NCAA Baseball Championships:
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12/5/13 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
With a huge recruiting weekend coming up, and the official news on Zach Mettenberger, there's a lot to discuss today. We'll start with the official word from LSU about Mettenberger, which was released yesterday at about noon:
LSU’S METTENBERGER OUT FOR BOWL WITH KNEE INJURY
BATON ROUGE – LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger will miss the bowl game after suffering a season-ending knee injury during the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 31-27 win over Arkansas last Friday in Tiger Stadium.
The specifics of Mettenberger’s knee injury will not be disclosed by the school, which remains consistent with head coach Les Miles’ policy on reporting injuries.
“We are very disappointed for Zach,” Miles said on Wednesday. “He’s been a tremendous leader for our team and he’s as a competitive a guy as I have ever been around. He’s had a great impact on our program.
“I know Zach will work extremely hard to rehabilitate his knee and I don’t anticipate this injury having any impact on what should be a great future in the NFL.”
Mettenberger, who became just the third player in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season this year, finishes his career with the Tigers ranked in the top 10 in six passing categories: completion percentage (third at 61.7 pct.), yards per game (third at 192.8), touchdowns (fifth with 35), yards (sixth with 5,783), completions (sixth with 407) and attempts (seventh with 659).
In 2013, Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards (3rd in school history), 22 touchdowns (third in school history) and his 64.9 completion percentage ranks as the third-highest at the school.
Mettenberger is the only player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 or more yards in back-to-back seasons and his finished his career with a 19-6 record as a starter.
I sure do hate that Mettenberger’s LSU career ended this way. When you stop to look back at just how much he has meant to this team over the last two seasons, and the way he handled himself on and off the field in representing LSU, it's easy to see that Mettenberger deserves our sincere gratitude and utmost respect. Here's wishing him a full and speedy recovery, and a long and prosperous career in the NFL.
Speaking of Mettenberger’s NFL career, a few of you reminded me that in my previous Q&A session with college and NFL analyst Mike Detillier I forgot to ask him about where he projects Mettenberger to go in the draft. In light of yesterday’s official injury report, I emailed Mike to get his thoughts. His response was, “It will depend on rehab, but I would have him as a late 1st or early 2nd round pick. Has a lot of Joe Flacco skills to his ability. Remember, the draft is in May. That gives him a shot to work out.”
I had also forgotten to ask Mike about running back Alfred Blue, so I picked his brain on that too. As most of you know, Blue was granted a fifth year of eligibility in the form of a medical redshirt but has not yet said whether he will return. Here's what Mike had to say about Blue’s NFL projection: “Blue would be 6th or 7th round pick. He is versatile, can play special teams and is a good receiver, but he would be best suited to return in 2014.”
If Blue does return, he and Terrance Magee could very well see themselves sharing the backfield and providing senior leadership to the nation's top 2014 prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette, who will be taking his official visit to LSU this weekend. LSU is still believed to be the solid leader for Fournette's services, and this weekend’s visit should bring the Tigers one step closer to securing his signature. Fournette (6'1", 230, St. Augustine) will be visiting Alabama next week and isn’t expected to make his announcement until the All-Star game in January.
To see why he is considered not only the best prospect in the state but also in the nation, check out Fournette’s new highlight video by MaxPreps which I've added to our Media Gallery.
Fournette is just one of many elite prospects who will be visiting LSU for what is shaping up to be the most significant recruiting weekend of the season. Below is the star-studded list of who I've heard will be visiting:
Brandon Harris (QB, 6'2", 193, Parkway) - LSU Commit/Signee
Ed Paris (S, 6'1", 190, Arlington, TX) - LSU Commit/Signee
Leonard Fournette (RB, 6'1", 230, St. Augustine)
Speedy Noil (WR, 5'10", 175, Edna Karr)
Gerald Willis (DT/DE, 6'3", 255, Edna Karr)
Jamal Admas (S, 6'0", 200, Carrollton, TX)
Tony Brown (DB, 6'0", 190, Beaumont)
Having early signees Harris and Paris on campus for such an important weekend is a very smart move as you know they’ll be doing their best to persuade their peers to join them in making this a special class. Stay tuned, Tiger Fans. Things are really heating up!
A few tid-bits in closing:
• The popular LSU and You show with LSU analysts Charles Hanagriff, airs today from 11-12 noon (CST) on ESPN1420 in the Acadiana area and via the web at www.espn1420.com. You can email any questions for the show at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reader comments: Scott, Please remind Tiger Fans that Beckham is one of five finalists for the Paul Hornung Award which recognizes the most versatile athlete in college football and fans can vote for him online. Fan voting will serve as the 17th vote, adding to the 16-person selection committee. Fans can vote at www.votepaulhornung.com until midnight Dec. 9. The winner will be announced on December 13.
12/4/13 5:40 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
With there still being a few days until we find out LSU football’s bowl future, the hot topic of discussion at this time continues to be recruiting.
In recruiting news, earlier this week I wrote that top linebacker target Clifton Garrett would be announcing his school of choice on December 16 (his birthday), but yesterday he tweeted that he has changed his plans. Instead, he will announce the following day, December 17 (which just so happens to be my late father Don’s birthday and the 17th anniversary of this website). I predict this will be a special day for LSU fans.
Tonight LSU will make an in-home visit to Trey Quinn (WR, 6'0", 200, No. 2 on my list of Top LA Prospects) who committed to LSU back in mid-August. I'm very happy to know that LSU is not taking Quinn for granted since there are still a number of schools, including Clemson, who have only cranked up their recruitment of him since he committed to LSU. Earlier this week, Quinn got a boost in Rivals’ recruiting ranking when they moved him up into their top-100 at No. 76, but they still have him as a four-star prospect, which is a big injustice if you ask me.
I’ve heard rumblings of several other recruits being in line for in-home visits from LSU this week, including Frank Iheanacho, Kentavious Street, and Travonte Valentine. So far, the only one of these who I've been able to confirm is Iheanacho, but I suspect the rumblings are accurate. Iheanacho is a 6-foot-7 TE/WR from Houston who has several SEC offers and appears to be leaning to Texas A&M. Street is a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive end from Greenville, NC who is currently said to be leaning to NC State. Valentine is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle who is currently committed to Miami.
After making their rounds of visits, LSU’s staff will host an impressive list of visitors this weekend in Baton Rouge. These include, but are not limited to, LSU commits/early signees Brandon Harris and Ed Paris, along with major target Jamal Adams (S, 6'0", 200, Carrollton, TX) whom I wrote about yesterday. Adams visited LSU unofficially last weekend and will be taking his official visit this weekend. This really sets up nicely: having Harris and Paris there while Adams is on his official visit. Paris and Adams are good friends, and Harris is a great “peer-recruiter.”
I hear that LSU is also working on bringing in two other top defensive back targets, Tony Brown and C.J. Hampton. Brown (6'0", 190, Beaumont) is the brother of LSU track signee Beloved Brown and is thought to be a big lean to LSU. As a projected early enrollee, Brown should be ending his recruitment soon. If he makes it in to LSU this weekend, I'll be on the lookout for a possible commitment. Hampton is a safety from Meridian, MS who is currently considered a soft commit to Ole Miss, although LSU and Alabama are also very much in the hunt.
In other news related to recruiting, yesterday I received a message from former Tiger and “Fan Favorite” Jacob Hester who asked that I pass along the news of his upcoming football camp. It's called The Hester Scouting Combine and its open to all ages 18 and under. The event will be held Saturday, December 21st at Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport. It starts at 11 AM and ends at 1 PM. The cost is $100 and you can register and pay at the gate on the day of the camp. Jacob said that his objective is to promote the talent in Northwest Louisiana, especially since so many talented players go unnoticed in the area. The official results of the combine will be sent to various recruiting websites to get the participants some exposure. I think this is a great idea and I wish him the best with the endeavor.
Well, since we’re in a recruiting groove today, I'll go ahead and pass along this news to those of you who missed it yesterday - LSU's 2013 Baseball Recruiting Class has been ranked 6th in the Nation by Perfect Game. The rankings apply to players signed during the 2012-13 academic year and take into account only signees who actually enroll. LSU’s 19-man recruiting class, which includes 11 pitchers and eight position players, is highlighted by infielders Danny Zardon and Kramer Robertson and pitcher Jared Poche’. Before you know it, we’ll be writing a lot about these players as the start of preseason practice is only about eight weeks away. The 2014 season opens on February 14 when the Tigers play host to New Orleans in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Jumping back to football now.... many of you have asked if I've heard anything about the extent of Zach Mettenberger’s injury, and the answer is no*. Coach Miles is almost always tight-lipped about this kind of thing, and with there being no press conferences or call-in show this week things are extra quiet. The football team has this week off and will be taking exams next week before returning to practice for the bowl game, so it's unlikely that we’ll hear anything “official” for a while. I have, however, read in this report by NOLA.com, that the four other players who were injured against Arkansas should be ready to go when the team begins bowl preperations. These include Odell Beckham Jr. (bruised right hip), center Elliott Porter (left leg), right tackle Jerald Hawkins (undisclosed) and running back Terrence Magee (undisclosed). As for Mettenberger, my own personal assumption based on what I've been told about ACL rehab is that it is unlikely that he will play in the bowl game, but that's just my two cents.
*Edited, 7:05: ESPN is reporting that Metenberger’s injury is a torn ACL and that he will not play in bowl game.
In basketball news, the 13th ranked LSU Lady Tigers extended their winning streak to five games yesterday with a dominating 83-66 win over Indiana State. Freshman Raigyne Moncrief, the SEC Freshman of the Week, led LSU in scoring with 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds to go along with six assists and six steals.The Lady Tigers shot a season-high 54.5 percent from the floor, had a season-best 25 assists, and forced 23 turnovers. Over 5,000 East Baton Rouge Parish School kids were invited to attend the game as part of a field trip to campus. They showed up loud and proud. Following the win, each Lady Tiger went into the stands to thank those who showed up for the matinee tipoff. Players signed autographs and took photos.
In closing, I’d like to thank those of you who have shown your support for the work I put into this site by donating to our annual fundraiser. To find our more about our fundraiser and why it's important, please click here.
12/3/13 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
We’ll start this morning with the unfortunate news of safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones of Neville (6'2", 215, No. 8 on my list of Top LA Prospects) choosing Alabama over LSU. The first thing I'd like to say about this is that yes, it really hurts to lose an “elite” in-state player, especially to Alabama, but missing out on Jones does not spell gloom and doom for this class. LSU is still in very good shape with the large majority of Louisiana’s top prospects, including Leonard Fournette, Speedy Noil, Malachi Dupre, and Gerald Willis. If LSU lands those four, that would give them 10 of the top-12 on my list of Top LA Prospects. Plus, LSU is still in great shape to land several elite out-of-state prospects. (More on that in just a bit).
With that said, I freely admit that I am very concerned about the success Alabama has had in Louisiana lately, particularly in the northern part of the state. I'm not sure what it will take to turn things around there, but something needs to be done.
What I will not endorse or perpetuate is the misconception that Alabama comes into Louisiana every year and has its way with the cream of the crop. That simply isn’t true. Last year LSU signed nine of the top-10 on my list of Top LA Prospects for 2013 (the only one they didn’t sign was Tevin Lawson who committed to LSU but then changed his mind and went to TCU after LSU downgraded his offer to a greyshirt), and this year LSU will get the large majority of an exceptionally good top-12. I know it hurts to lose any single top in-state prospect, but it’s important to keep this in perspective.
Now back to losing Jones... as a wise man used to say, when you lose a big-time in-state player, you’ve got to turn around and get a better player from out-of-state. (Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know who I'm talking about). One player who fits the bill perfectly is safety Jamal Adams of Carrollton, TX who visited LSU unofficially last weekend and will be back at for his official visit this weekend. Many say Jamal is a better pure safety prospect than Jones (no, that’s not sour grapes), and the chance of him signing with LSU are on the up and up. Adams is a friend of LSU commit Ed Paris, and LSU target Tony Brown. I've heard that all three are expected to visit LSU this weekend.
Another out-of-state prospect who has the potential to make this LSU recruiting class a whole lot better is one of the nation’s top inside linebacker prospect, Clifton Garrett of Illinois. Garrett will be making his announcement on his birthday, December 16. I'll go on the record now as saying that Garrett will be a Tiger.
As for wide receiver D’haquille Williams who was widely expected to make an announcement yesterday, no such announcement came. According to a tweet by Will Weathers, Williams told Rivals that no final decision on his future will come until closer to junior college signing date. I get the feeling that he may be considering the possibility of going straight to the NFL.
In other news, hats off to LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings for being named SEC Football Freshman of the Week after his clutch performance last weekend against Arkansas. That 99-yard game-winning drive of his was truly remarkable and gives me reason to be optimistic about next year’s offense. Of course, it's not a given that Jennings will be the starting quarterback next year. He’ll have a battle on his hands with LSU commit/signee Brandon Harris, and I suspect Steven Rivers and Hayden Rettig will have something to say about that as well.
Congratulations are also in order for Lady Tiger guard Raigyne Moncrief for being named SEC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week. Moncrief, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, combined for 40 points, 12 rebounds and 11 steals in wins over Rutgers and Michigan in the Barclays Invitational tournament in Brooklyn.
In closing, I'd like to thank all of you who emailed me with compliments on my latest Q&A session with Mike Detillier that I posted yesterday. If you missed it, I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out now.
I’d also like to thank those of you who have already pledged your support for the time and effort that goes into this site by donating to our annual fundraiser. Your help is greatly appreciated. For those of you who haven’t yet done so, I ask that you please read this important message and give it some thought.
Reader Comments: Scott, I came across this article by Stuart Stevens for The Daily Beast that sums up my feelings about Nick Saban. I hope the in-state HS stars and their parents realize that there's more to a coach than the number of titles he has. Alabama Coach Nick Saban’s Folly: Great Coaches Protect Their Players. (Note from Scott: I don’t know that I would categorize what Nick Saban did as “throwing his players under the bus,” as the article’s author did, but I do think it's worth noting that many would be calling for Les Miles’ head if he would have made the same coaching decisions or handled the situation the same way.)
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