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1/23/18 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

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

It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about the Q&A we conducted with LSU’s compliance department on the so-called 25-signing cap. If you missed it, you can find it here: Dandy Don’s Q&A with Blair Napolitano on 25-Signing Cap, Transfers, Walk-ons, and More. 

Tuesday Tidbits - Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Dozen Quick Hitters

1. In the early signing period, LSU signed nine players who planned to enroll early at LSU. So far, eight of the nine have done so. The one notable exception is prized offensive tackle Badara Traore, the nation’s top-ranked JUCO tackle. Understandably, that has a lot of Tigers nervous, but the good news is that 247Sports reports that Traore told them last week that his final grades from ASA College were to be posted on Monday, Jan. 22 (yesterday), which would then allow him to head to campus and enroll in school before this Thursday’s deadline. 

2. Football recruiting never ends. With LSU’s main targets for completing its 2018 class already identified, the staff is busy preparing to host its Elite Junior Day this weekend. If history is any indication, this prestigious recruiting event is likely to add a commitment or two to LSU’s 2019 class which currently contains six commitments and is ranked No. 5 in the nation in the Rivals/247Sports composite.

3. Just as LSU is busy identifying top junior prospects, so are we at DandyDon. In fact, we are just wrapping up our list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2019 and will begin revealing the top-60, five at a time, later this week. One prospect who will surely be on the list is Donté Starks of John Ehret High School, the nation’s third-ranked inside linebacker. He tweeted yesterday that he’ll be attending LSU’s Junior Day this weekend before heading to Mississippi State on Feb. 17 and Alabama on Feb. 25  

4. Yesterday I wrote a bit about LSU priority target Patrick Surtain, Jr., the No. 1 cornerback in the country, and here’s a quick follow up. SECCountry.com’s Alabama site is now reporting that the Crimson Tide feels like it has slowly chipped away at LSU’s lead for Surtain and now has the momentum in its favor after his visit to Alabama last weekend. Surtain won’t make his announcement until Signing Day.  I still remain cautiously optimistic that he will be a Tiger, but this is definitely something to watch.

5. It appears that former LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada is the favorite to land Maryland’s offensive coordinator’s position. As noted in this article by The Advocate, “Canada's future pay does not affect his separation agreement with the LSU, according to the copy of the deal, obtained through a public records request. The school owes him $1 million before the end of this month and will pay him $700,000, in monthly installments of $35,000, for the next 20 months.” 

6. The LSU men's basketball team returns to the court for an 8 p.m. encounter with Texas A&M in the PMAC tonight. While I highly doubt the game will be as climactic as the last time these two met – you'll remember that's when Tremont Waters hit that incredible 3-pointer to beat the Aggies on the road –  the game should offer compelling drama between two teams that need a win in a bad way. LSU has dropped three straight, while Texas A&M began conference play with five straight losses. As the Aggies have gotten healthier, though, Texas A&M has won two straight games. The pressure is on LSU to regain the momentum it generated in College Station weeks ago. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

7. In women’s basketball, LSU fell on the road to No. 16 Texas A&M by a score of 69-59 last night. With the loss, the Lady Tigers are now 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the SEC while Texas A&M improved to 16-5 overall and 5-2 in league play. Here’s a full recap of the game by LSUSports.net.

8. Three former Tigers, including two that won national championships with LSU, are heading to the Super Bowl as Ricky Jean Francois, Donnie Jones and Jalen Mills will meet when the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, February 4 in Minneapolis. Per LSUSports.net, it’s the 17th year in a row that a former Tiger will play in the Super Bowl. That streak is the longest in the Southeastern Conference and dates back to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 when Kevin Faulk made his first Super Bowl appearance with the New England Patriots.

9. Following a season-best score of 197.450 on Friday night in front of a sold out Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the LSU gymnastics team is ranked No. 2 with an average score of 197.283. LSU sits in second place behind Oklahoma, which owns an average score of 197.538 after two meets. In case you’re wondering how LSU dropped from 1 to 2, it’s because national rankings are based on a team’s overall season average for the first few weeks of the season before switching to the regional qualifying score (RQS).

10. Not that it means much this far in advance, but the opening betting line on LSU football’s 2018 season opener against Miami favors the Hurricanes by 1 point, according to 5Dimes.

11. Here’s a good article by The Advocate on LSU’s most under-heralded MVP of the 2018 season, running back Darrel Williams. It’s called, “‘I’m not just a backup back': LSU's Darrel Williams arrives at Senior Bowl to prove he 'can be a starter anywhere’”

12. One key to LSU football’s success in 2018 will be the play of its offensive line under the direction of new offensive line coach James Cregg. It was called to my attention that I forgot to ask Mike Detillier for his thoughts on Cregg when I published last week’s Q&A on LSU’s recent hires, so I’ve reached out to Mike for his thoughts. Look for that extra installment in tomorrow’s report. 

That’s it for now, folks. Have a great day.

Friendly Reminder: 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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1/23/18 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

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

It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about the Q&A we conducted with LSU’s compliance department on the so-called 25-signing cap. If you missed it, you can find it here: Dandy Don’s Q&A with Blair Napolitano on 25-Signing Cap, Transfers, Walk-ons, and More. 

Tuesday Tidbits - Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Dozen Quick Hitters

1. In the early signing period, LSU signed nine players who planned to enroll early at LSU. So far, eight of the nine have done so. The one notable exception is prized offensive tackle Badara Traore, the nation’s top-ranked JUCO tackle. Understandably, that has a lot of Tigers nervous, but the good news is that 247Sports reports that Traore told them last week that his final grades from ASA College were to be posted on Monday, Jan. 22 (yesterday), which would then allow him to head to campus and enroll in school before this Thursday’s deadline. 

2. Football recruiting never ends. With LSU’s main targets for completing its 2018 class already identified, the staff is busy preparing to host its Elite Junior Day this weekend. If history is any indication, this prestigious recruiting event is likely to add a commitment or two to LSU’s 2019 class which currently contains six commitments and is ranked No. 5 in the nation in the Rivals/247Sports composite.

3. Just as LSU is busy identifying top junior prospects, so are we at DandyDon. In fact, we are just wrapping up our list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2019 and will begin revealing the top-60, five at a time, later this week. One prospect who will surely be on the list is Donté Starks of John Ehret High School, the nation’s third-ranked inside linebacker. He tweeted yesterday that he’ll be attending LSU’s Junior Day this weekend before heading to Mississippi State on Feb. 17 and Alabama on Feb. 25  

4. Yesterday I wrote a bit about LSU priority target Patrick Surtain, Jr., the No. 1 cornerback in the country, and here’s a quick follow up. SECCountry.com’s Alabama site is now reporting that the Crimson Tide feels like it has slowly chipped away at LSU’s lead for Surtain and now has the momentum in its favor after his visit to Alabama last weekend. Surtain won’t make his announcement until Signing Day.  I still remain cautiously optimistic that he will be a Tiger, but this is definitely something to watch.

5. It appears that former LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada is the favorite to land Maryland’s offensive coordinator’s position. As noted in this article by The Advocate, “Canada's future pay does not affect his separation agreement with the LSU, according to the copy of the deal, obtained through a public records request. The school owes him $1 million before the end of this month and will pay him $700,000, in monthly installments of $35,000, for the next 20 months.” 

6. The LSU men's basketball team returns to the court for an 8 p.m. encounter with Texas A&M in the PMAC tonight. While I highly doubt the game will be as climactic as the last time these two met – you'll remember that's when Tremont Waters hit that incredible 3-pointer to beat the Aggies on the road –  the game should offer compelling drama between two teams that need a win in a bad way. LSU has dropped three straight, while Texas A&M began conference play with five straight losses. As the Aggies have gotten healthier, though, Texas A&M has won two straight games. The pressure is on LSU to regain the momentum it generated in College Station weeks ago. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

7. In women’s basketball, LSU fell on the road to No. 16 Texas A&M by a score of 69-59 last night. With the loss, the Lady Tigers are now 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the SEC while Texas A&M improved to 16-5 overall and 5-2 in league play. Here’s a full recap of the game by LSUSports.net.

8. Three former Tigers, including two that won national championships with LSU, are heading to the Super Bowl as Ricky Jean Francois, Donnie Jones and Jalen Mills will meet when the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, February 4 in Minneapolis. Per LSUSports.net, it’s the 17th year in a row that a former Tiger will play in the Super Bowl. That streak is the longest in the Southeastern Conference and dates back to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 when Kevin Faulk made his first Super Bowl appearance with the New England Patriots.

9. Following a season-best score of 197.450 on Friday night in front of a sold out Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the LSU gymnastics team is ranked No. 2 with an average score of 197.283. LSU sits in second place behind Oklahoma, which owns an average score of 197.538 after two meets. In case you’re wondering how LSU dropped from 1 to 2, it’s because national rankings are based on a team’s overall season average for the first few weeks of the season before switching to the regional qualifying score (RQS).

10. Not that it means much this far in advance, but the opening betting line on LSU football’s 2018 season opener against Miami favors the Hurricanes by 1 point, according to 5Dimes.

11. Here’s a good article by The Advocate on LSU’s most under-heralded MVP of the 2018 season, running back Darrel Williams. It’s called, “‘I’m not just a backup back': LSU's Darrel Williams arrives at Senior Bowl to prove he 'can be a starter anywhere’”

12. One key to LSU football’s success in 2018 will be the play of its offensive line under the direction of new offensive line coach James Cregg. It was called to my attention that I forgot to ask Mike Detillier for his thoughts on Cregg when I published last week’s Q&A on LSU’s recent hires, so I’ve reached out to Mike for his thoughts. Look for that extra installment in tomorrow’s report. 

That’s it for now, folks. Have a great day.

Friendly Reminder: 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.

1/22/18 5:25 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

As promised, today I’ll share with you a half-dozen comments/questions I’ve received lately, along with my brief response to each. Please note that the first response contains a link to a Q&A we recently conducted with LSU’s compliance department about the “hard cap” of 25 signees per year. It should go a long way toward clearing up any questions you recruitniks might have about exactly what is allowed and how last April’s rule changes affect things. Other topics in this week’s Mail Call include a projected lineup in baseball, thoughts on LSU basketball freshman guard Tremont Waters, former Tiger running back Kevin Faulk, and more.  

DANDYDON.COM’S MONDAY MORNING MAIL CALL

From Richard: Everyone says you can only sign 25 players, however we lost over 20 seniors, several came out as juniors and we lost several transfers. This would total more than 25 players. So why can't we sign more than 25 players this year to replace all we lost? I understand 9 enrolled at mid-semester, but as I understand, they still count on this year’s class. Does every school have a 25 signee mandate this year as 247 sports says?

My Response: Yes, every school is limited to a maximum of 25 “initial-counter” signees per year, regardless of how many players leave early for the NFL or otherwise transfer out. You will see some schools showing more than 25 signees this year only because “back-counting” to the previous year’s class is allowed as long as that previous class did not sign its full allotment. To help clear up any confusion and get some definitive answers on transfers, gray shirts, and walk-ons, we at DandyDon conducted this Q&A with Blair Napolitano of LSU’s compliance department and she was gracious in providing some definitive answers. 

From Dan: Hey Scott. Like you, I’ve got spring fever bad and can’t wait for some Tiger baseball. Don’t know much about what to expect and would love to see your projected lineup.

My Response: Dan, I’ll have a much better feel for the team after attending LSU Baseball Media day this Friday. As of now, here’s my best guess at a potential lineup:

C Hunter Feduccia, Jr.
1B Bryce Jordan, Jr.
2B Hal Huges, So.
3B Jake Slaughter, So.
SS  Josh Smith, So.
LF Daniel Cabrera, Fr.
CF Zach Watson, So.
RF Antoine Duplantis, Jr.
DH Nick Webre, Fr. 

Weekend Pitching Rotation: Caleb Gilbert, Jr., Zach Hess, So., and who knows for No. 3. Candidates include Todd Peterson, So., Ma’Kail Hilliard, Fr., Devin Fontenot, Fr., and JUCO-transfer Cameron Sanders.

From John: Seems like LSU basketball will go as freshman Tremont Waters goes. What’s been up with him the last couple of games? Seems like he’s been in a funk. 

My Response: You’re right that Waters hasn’t seemed the same recently. Fans (people in general) always seem to try to point to this one thing or another to explain a “problem” but I suspect there are several things at play here. Teams have figured out how to better defend Waters, the competition has been stiffer, and perhaps more than anything, consistency is hard to achieve as a freshman. He’s an outstanding player, though, and awfully fun to watch when he’s “on.” I’m sure we’ll see plenty more big games from him.

From Bobby: I’m by no means a conspiracy theorist. But, in regards to the possible hire of Kevin Faulk, could coach Orgeron be setting up a potential replacement for the running backs coach Tommie Robinson? Your thoughts on Kevin as a possible coach and recruiter for LSU. 

My Response: I really don’t know if there’s anything to that theory, but I doubt it. I say that just because I’ve known about LSU’s plans to bring Faulk on in a Player Development role for some time now but did not want to announce it until it was finalized and he had a chance to tell his players. (Only after it was reported by FootballScoop, The Advocate, and others did I mention it.) I don’t know when the Robinson/Cleveland interest began, but I suspect it came after “Faulk to LSU” was already in the works. Now, could Faulk end up a candidate should Robinson be hired by Cleveland? I don’t know. I’ve heard nothing to suggest that’s been discussed, though I surely could get behind it!

From Charles: Scott, thank you for all the work you do for the Tiger Nation and this site. I wanted to get your thoughts on team leadership for next year. I don’t coach football, but I have been a high school teacher and coach for about 15 years and, to me, one of the biggest deciding factors in how a team plays is leadership. It can elevate less talented and players and it can kill the most talented teams. Who do you see as the offensive leader for the team next year? With Guice, Etling, Chark, and Clapp all moving on it seems like there is a big leadership vacuum and that concerns me, especially with an inexperienced quarterback in control. I have confidence in Brennan’s ability, but I think the team will need someone to step up and shoulder the group next year. Who do you see as the best people to fill that role?

My Response: That’s a great question, Charles. It’s easy to identify guys like Rashard Lawrence and Devin White on defense as leaders, but much harder to identify any on the offensive side of the ball. I’m hoping that whoever grabs the starting QB role will emerge as that leader. Another who comes to mind is Foster Moreau as he is one of few returning seniors on that side of the ball.

From Jason: What do you make of Nick Saban interviewing Patrick Surtain, Sr. for a coaching job?

My Response: Well the first thing to note is that Surtain, Sr. won’t be coaching there. Saban filled the defensive backs coaching position by hiring former UL-L defensive coordinator Karl Scott. On the surface, it looks like that was pretty a pretty sly move by Saban to go after Surtain, Sr. (and it was), but the truth is it would have been perfectly legal and was a sensible move on several fronts. The elder Surtain not only had an illustrious NFL career as a defensive back but he’s an outstanding football coach with a proven record. Having such a man for a father is a big factor in Patrick Surtain, Jr. being such an incredible athlete and student of the game. I know LSU felt very good about its chances with Surtain last week, and, as of now, I haven’t heard anything that would lead me to feel differently since Surtain visited Bama this weekend. 

That’s it for today, folks. Tune in tomorrow for your daily dose of Tiger News presented in Tuesday Tidbits mode. 

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