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1/19/19 5:45 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!

There’s some pretty interesting news on the football recruiting front to touch on, and we’ll get to that in just a bit. But out of respect for Will Wade’s red-hot LSU basketball team and its big game today, we’ll lead with hoops. 

There’s no denying there’s a ton of buzz surrounding this LSU basketball team after back-to-back road victories, and I for one can’t wait to see how many LSU fans show up to root on these streaking Tigers. There’s no time to celebrate the accomplishments of LSU’s fast 3-0 conference start, though, as a dangerous Frank Martin-led South Carolina team comes to the PMAC with its own undefeated conference record. At 4-0, the Gamecocks hold victories against Florida, Mississippi State, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. They picked up impressive wins at Florida and Vanderbilt, which are two tough places to play.

This South Carolina team is one of Martin’s youngest but it has a knack for forcing turnovers. So it’s all the more important that Tremont Waters and company take good care of the basketball. The Gamecocks aren’t overly spectacular in any particular area. In fact, they are dead last in field goal percentage in the conference. If LSU takes care of the basketball, continues its hot shooting from outside, and doesn’t give up too many second-chance points, South Carolina could find itself in trouble rather quickly on the road. But those who have followed basketball over the years know Martin’s teams embody toughness (both physically and mentally), and with the Gamecocks coming into town with a renewed confidence after starting the season with a 9-7 record, this should make for a great test of an LSU squad that has won six in a row and hasn’t lost at home in 16 games.

The battle of SEC unbeatens tips off from the PMAC at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network.  

Now onto football recruiting… The hot topic of discussion among Tiger Fans is news of Rodney Sopsher (the brother of LSU 5-star DL target Ishmael Sopsher of Amite) being reclassified to the 2020 class. Of course, the significance of this stems from the fact that Ishmael had previously stated that whoever signs him must be prepared to sign Rodney. LSU is one of only two teams, along with Oregon, to offer both brothers, so that seemed to give LSU an advantage over Alabama for landing Ishmael. So is the advantage in Bama’s court now that Rodney is out of the equation? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean in the least bit that LSU is out of the picture or relenting in his recruitment. 

However things turn out with Sopsher, LSU’s biggest remaining priority for this recruiting class is to sign a couple more big-time DEs, and Orgeron has several in his sights. One of them, Mississippi State commit Nathan Pickering, is visiting LSU this weekend. Another is former Mississippi State commit Charles Moore, who is now set to visit LSU on the final weekend before signing day. LSU is set to entertain Alabama commit Bryan Young on that same weekend and is still recruiting Jared Harrison-Hunte of New York. If LSU can sign two of those four – plus land S/WR Davonta Lee of Amite (which I feel confident in them doing) – this would be an outstanding class regardless of what happens with the three other spots. Two of those three spots have LSU commits Ray Parker (OT) and Maurice Hampton (CB) penciled in, though there’s concern about Parker qualifying and Hampton being a Major League Baseball draft risk. In a subsequent report, we’ll talk about other targets for completing LSU’s class, which currently ranks No. 4 in the nation in 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.

Though it will be a while before we see LSU football back in action, some of you night-owls can catch several future Tigers in action during tonight’s Polynesian Bowl, which will air from Hawaii on CBS Sports Network at 11 p.m. CT. LSU will be well-represented with signees Marcel Brooks, Trey Palmer, Peter Parrish, and Siaki Ika all participating in the game. The aforementioned DT target Ishmael Sopsher is also there for the event but is reportedly not playing in the game due to a minor shoulder injury he suffered in the Under Armour game. 

On a somewhat related note, former LSU running back Nick Brossette will make his final collegiate appearance today when he takes part in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kickoff for the all-star contest is slated for 2 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network. According to LSUSports.net, Brossette says it’s been a very productive week for him both on and off the field. It sounds like he’s made a good impression on NFL scouts while out there this week and I’m hoping he continues to make a case for himself as a dependable and versatile next-level talent during today’s contest. 

In gymnastics news, No. 5 LSU battled hard but lost a thriller of a meet against No. 3 Florida in front of over 12,000 fans in the PMAC. The Tigers fell behind on the first rotation and then jumped out to a lead in the second with a beautiful bar rotation highlighted by a huge 9.975 by Sarah Finnegan. A strong showing on floor by Florida brought the Gators to within .050 heading into the final rotation, and their beam performance put them over the top. LSU had a chance to pull off the upset with Kelley closing things out on the floor in need of a 9.950 and she appeared to get it, but the judges called it a 9.875, which I don’t understand. The final tally: LSU 197.425, Florida 197.475. In the individual scoring, Kelly won vault, bars, floor and the all-around with a score of 39.700. 

That’s it for now, folks. I’ll leave you with this obligatory fundraiser plug: If you appreciate staying informed on LSU sports through these easily accessible daily doses of Tiger news, there’s no better way to show it than by donating to our annual fundraiser. Please read this important message on how and why to pledge your support.





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1/19/19 5:45 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!

There’s some pretty interesting news on the football recruiting front to touch on, and we’ll get to that in just a bit. But out of respect for Will Wade’s red-hot LSU basketball team and its big game today, we’ll lead with hoops. 

There’s no denying there’s a ton of buzz surrounding this LSU basketball team after back-to-back road victories, and I for one can’t wait to see how many LSU fans show up to root on these streaking Tigers. There’s no time to celebrate the accomplishments of LSU’s fast 3-0 conference start, though, as a dangerous Frank Martin-led South Carolina team comes to the PMAC with its own undefeated conference record. At 4-0, the Gamecocks hold victories against Florida, Mississippi State, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. They picked up impressive wins at Florida and Vanderbilt, which are two tough places to play.

This South Carolina team is one of Martin’s youngest but it has a knack for forcing turnovers. So it’s all the more important that Tremont Waters and company take good care of the basketball. The Gamecocks aren’t overly spectacular in any particular area. In fact, they are dead last in field goal percentage in the conference. If LSU takes care of the basketball, continues its hot shooting from outside, and doesn’t give up too many second-chance points, South Carolina could find itself in trouble rather quickly on the road. But those who have followed basketball over the years know Martin’s teams embody toughness (both physically and mentally), and with the Gamecocks coming into town with a renewed confidence after starting the season with a 9-7 record, this should make for a great test of an LSU squad that has won six in a row and hasn’t lost at home in 16 games.

The battle of SEC unbeatens tips off from the PMAC at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network.  

Now onto football recruiting… The hot topic of discussion among Tiger Fans is news of Rodney Sopsher (the brother of LSU 5-star DL target Ishmael Sopsher of Amite) being reclassified to the 2020 class. Of course, the significance of this stems from the fact that Ishmael had previously stated that whoever signs him must be prepared to sign Rodney. LSU is one of only two teams, along with Oregon, to offer both brothers, so that seemed to give LSU an advantage over Alabama for landing Ishmael. So is the advantage in Bama’s court now that Rodney is out of the equation? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean in the least bit that LSU is out of the picture or relenting in his recruitment. 

However things turn out with Sopsher, LSU’s biggest remaining priority for this recruiting class is to sign a couple more big-time DEs, and Orgeron has several in his sights. One of them, Mississippi State commit Nathan Pickering, is visiting LSU this weekend. Another is former Mississippi State commit Charles Moore, who is now set to visit LSU on the final weekend before signing day. LSU is set to entertain Alabama commit Bryan Young on that same weekend and is still recruiting Jared Harrison-Hunte of New York. If LSU can sign two of those four – plus land S/WR Davonta Lee of Amite (which I feel confident in them doing) – this would be an outstanding class regardless of what happens with the three other spots. Two of those three spots have LSU commits Ray Parker (OT) and Maurice Hampton (CB) penciled in, though there’s concern about Parker qualifying and Hampton being a Major League Baseball draft risk. In a subsequent report, we’ll talk about other targets for completing LSU’s class, which currently ranks No. 4 in the nation in 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.

Though it will be a while before we see LSU football back in action, some of you night-owls can catch several future Tigers in action during tonight’s Polynesian Bowl, which will air from Hawaii on CBS Sports Network at 11 p.m. CT. LSU will be well-represented with signees Marcel Brooks, Trey Palmer, Peter Parrish, and Siaki Ika all participating in the game. The aforementioned DT target Ishmael Sopsher is also there for the event but is reportedly not playing in the game due to a minor shoulder injury he suffered in the Under Armour game. 

On a somewhat related note, former LSU running back Nick Brossette will make his final collegiate appearance today when he takes part in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kickoff for the all-star contest is slated for 2 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network. According to LSUSports.net, Brossette says it’s been a very productive week for him both on and off the field. It sounds like he’s made a good impression on NFL scouts while out there this week and I’m hoping he continues to make a case for himself as a dependable and versatile next-level talent during today’s contest. 

In gymnastics news, No. 5 LSU battled hard but lost a thriller of a meet against No. 3 Florida in front of over 12,000 fans in the PMAC. The Tigers fell behind on the first rotation and then jumped out to a lead in the second with a beautiful bar rotation highlighted by a huge 9.975 by Sarah Finnegan. A strong showing on floor by Florida brought the Gators to within .050 heading into the final rotation, and their beam performance put them over the top. LSU had a chance to pull off the upset with Kelley closing things out on the floor in need of a 9.950 and she appeared to get it, but the judges called it a 9.875, which I don’t understand. The final tally: LSU 197.425, Florida 197.475. In the individual scoring, Kelly won vault, bars, floor and the all-around with a score of 39.700. 

That’s it for now, folks. I’ll leave you with this obligatory fundraiser plug: If you appreciate staying informed on LSU sports through these easily accessible daily doses of Tiger news, there’s no better way to show it than by donating to our annual fundraiser. Please read this important message on how and why to pledge your support.

1/18/19 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Please read this important message and show your support for DandyDon.com.

The votes are in: Tigers fans are feeling double-digit regular season conference wins for this LSU basketball squad. In our poll conducted yesterday, approximately 68 percent of the 2,600+ of you who voted said the Tigers would win anywhere from 12 to 14 SEC games, which is remarkable when you recall LSU’s eight league wins a season ago. The leading vote-getter was 14 by the slimmest of margins. Only a few decimal points separated 14 from 12. Nearly 20 percent of you voted for 13 wins, while approximately 12 percent voted for 15. Thanks to all who participated. 

Needless to say, Tiger fans are high on this basketball team right now. A big reason for that is its overall athletic ability. Few teams can rotate three pure point guards at the position as LSU can with Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays and Ja’vonte Smart all becoming integral pieces in that backcourt. And as CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein pointed out on Twitter, LSU’s new “Four Horsemen” (Naz Reid, Darius Days, Emmitt Williams and Kavell Bigby-Williams) could go up against any baseline quartet in America. And we haven’t even mentioned Marlon Taylor, who has the best “hops” we’ve seen in decades in an LSU uniform. LSU’s length and athleticism took over the second half in the Tigers’ biggest win to date: an 83-69 victory against No. 18 Ole Miss Tuesday. If LSU continues to come together, this team could take over the conference in a similar fashion. LSU returns to action tomorrow at 5 p.m. to host South Carolina. Look for more on that contest in tomorrow’s report. 

Turning to football, usually at this time of year the hot topic of discussion is the coaching carousel, but that’s been a quiet topic this time around even though LSU has an open position. As of now, there’s been no word on who might fill the spot vacated by Passing Game Coordinator Jerry Sullivan’s retirement. It doesn’t appear that LSU is feeling any pressure to fill the position quickly before Signing Day, and that’s understandable. LSU has pretty much met its needs at quarterback and receiver in this class, with the exception of Amite S/WR Davonta Lee who LSU feels good about. Plus Mickey Joseph is technically the wide receiver coach and Sullivan’s role wasn’t tied to any specific position. 

The only staffing news to pass along at this time is that there are reports of LSU Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Jeremy Hawkins, leaving the staff. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic is reporting that he is leaving Baton Rouge to be the defensive line coach at Mercer. What an Assistant Director of Player Personnel does is not big news, but what could be big news is any change of status to his superior, Director of Player Personnel Kevin Faulk. I mention this only because I would love to see Faulk, a legendary former Tiger running back and three-time Super Bowl Champion, promoted to an on-the-field coaching role where he could mentor the two big-time backs coming in. I’ve heard nothing to suggest that this move is in the works, so don’t get your hopes up.

In football recruiting news, I mentioned yesterday that LSU was hoping to get DE Byron Young, an Alabama commit, in for an official visit before signing day, and it looks like things are falling into place. The latest word is that Young is set to visit LSU on the weekend of January 26, which is ideal since it’s the last weekend before signing day. Another thing in LSU’s favor as it tries to lure this standout 4-star defensive lineman from The Crimson Tide is that Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi is reportedly leaving to join the Cleveland Browns coaching staff. Lupoi would be the fifth assistant (not counting two consultants) to leave Tuscaloosa since Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the national championship.

And before leaving recruiting, how’s this for making the most of one trip: According to 247Sports, Coach Ed Orgeron extended nine offers to 2020 and 2021 prospects at one Baltimore school yesterday. The players offered at Baltimore St. Frances include the top weak-side defensive end in the 2020 class, Alabama commit Chris Braswell. 

In women’s basketball news, LSU fell to 11-6 (2-3 SEC) on the season with a 64-60 loss to No. 16 Kentucky last night. The Lady Tigers started slow and fell behind by 16 points in the first quarter, but rallied back to tie the game at 52-52 in the 4th quarter on a jumper from Shanice Norton with 7:45 remaining. Unfortunately, they could not complete the upset. Here’s a full recap by LSUSports.net

The LSU gymnastics team, No. 5 in the most recent rankings, will look to shake off last week’s loss to Auburn when they return to action tonight, but it won’t be easy. That’s because they’re set to host No. 3 Florida in what should be a great battle in a packed PMAC. Intros begin at 7:40 p.m. CT and first vault is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. If you can’t make it out there, you can catch the action on the SEC Network. 

A few tidbits in closing: 

• ESPN released its early All-American list for 2019 and LSU’s Grant Delpit made the cut. Here’s what they had to say about him: “Arguably the most versatile defensive back in the nation, Delpit was a finalist for the Nagurski Award in 2018 for his work on a stout LSU defense. Delpit finished third among the Tigers in tackles (74), led all SEC defensive backs with 9.5 tackles for loss, and was one of just 15 players nationally to pick off at least five passes.”

• Yesterday I posted video highlights of a couple of players – Delpit and Nick Brossette –  and today there’s more. This time, it’s linebacker Michael Divinity in the spotlight. These senior season highlights show why getting Divinity back for his senior season is among the most underrated news of the offseason.

• LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette tweeted the following stats as more proof as to why playing for LSU prepares players for NFL: Of the 32 players in Mel Kiper's 1st Round Mock Draft, LSU faced 11 of them this year. Plus, Devin White and Greedy Williams are both projected as Top 10 picks.

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