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12/18/14 5:50 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

First of all, it was great hearing from many of you yesterday about the 18th anniversary of this website. It’s great to know that so many of you have been following since the early days and still enjoying the site. Several of you asked if I could post the first Dandy Don report published back on this date in 1996. Unfortunately, I cannot. Due to a hard-drive failure several years back, I lost my early archives, and that makes me sick. The oldest reports I have are from 1998, but I have nothing from the first 23 months. Back in those days, a small percentage of people had personal computers and many of you would print out the daily reports and share them with friends or family. If any of you just so happen to have still have a hardcopy of one of those early reports from 1996 or 1997, back when the site was on a purple background, I would love to have a copy!

Now, before going any further, you’ve just got to check out this new LSU-Notre Dame Hype Trailer by LesMiles.net. The video is exceptionally well done, and considering that its been three weeks since LSU has played a football game, it’s sure to get your blood flowing.

In recruiting news, defensive back Jeremy Cutrer signed with LSU yesterday on the first day of the JUCO early signing period. As many of you will recall, Cutrer committed to LSU back in February of 2012 and was set to be a member of the 2013 class, but didn’t qualify academically. Cutrer ended up going to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he really excelled, and LSU’s staff kept an eye on him the whole time. Now Cutrer is set to enroll at LSU and participate in spring ball, and that’s great news for a Tiger defense that could lose as many as four defensive backs who have played big roles. Safety/nickelback Jalen Mills and cornerback Jalen Collins are draft-eligible juniors, and safety Ronald Martin is a senior. Cornerback Rashard Robinson has been indefinitely suspended (presumably for reasons related to academics) and his future is uncertain. Another early enrollee from this year’s class who will challenge for immediate playing time in the defensive backfield is five-star cornerback Kevin Toliver. With newcomers Cutrer and Toliver and returning veterans like Tradavious White, Jamal Adams, Rickey Jefferson, Devin Voorhies and others, LSU’s defensive backfield should remain strong regardless of what happens with the NFL draft.

As promised, today we’ll talk a little more about recruiting and I’ll give you a baker’s dozen of prospects on LSU’s radar. This year’s recruiting class hasn’t generated as much excitement as last year’s, mainly because last year there were so many high-profile in-state kids who were considering LSU and preparing to make their announcements on national TV during all-star games. This year, six of the top-10 prospects on our list of Top LA Prospects have already committed to LSU, and two others – WR Tyron Johnson (No. 1) and ATH Donte Jackson (No. 7) – are considered leans to LSU. The other two top-10 players are OT Jerry Tillery (committed to Notre Dame) and WR Kirk Merritt (leaning to A&M). For the first time in a while, LSU and Alabama are not engaged in any battles for players in our Top-10, although No. 11, WR Daylon Charlot, is currently committed to the Crimson Tide. However, LSU is still in the thick of things for Charlot and a flip is certainly possible. 

LSU’s recruiting class is currently ranked 17th in the nation, but that’s mainly because the Tigers only have 15 commitments. I’ve been asked by many if I’m concerned with LSU having so few commitments at this time, and my answer is not really. Last year at this time, LSU didn’t get its 16th commitment until December 17th (Clifton Garrett) and we all know how strong the 2014 class finished. While this class may be lacking a bit in quantity, it is not lacking in quality. LSU currently has commitments from three five-star prospects (according to Rivals’ rankings), Kevin Toliver, Derrius Guice, and Maea Teuhema, and is in the mix for several others like Tyron Johnson, Martez Ivey and DeMarkus Lodge. If this class finishes as I think it will, LSU will likely end up with a top-5 to 10 class, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. 

Below are a baker’s dozen prospects still on LSU’s board. This list is by no means all-inclusive. It simply represents the names I’ve been hearing the most lately.

Louisiana Prospects 
(The number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking on our list of Top LA Prospects.)

Tyron Johnson 
(WR, 6'1", 185, Warren Easton, No. 1)
LSU’s biggest in-state target, has LSU in top-3 along with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Will take official visit to LSU on Jan. 23.

Donte Jackson
(ATH, 5'11", 175, Riverdale, No. 7)
Could play on either side of ball, but is being recruited as CB and return specialist by LSU. Will take official visit to LSU on Jan. 23.

Daylon Charlot
(WR, 6'1", 182, Patterson, No. 11)
Recently has great visit to LSU and there were reports that he recommitted to Alabama, but he told Coach Saban otherwise the following day. Appears to be a very heated battle between LSU & Alabama.

Derrick Dillon
(ATH, 6'0", 174, Pine, No. 15)
Currently committed to Florida, but was extended an LSU offer a few weeks ago and appears to be giving it serious consideration. Versatile athlete who could play on either side of ball as WR, RB, or DB. 

Oshea Dugas
(OT, 6'5", 300, Northside, No. 22)
LSU has increased contact with Dugas, but still hasn’t extended an offer. It appears that Dugas may be a “backup plan” if LSU misses out on one of their other O-line targets.

Out-of-State Prospects

Justin Martin
(CB, 6'2", 192, NE Oklahoma A&M)
Considered the No. 1 JUCO CB in the nation. Visiting LSU on January 23 but currently appears to be a lean to Tennessee.

Dylan Jackson
(DE, 6'6" 245, Maryville, TN)
Recently decommitted from Tennessee and appears to be leaning to LSU. 

Toby Weathersby 
(OT, 6’4.5" 295, Houston, TX)
Recently decommitted from Texas and is now said to be considering Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU. 

Kyle Phillips
(DE, 6'4", 250, Nashville, TN)
An early enrollee who will announce his decision in the coming days and is expected to choose between Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss.

Ugo Amadi 
(CB, 5-10, 180, Nashville, TN)
Is good friends with Kyle Phillips and is also an early enrollee. The two have expressed interest in playing together, and Amadi is also expected to choose between Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss.

Garrett Taylor
(CB, 6’1”, 195, Richmond, VA)
Currently committed to Penn State, but had an outstanding visit to LSU in early November and a flip to the Tigers is a real possibility. Also considering Ohio State.

Daylon Mack 
(DT, 6’1”, 330, Gladewater, TX)
A 5-star DT considered one of the best in the country. Currently committed to A&M, but will be visiting LSU on January 16. 

Demarkus Lodge
(WR, 6’2”, 190, Cedar Hills, TX)
Teammate and good friend of LSU QB commit Justin McMillan. Ole Miss and Baylor are presumed leaders, but LSU has turned up the heat on this 5-star and is still very much in the picture.

In other football-related news, per a report by CBS reporter Joe Pequeno of KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona, Michigan is offering Jim Harbaugh 49 million for six years to be the team's new coach. If true, this would likely be hard to turn down as it would make Harbaugh not only the highest paid football coach in college football, but the highest paid football coach, period. Nick Saban is currently the highest paid coach in the NCAA at $7.3 million per year, while Sean Payton and Pete Carroll are each making $8 million per year in the NFL.  

In basketball news, LSU (7-2) will be looking to win its second road game against a non-conference opponent tonight when they take on UAB in Birmingham at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by the CBS Sports Network. This could be a challenging contest for LSU as the Tigers are a bit banged up at the guard position. Starting point guard Josh Gray is recovering from a sprained ankle, and backup guard Tim Quarterman missed some practice earlier this week after getting injured in a collision against Sam Houston State. Quarterman is likely to play tonight, although Gray is not. Here’s a good article on LSU needing to get some help ”from all corners” tonight in order to overcome Gray’s absence.

Two closing tidbits: 

• I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange page and there are a few listings for the Music City Bowl. If you have tickets for the game that you’re not using, please let me know and I’ll post the information. 

• I’d like to thank those of you who have already donated to our annual fundraiser. If you have not yet done so and are financially able, please consider making a pledge today. To find out why it’s important, please read this message. Thanks in advance for your support. 

Reader Comments: Scott, here’s an article to post on Delahoussaye and his kicking troubles this season. LSU PK Colby Delahoussaye straightening out his kicking issues 

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, first off happy belated birthday to your late, great father and the website. Here's a great read on former LSU running back Jeremy Hill being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week with some help from another LSU great Andrew Whitworth.

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12/1714 5:50 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Today is a special day for DandyDon.com as it marks the 18th anniversary of this site’s inception and the birthday of my late father, Don. When I created this site for my Dad and gave it to him for his 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. I give all the credit for DandyDon.com’s success and longevity to my father's strong work ethic and steadfast dedication to keeping Tiger Fans throughout the world informed on our beloved Tigers. I also credit you, the fans, for your relentless passion for LSU sports. It’s truly an honor to keep this site going. With your support, I look forward to dishing out a daily dose of Tiger News for many years to come. To help ensure this site’s future and keep it subscription-free, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser today. There's never been a better time.

It seems only fitting that on such a special day for this site, we have lots of good news to report. So let’s jump right to it…

First, defensive tackle Travonte Valentine tweeted that he has a 2.5 GPA in his first semester at LSU and that it’s time to prepare for spring ball. He concluded the tweet with the hashtag #Unleashed. There’s been no official statement from LSU about Valentine, and it’s hard to know exactly what this means, but it is good to know that he’s making the grades and I’m encouraged by the hashtag. Valentine is the type of talent that could step in and immediately add quality depth, if not start, at defensive tackle. When you consider that Trey Lealaimatafao should be back at full health next season (he’s the young man who cut his arm in the window incident), and that Christian LaCouture, Davon Godchaux, and Quintin Thomas will all return, it appears that LSU’s defensive tackle position, which started out as a big question mark this season, could be the strength of LSU’s defense next season, and that’s exciting.

More good news rolled in yesterday when multiple sources reported that LSU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural will return next season for his junior year. Dural, the team’s leading receiver with 37 receptions for 758 yards and seven touchdowns this season, is draft-eligible since he is three years removed from high school (he redshirted his freshman year), and getting him back should be a big plus for LSU’s struggling passing game. Dural is one of several LSU players with decisions to make about the draft, and hopefully many others will follow his example. Defensive backs Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins, linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Danielle Hunter, guard Vadal Alexander and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins are all draft eligible and said to be considering their options. Because of a new NFL rule, a school can now request draft grades from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee for only five players, and the grades that are given will be either First Round, Second Round or to Return to School.

One player who made the correct choice last year with regard to returning to LSU was offensive tackle La’el Collins, and postseason awards continue to roll in for him. Yesterday, Sports Illustrated named Collins a Second-Team All-American. Collins had already been named to the AP and coaches first team All-SEC teams and won the league's Jacobs Blocking Award for best offensive lineman. Collins is projected to go in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, and he will be greatly missed next year.

With Collins moving on, and with Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins as potential early departures, offensive linemen are obviously a big concern in this year’s recruiting class. While LSU already has commitments from four O-linemen – Adrian Magee, George Brown, Hanner Shipley, and five-star Maea Teuhema – it’s apparent that LSU would like to sign one or two more. Last week the prospect of flipping in-state sensation Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame pretty much died after he signed a grant-in-aid agreement with the Irish and reaffirmed his commitment. And then earlier this week another one of LSU’s O-line targets, William Sweet, reaffirmed his commitment to UNC, leaving many wondering what other O-linemen were still on LSU’s board. Well, a new name has surfaced since Toby Weathersby (OT, 6’4.5" 295) of Houston decommitted from Texas and named Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss as his leaders. Weathersby is a consensus four-star prospect and would be a great get for the Tigers.

In tomorrow’s report, we’ll take a closer look at recruiting and I’ll give you 12 to 15 other prospects on LSU’s board that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately.

Now turning to LSU women’s basketball, this is where today’s feel good report takes a turn. LSU’s Lady Tigers lost to at Long Beach State, 59-44. The Tigers struggled from the get go and trailed 15-0 before ever getting on the scoreboard. With the loss, LSU is now  4-5 on the season. For more on last night’s loss, see this article by LSUSports.net. The Lady Tigers will complete their two-game California road swing and square off with UC Santa Barbara on Friday at 9:30 p.m. CT. 

Now let’s jump back to something positive to close out this report: The LSU men’s basketball spread a little holiday cheer yesterday at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Here’s more on that, as provided by LSU’s Sports Information Department:

LSU MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM MAKES VISIT TO OLOL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team got their singing voices together to brighten the holiday season Wednesday at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

This nearly annual tradition allows the members of the men’s basketball team and Coach Johnny Jones to visit with the young and even youngest patients in the facility along with many of their families.

The players sang Christmas carols and put together their own various interpretations of the classics for each room.

The visit was sponsored as part of the Shaquille O’Neal LSU Life Skills program through the Cox Communications Academic Center for Athletes.

The team presented miniature and full-size autographed basketballs and autographed posters of the 2014-15 men’s basketball team. The team also presented a miniature basketball goal and ball for the children’s play room at the hospital.

“I thought it was really good for our guys to have an opportunity to go to Our Lady of the Lake today and have an opportunity to interact with the kids and the families that are there,” said Coach Jones. “To see the families and the kids with their smiles on their face and our kids to be able to put some joy into their hearts and see the smiles on their faces made a difference. They knew they were making a difference, and that’s what it is all about. I think our guys understand that they are blessed. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to others. I think they were able to see that and share in that today.”

Reader Comments: Scott, it’s probably too early for all this, but ESPN has mentioned Leonard Fournette as a Heisman candidate for 2015. Here’s the article: Early 2015 SEC Heisman Trophy candidates

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12/16/14 5:50 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Yesterday was an extremely busy day in terms of the amount of email I received, and most of the messages were concerning Les Miles’ potential candidacy for the Michigan job. The latest news is that Miles met with the media last night after practice and reportedly said that he is not a candidate for the Michigan job. According to this article by Jim Kleinpeter of nola.com, “Miles declined to be quoted directly but made it clear he has is not seeking the job and has not been contacted personally, or through his agent, Dallas-based George Bass, formally or informally.” Of course, it’s hard to draw anything concrete from that statement considering that Miles hasn’t yet been offered the job. At this time, it appears that San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is Michigan’s No. 1 target, and if Harbaugh is considering accepting the job he will likely wait until after Dec. 28, when the San Francisco 49ers end their season, to negotiate a deal. Likewise, if Les Miles is offered the job, the offer probably won’t come until Harbaugh has turned it down. On the surface, it seems that if Les Miles has made up his mind to stay at LSU then he would just come out and say so, on the record, in no uncertain terms and put all this all to rest. However, I suspect there is more at play, like maybe a concern that shooting down the possibility would be disrespectful to his alma mater or hinder their ability to negotiate a new hire. Based on last night’s comments, I feel more confident than ever that Miles is not going anywhere, but it appears that we won’t get an official statement on the matter for a while.

During Miles meeting with the media, he dished out a few updates on his team. On the injury front, Miles said that Kenny Hilliard might be able to play in the bowl game, but that Elliot Porter isn’t as likely. He also confirmed that Rashard Robinson is still suspended and will not play in the bowl game. When asked whether Robinson would be back next year, Miles said that is not something he is ready to comment on at this time but that his hope is that he will. For more on what was said (minus the part on Michigan, which wasn’t included), you can check out this video of Miles’ press conference.

In recruiting news, one of LSU’s big targets, defensive end Dylan Jackson of Maryville, TN, decommitted from Tennessee yesterday. LSU hosted Jackson and his parents for an official visit on October 17 and then made an in-home visit with him last week. The Tigers are now believed to be his front runner, and this is great news considering that defensive end is a big position of need in this year’s recruiting class and LSU currently has only one DE commitment for 2015 in Isaiah Washington (6'5", 250, Edna Karr, No.  14 on our list of Top LA Prospects). 

Moving on… in yesterday’s report I mentioned that La’el Collins was named as LSU’s MVP during the team’s banquet Sunday night, and since then I’ve learned of the other awards that were dished out. Below is the complete list, as posted on LSUSports.net:

2014 LSU Football Awards

Wild Tiger Club (for special teams performance):
LB Duke Riley, DB Jamal Adams, LB Deion Jones, SNP Reid Ferguson, PK Colby Delahoussaye, CB Tre'Davious White, TE Dillon Gordon, P Jamie Keehn, LB Kendell Beckwith, TE Travis Dickson, RB Terrence Magee, CB Ed Paris, DB Rickey Jefferson, TE Logan Stokes, CB Jalen Collins, PK Trent Domingue

Special Teams Coaches Award:
DB Jamal Adams, LB Deion Jones, CB Tre'Davious White, SNP Reid Ferguson, P Jamie Keehn, LB D.J. Welter

Wild Tiger Championship Trophy:
LB Duke Riley

Jeff Boss Unsung Hero Award:
TE Logan Stokes, TE Travis Dickson, TE Dillon Gordon, OG Evan Washington, CB Jalen Collins, WR Travin Dural, LB Lamar Louis

Dr. Charles E. Coates, Academic Award:
DB Chris LaBorde

Alvin Roy Strength and Conditioning Award:
RB Terrence Magee, LB D.J. Welter, OT La'el Collins

Butch Duhe Award:
RB Kenny Hilliard, OL Ethan Pocic, CB Jalen Mills, DT Quentin Thomas, C Elliott Porter, LB Kendell Beckwith, OT Jerald Hawkins

George M. Wallace Memorial Award:
S Ronald Martin, DE Danielle Hunter

Newcomers Award:
DT Davon Godchaux, DB Jamal Adams, RB Leonard Fournette

National L-Club Permanent Team Captains:
Offense: OT La'el Collins, RB Terrence Magee
Defense: DE Jermauria Rasco, LB Kwon Alexander
Special Teams: P Jamie Keehn

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Offensive Player Award:
OT La'el Collins, FB Connor Neighbors

Percy E. Roberts Outstanding Defensive Player Award:
DE Jermauria Rasco, LB Kwon Alexander

Charles McClendon Most Valuable Player Award:
OT La'el Collins

On a related note, yesterday Jamal Adams pulled in his biggest honor yet as he earned a spot on ESPN’s True Freshman All-America Team. As I’ve said several times before, Adams is going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next two or three years and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him to earn All-American honors next time around. 

Last but not least, yesterday I mentioned that the winner of our 3rd annual Louisiana High School Pickem contest was Bob Register, and today I'd like to tell you more about him. When I notified Mr. Register that he had won, I asked him to share a little about himself and his connection to LA prep football. The following is what he had to say. Again, congratulations to Mr. Register for a job well done!

About Bob Register, winner of our 2014 LA Football Pickem Contest:

Scott, I have read and enjoyed your column for a long time and was very glad that you continued DANDY DON'S after your dad passed away. I have been a lifelong fan of LSU athletics, although I never attended the school. (I did however graduate from LSU in Shreveport, so I guess that is close.) As for high school football, I am not an expert at all. I played your PICKEM contest a few times last year and really enjoyed it so I really got into it this year and had a blast (My wife, Teresa even got interested). I think that the biggest benefit I received is learning about all the different schools and towns in the state, many of which I was not familiar with until now. It was a lot of fun. I think that yours is a great column and an asset to anyone who loves LSU and Louisiana sports.

If you value staying informed on LSU sports through this site’s daily doses of Tiger News, please show your appreciation by donating to our fundraiser. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

 

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