2018 Recipients: Jack Gonsoulin, Rashard Lawrence, Josh Growden, Tiger Scheyd 

Outstanding Special Team Award
Presented to the player who accumulates the most points over the season through his effectiveness on special teams play.
2018 Recipient: Cole Tracy 

Jeff Boss Unsung Hero Award
Presented by the Bengal Belles goes to players who have made significant contributions to the success of the team and received the least recognition for it.
2018 Recipients: John Battle, Zach Von Rosenberg, Lloyd Cushenberry, Blake Ferguson

Butch Duhe Award
Recipient is one whose character and contributions to the LSU Football team most personify the idea of unselfishness, dependability and commitment to the team.
2018 Recipients: Damien Lewis, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Garrett Brumfield, Nick Brossette, Breiden Fehoko

George M. Wallace Memorial Award
Presented to the defensive player who has distinguished himself by performance, leadership and commitment to team.
2018 Recipient: Michael Divinity, Devin White, Grant Delpit 

Outstanding Offensive Lineman
2018 Recipients: Damien Lewis, Lloyd Cushenberry 

Outstanding Defensive Lineman
2018 Recipient: Michael Divinity 

Permanent Team Captains
Offense: Nick Brossette, Foster Moreau, Joe Burrow
Defense: Devin White, Rashard Lawrence, Grant Delpit
Special Teams: Cole Tracy, Blake Ferguson 

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Offensive Player Award
2018 Recipients: Joe Burrow, Nick Brossette, Justin Jefferson 

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award
2018 Recipients: Devin White, Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit 

Charles McClendon Most Valuable Player Award
2018 Recipient: Devin White 

In baseball news, congratulations to LSU outfielder Daniel Cabrera for receiving All-America Recognition by Collegiate Baseball. Cabrera was named to their third team. Franky, I’m surprised that fellow outfielders Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis were not recognized, but I suspect they’ll end their seasons with plenty of accolades. Here’s the full press release on Cabrera’s recognition.

I’ll leave you today with a few good reads on three LSU commits who are expected to make immediate impacts at LSU:

• John Emery wants to be more than the next great LSU running back

• Derek Stingley Jr.: LSU's next great cornerback, and a 17-year-old kid

• LSU kicker commit Cade York takes to heart lessons from Cole Tracy

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who have stepped up to the plate and pledged your support for DandyDon.com by contributing to our annual fundraiser. If you value these all-in-one daily doses of Tiger news and haven’t yet done so, please read this important message about why your help is needed and consider making a pledge today.

12/17/18 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

DandyDon.com needs your help! Please read this important message and pledge your support.

As I do most weeks, I’ve selected a handful of your messages to include in today’s Mail Call, along with my answers. With the early signing period just two days away, most of the questions chosen are related to football recruiting, though we did throw in one on basketball for good measure.

DANDYDON.COM’S MONDAY MORNING MAIL CALL - DEC. 17, 2018 

From Dan: LSU has 19 guys currently committed. How many of them sign this Wednesday? And do any others join the fray?

My Response: I know of two current commits who might not sign in the early period, and they’re both cornerbacks. One is Maurice Hampton, the dual-sport kid who would play both baseball and football at LSU but is an MLB draft risk. The other is Cordell Flott, who visited Florida this weekend and now reportedly says the Tigers and Gators are 50/50. It’s unclear whether either of those will sign in the early period. As for whether LSU will add any more on Wednesday, I feel confident in saying yes. That’s because D-lineman Siaki Ika and the two kids from Horn Lake, cornerback Raydarious Jones and linebacker Nakobe Dean, will sign with their schools of choice on Wednesday. My prediction, as of today, is that LSU gets at least one of the three, probably two, and maybe, just maybe, all three. Jones seems like the most likely to be a Tiger (I’d say 85%), followed by Ika (60%) and Dean (40%).

From Tim: Love reading your coverage of Tigers football here in Ohio. Had a question: what happens to the scholarships of Taylor and Ingram since they are suspended indefinitely? Does it allow for LSU to add more recruits should these players not return?

My Response: Thanks, Tim. And good question. Players that are lost for whatever reason do not change the fact that LSU can only sign 25 players per class (with the ability to backcourt more if all of the previous class’ spots weren’t filled). It does, however, affect the team’s overall scholarship number. A team can have only 85 players on scholarship, so attrition is a necessary part of roster management, especially now that teams are no longer able to grey shirt players. That said, you sure hate to have situations like those with Taylor and Ingram. 

From Stephen: First, my warmest Congrats to you & the DandyDon family on achieving your 22nd Anniversary!! I've lived away from home since 1985; leaving Louisiana for the USAF. I've read DandyDon since about 1999; later becoming a supporter when it became quite clear to me how much I looked forward each day to reading the columns. Simply put, nothing compares to that daily "home-grown" dose of LSU Sports & Recruiting you get with DandyDon. 

But, my question on FB Recruiting… what do you think LSU will do if come Feb it loses out on its biggest targets in positions of greatest need? Is there another local kid or two who LSU might pursue as a late addition to this year's class; say, a very talented player who wasn't so highly recruited or a "diamond in the rough" like a Foster Moreau or Lloyd Cushenbury?  (or) Do you think LSU will again turn to the JUCO/Grad ranks as it did with last year's class?   

My Response: Thanks for your kind words and longtime readership of DandyDon. And more importantly, thanks for your service to our country. As for your question, it’s a great one that’s hard to answer. If things go as expected, the only positions of need that won’t be met in the early period are DL and maybe CB, depending on what Cordell Flott and Maurice Hampton decide. Some might put WR in that category but LSU’s need isn’t great there, they already have a commitment from Trey Palmer, and the staff feels good about signing WR/S Davonta Lee in February. (Side Note here: Lee visited Kentucky this weekend and tweeted that he fell in love with the place, but I’m still predicting he’ll be a Tiger.) If LSU doesn’t sign Hampton and Flott this week, and/or misses out on Raydarious Jones, I think there will be a late push for a cornerback like Chris Ward (who visited this weekend but won’t sign anywhere in the early period) or Alabama commit Christian Williams (who is scheduled to visit LSU in January). The bigger mystery is how LSU will handle its DL recruitment. That will likely be influenced by whether LSU lands Siaki Ika this week and how confident they are in knowing what Ishamael Sopher will do in February. I think they hold a spot for both Sopsher brothers and also heavily pursue potential “flips” like Byron Young, Jaren Handy, and Nathan Pickering. One way or the other, LSU has to come away with at least three D-linemen in this class, and if they don’t have them by the end of the day on February 6, I suspect they’d pursue the JUCO/graduate ranks to fill that need.

From S.T.: I just wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, complete with a Fiesta Bowl victory, hopefully! In regards to recruiting, I know from your reports that we’re in the mix for Sopsher and Ika, and we need them both! But other than Kardell Thomas, where do we stand with offensive linemen, and are any expected to sign early? This was easily the biggest deficiency on this year’s team, and we desperately need more Elite offensive linemen to get to the next level. Thanks for all that you do, and keep up the good work!

My Response: Great question, S.T., and happiest of holidays to you and yours. LSU has four O-linemen committed in this year’s class and they are all expected to sign this week. These include five-star guard Kardell Thomas, four-star tackle Ray Parker, four-star guard Anthony Bradford, three-star tackle Thomas Perry, and three-star center Charles Turner. Those star-ratings are all from 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, but Perry is considered a four-star by some services and Turner is one of the most underrated players in the class. His three-star ranking is reflective of the fact that he’s only played center one year, but before that he was a solid tackle at IMG Academy. According to Rivals, it was his “football IQ” that prompted the move to center. I feel good about LSU’s haul along the offensive line, and the Tigers should return all of this year’s O-linemen except for Garrett Brumfield. Things are looking up in that department.

From John: I don't know whether I expected too much from this basketball team, but I have been disappointed. Is it the coaching or players just not executing? Teams are still getting open 3s. This team St. Mary is like an unknown and they out-rebounded us 33 to 20. We almost blew this game after being up by 15.

My Response: I think it’s a combination of things, John. Nobody likes the “they’re young” excuse, but the truth is, well, they really are. And that includes Coach Will Wade who is 36 years old and in his sixth year of coaching. He’s never had this kind of talent to manage, and most of the talented newcomers have never been on a team with so many talented teammates. There’s a learning process for everyone and it takes time. I recall Coach Wade saying in his introductory press conference that it would take three years to get his program to a high level. We’re at the very start of Year 2. But back to your comments, yes, I agree that the team has to do a better job of rebounding and preventing open threes, and I would add that they need to do a better job with ball movement and creating open looks. But I disagree about St. Mary’s being an unknown. They're one of the better mid-major programs and they’ve made the NCAA tournament five times in the last ten years including a “Round of 32” appearance in 2017. LSU should never have let them make it such a nail-biter but getting that late-night win on the road was big for the team.

Thanks to all who chimed in!

As you may have noticed from the comments above, today is a special day for DandyDon.com as it marks the 22nd anniversary of this site’s inception and the birthday of my late father, Don. If he were still with us, he would be 83 years old today. When I created this site for Dad and gave it to him for his 61st birthday on December 17, 1996, neither of us expected that it would ever last this long or have such a big impact on our lives. It’s truly an honor to keep this site going, and with your support, I hope to continue doing so for many years to come. To help ensure this site’s future and keep it growing strong, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser today. There's never been a better time. 



 

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