6/21/18 5:45 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday was a monumental day for LSU football as Coach Orgeron and staff landed a commitment from the nation’s top 2019 cornerback, Derek Stingley, Jr. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that other than National Signing Days, yesterday was the biggest day in LSU football recruiting since January 2, 2014, when the Tigers landed commitments from future All-Americans Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams on the same day. (Ironically, many fans were disappointed on that day back in 2014 because they were expecting a “5-for-5” day, but I digress.) Folks, Stingley is the same caliber of player as those two former Tiger All-Americans, and what makes his commitment all the more praiseworthy is that it addresses a major position of need in this recruiting class.
Stingley is the consensus No. 1 cornerback in the nation and is rated as the No. 1 overall player in his class by Rivals.com. At 6-foot-1, 193 pounds and with blazing 4.3 speed, it’s easy to see why he’s so highly regarded, but those measurables don’t even begin to tell the story of what makes Stingley, Jr. so special. He’s also an honors student with a tremendous work ethic and an athletic pedigree that’s hard to beat. As pointed out in this article by 247Sports, Derek Jr.’s father was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1993 Major League Baseball draft. After playing a bit of minor league baseball, the elder Derek returned to football as a player and coach in the Arena League before coaching his son in middle school and high school at Dunham School, where he is currently the defensive backs coach. Taking it a step further back, Derek Stingley, Jr.’s grandfather, Darryl Stingley, played wide receiver at Purdue and a was a first-round draft pick in 1973 by the New England Patriots. Some say Derek, Jr. may be the most talented of the bunch, and that’s saying a lot.
Another thing that stands out about Derek, Jr. is that he appears to have a good head on his shoulders. I admire the fact that he didn’t put on a dog-and-pony show to announce his commitment. On Tuesday, he stated that he would announce his school of choice at 1:30 p.m. on Twitter. I assumed that would mean 1:40 or 1:45 since a lot of prospects love the attention that comes with keeping folks in suspense. That was not the case with Stingley. At 1:29 p.m., he announced the news with this classy video and a simply-stated message that read, “I know I can’t please everyone.. In my heart, I truly feel this is the right place for me. I’m all in! 100% committed! Please respect my decision.”
As for his on-the-field virtues, Stingley’s statistics from his junior season pretty much paint a picture of the type of lock-down cornerback he is. Opponents only threw 18 passes in his direction. He intercepted 11 of them and broke up six. (Yes, you read that right. Only one pass was completed against him, and it was a bit of a “gimme” at the end of the half.) Judging by Stingley’s incredible video highlights and LSU’s current depth at cornerback, Stingley would likely start at LSU this season if he could sign as a junior in high school. Of course, LSU will have to wait until the 2019 season when Stingley and 2016’s top-rated cornerback prospect Kristian Fulton could very well give LSU the strongest duo of cornerbacks in the country. Stingley is expected to sign with LSU in December and begin school in January as an early enrollee.
With offers from virtually every major program in the nation, Stingley chose LSU over Florida and Texas. With his pledge, LSU’s 2019 class now contains 13 commitments and is ranked No. 10 in the country in 247Sports’ Composite Team Rankings. With prospects like five-star Ishmael Sopsher, four-stars Devin Bush and Donté Starks, and several other in-state standouts still in play, LSU’s 2019 class could be one for the ages.
In other football recruiting news, we mentioned one prospect from Alabama who would be making an official visit to LSU this weekend – LB Ke'Shun Brown – but there is another. Cornerback Cordale Flott of Saraland, Ala. will also be making his way to LSU for an official visit. What’s particularly interesting about him is that he is currently committed to Auburn. With the addition of Derek Stingley, Jr. to go along with Maurice Hampton of Memphis and Marcus Banks of Houston, LSU already has three cornerbacks on the board and appears to be in good shape with in-state four-star cornerback Devin Bush, who is expected to announce his school of choice in August.
Also, LSU entertained four-star Hawaiian linebacker Maninoa Tufono and his family yesterday, and apparently it went very well. Afterward, Tufonu tweeted, “Just want to thank and give all my appreciation to Coach O and Coach Aranda for having my family and I. It was such a “eye opening” unofficial visit…” Tufuno (6-3, 225, Honolulu) is ranked as the nation’s No. 6 inside linebacker by 247Sports.
Moving on with our Countdown to Game Day, which is at the 73-day mark, today we remember a play that showed the whole world the importance of field position. You guessed it – I’m talking about Brad Wing’s 73-yard punt during LSU’s 9-6 overtime win over Alabama in 2011. The “Game of the Century,” as it was called, took place at Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and featured two unbeaten powerhouses in No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. Pressed inside their own 10-yard line in a 6-6 affair in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were forced to punt out of their own end zone. Wing let fly a field-reversing punt that rolled dead at the Alabama 18-yard line. In a game where every inch mattered, Wing came through big-time. The play remains somewhat controversial even today as some say the ball hit the overhead Sky Cam wire, changing its trajectory and resulting in a very gratuitous bounce for the Tigers. Whether that was the case or not, it was one heck of a kick and a game-changing play in one of the best contests I’ve ever witnessed. (You can review the kick in this video posted to our Media Gallery.)
Wing was the first Aussi punter signed by LSU, but since then LSU has signed two more including Jamie Keehn and this year’s returning projected starter, Josh Growden. All three of these punters from down under were recruited during the Les Miles era, making it interesting to speculate whether LSU’s Australian punter pipeline will continue under Ed Orgeron.
• LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargus picked up a commitment yesterday from JUCO transfer point guard Karli Seay (5-7) of Western Nebraska CC. Honestly, I know nothing about her other than the stats I found online which indicate that she started in four games last year and averaged 14.3 points per game.
• If you live in the Metairie area and would like to see and hear from Coaches Ed Orgeron, Dave Aranda, and Steve Ensminger, a week from today you’ll have your chance. That’s because the final stop on LSU football’s caravan tour will be on June 28 at Walk On’s in Metairie. Wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph and Director of Player Development Kevin Faulk will also be featured. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and a live radio broadcast will begin at 4 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
• Oh, and remember those supposed Derrius Guice “character issues” the NFL guys threw around back in April? Well, Guice continues to prove them wrong. Just yesterday he announced that he is helping raise funds for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to raise awareness and “bring a cure to this disease that has touched almost everyone's life in some way or the other.” Guice will play anyone on Fortnite who donates $5 to the cause. Everyone who gives $25 will be entered to win signed/worn LSU cleats. Everyone who donates $50 will get to bowl and hang out with Guice next Friday, June 29th at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge from 12-5 pm. Everyone who gives $100 or more will be entered to win two tickets to the Monday Night Football game- Redskins vs. Saints in New Orleans on 10/08/18. Also, Guice has pledged to match the first $1,000 in donations. For more details, click here.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.