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1/16/18 5:45 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL has come and gone with LSU losing six juniors to the draft. The six include RB Derrius Guice, CD Donté Jackson, OLB Arden Key, CB Kevin Toliver, OT Toby Weathersby, and OC Will Clapp. The last Tiger whose decision we were waiting on was OG Garrett Brumfield and he decided to return for his senior season. Though it was expected, it was good news to see Brumfield’s tweet saying that he would return, especially in light of the decisions by Clapp and Weathersby. 

Speaking of offensive linemen and deadlines, LSU is still awaiting the arrival of prized OL signee Badara Traore of ASA College in New York. Traore is one of nine players who were expected to be early arrivals when they signed. All eight of the others are good to go but the word is that Traore is wrapping up a few loose ends in the classroom. His arrival is expected any day now. The deadline to enroll in classes for the spring semester is January 22.  

In football recruiting news, we keep talking about LSU having three spots to fill in this year’s class, but that is not technically correct. After signing 21 in the early period, LSU has four spots to fill, though the reason we keep talking about the “final three in” is that LSU secured a commitment from safety Kelvin Joseph on January 6. We still feel very confident that Joseph will be a Tiger, but those of you who’ve been following recruiting for a while know that it’s not wise to count your chickens before they hatch. LSU knows that too, that’s why the first prospect LSU visited when the contact period resumed last week was Joseph. As it stands right now, he is scheduled to take his official visit to LSU this weekend and then head to Alabama next weekend and to Auburn on the final weekend before signing day. The staff is hoping that while Joseph is on campus he’ll decide to cancel those two visits and put an end to his recruitment. 

As for the other remaining spots (the ones we call the “final three in”)… We wrote before that we were predicting they would go to CB Patrick Surtain, CB Mario Goodrich, and either QB James Foster or WR JaMarr Chase. Now, after each of those prospects visited this past weekend, we’re feeling like it will be Surtain, Chase and either Foster or Goodrich. The word we’re getting is that all four had very good visits and that LSU is most confident in signing Surtain and Chase. Suratin is scheduled to visit Alabama this weekend while Chase will be heading to Auburn. As for who is more likely between Foster and Goodrich, your guess is as good as mine. The good news is that if either one of them ends up joining an LSU class that ends with Joseph, Surtain, and Chase, the Tigers will have a very solid class.  

A couple of related notes:  As mentioned yesterday, Chase hit it off with new Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger and Passing Coordinator Jerry Sullivan. The two emphasized to him that LSU’s 2018 offense will center around the passing game, which is something Ensminger inferred in his introductory press conference. Also worth noting: Chase’s player-host for his LSU visit was Kriston Fulton, a fellow Rummel alum. Fulton, a former 5-star CB recruit, showed great potential during his freshman season at LSU and then took a redshirt this past year for “off-the-field” reasons. He’s expected to compete for the starting cornerback job opposite of Greedy Williams this year.

In other recruiting news, we mentioned yesterday that LSU is recruiting three running backs with Louisiana ties for the 2019 class, but they are not the only elite RBs LSU is pursuing. Yesterday five-star running back Quavaris Crouch tweeted that he was blessed to receive an LSU offer. Crouch (6-2, 224) is rated as a five-star and is the No. 1 player in North Carolina. 

Turning to hoops, the LSU men’s team will look for its first home conference win tonight against the Georgia Bulldogs, but it won’t be easy. The Tigers are 2-2 in conference with both losses on the season coming at home, but most of the spotlight will be on how Will Wade and the Tigers react to the frustrating 74-66 loss against Alabama Saturday. Wade took some criticism for the way he lost his temper in the loss, and judging from the way Wade’s Tigers have improved in all facets of the game this season, I expect them to come out poised and ready to play. And they better be. Don’t let the Bulldogs’ two-game losing streak fool you, Georgia is a talented, physical team that is third in the conference in rebounding. Coming off of a game where Alabama out-muscled LSU inside, that should be a great concern. Also of note: The Bulldogs possess a 65-46 win against Alabama and an 11-point win against Ole Miss, who just defeated Florida. So while the SEC continues to devour itself, no team in the conference can be taken lightly. And with both LSU and Georgia trying to be the dark horses in SEC play, tonight’s matchup is that much more important. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Closing Tidbits: 

Here’s a bit of good news: Mike Detillier says former Saints and current Hall of Fame placekicker Morten Andersen will work with newly signed LSU placekicker Cole Tracy in May at his camp. (And speaking of Detillier, I’ll be doing a new Q&A with him soon.)

• The LSU gymnastics team remains ranked No. 1 in the nation this week with an average score of 197.200 after two weeks of competition. The Tigers return to action on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT against No. 9 Alabama. If you’re longing to see a Tiger victory over the Crimson Tide, tune in on the SEC Network.

• According to The Baton Rouge Business Report, former LSU head coach Les Miles has landed a role in an upcoming Indie film called “Angry Men.” According to its website, the movie is about the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster. Miles plays the role of a NASA employee known as Nelson.

• For the few of you who saw my tweet about #CookingNight last night and asked what was on the menu, here you go: Last night was Part 2 of a two-meal meal plan. Thursday it was this hardy Cajun meatball stew, but only using half the meatballs that I prepared. Monday it was spaghetti and meatballs with the rest of the meatballs.

Daily Doses of Tiger News 365 days a year in a click-bait-free, easily accessible blog – I ask that you think about what that is worth to you and what it takes to keep it going for 21 years straight and then read this important message about supporting our annual fundraiser. Thanks in advance for your consideration.





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1/16/18 5:45 am CST

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

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL has come and gone with LSU losing six juniors to the draft. The six include RB Derrius Guice, CD Donté Jackson, OLB Arden Key, CB Kevin Toliver, OT Toby Weathersby, and OC Will Clapp. The last Tiger whose decision we were waiting on was OG Garrett Brumfield and he decided to return for his senior season. Though it was expected, it was good news to see Brumfield’s tweet saying that he would return, especially in light of the decisions by Clapp and Weathersby. 

Speaking of offensive linemen and deadlines, LSU is still awaiting the arrival of prized OL signee Badara Traore of ASA College in New York. Traore is one of nine players who were expected to be early arrivals when they signed. All eight of the others are good to go but the word is that Traore is wrapping up a few loose ends in the classroom. His arrival is expected any day now. The deadline to enroll in classes for the spring semester is January 22.  

In football recruiting news, we keep talking about LSU having three spots to fill in this year’s class, but that is not technically correct. After signing 21 in the early period, LSU has four spots to fill, though the reason we keep talking about the “final three in” is that LSU secured a commitment from safety Kelvin Joseph on January 6. We still feel very confident that Joseph will be a Tiger, but those of you who’ve been following recruiting for a while know that it’s not wise to count your chickens before they hatch. LSU knows that too, that’s why the first prospect LSU visited when the contact period resumed last week was Joseph. As it stands right now, he is scheduled to take his official visit to LSU this weekend and then head to Alabama next weekend and to Auburn on the final weekend before signing day. The staff is hoping that while Joseph is on campus he’ll decide to cancel those two visits and put an end to his recruitment. 

As for the other remaining spots (the ones we call the “final three in”)… We wrote before that we were predicting they would go to CB Patrick Surtain, CB Mario Goodrich, and either QB James Foster or WR JaMarr Chase. Now, after each of those prospects visited this past weekend, we’re feeling like it will be Surtain, Chase and either Foster or Goodrich. The word we’re getting is that all four had very good visits and that LSU is most confident in signing Surtain and Chase. Suratin is scheduled to visit Alabama this weekend while Chase will be heading to Auburn. As for who is more likely between Foster and Goodrich, your guess is as good as mine. The good news is that if either one of them ends up joining an LSU class that ends with Joseph, Surtain, and Chase, the Tigers will have a very solid class.  

A couple of related notes:  As mentioned yesterday, Chase hit it off with new Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger and Passing Coordinator Jerry Sullivan. The two emphasized to him that LSU’s 2018 offense will center around the passing game, which is something Ensminger inferred in his introductory press conference. Also worth noting: Chase’s player-host for his LSU visit was Kriston Fulton, a fellow Rummel alum. Fulton, a former 5-star CB recruit, showed great potential during his freshman season at LSU and then took a redshirt this past year for “off-the-field” reasons. He’s expected to compete for the starting cornerback job opposite of Greedy Williams this year.

In other recruiting news, we mentioned yesterday that LSU is recruiting three running backs with Louisiana ties for the 2019 class, but they are not the only elite RBs LSU is pursuing. Yesterday five-star running back Quavaris Crouch tweeted that he was blessed to receive an LSU offer. Crouch (6-2, 224) is rated as a five-star and is the No. 1 player in North Carolina. 

Turning to hoops, the LSU men’s team will look for its first home conference win tonight against the Georgia Bulldogs, but it won’t be easy. The Tigers are 2-2 in conference with both losses on the season coming at home, but most of the spotlight will be on how Will Wade and the Tigers react to the frustrating 74-66 loss against Alabama Saturday. Wade took some criticism for the way he lost his temper in the loss, and judging from the way Wade’s Tigers have improved in all facets of the game this season, I expect them to come out poised and ready to play. And they better be. Don’t let the Bulldogs’ two-game losing streak fool you, Georgia is a talented, physical team that is third in the conference in rebounding. Coming off of a game where Alabama out-muscled LSU inside, that should be a great concern. Also of note: The Bulldogs possess a 65-46 win against Alabama and an 11-point win against Ole Miss, who just defeated Florida. So while the SEC continues to devour itself, no team in the conference can be taken lightly. And with both LSU and Georgia trying to be the dark horses in SEC play, tonight’s matchup is that much more important. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Closing Tidbits: 

Here’s a bit of good news: Mike Detillier says former Saints and current Hall of Fame placekicker Morten Andersen will work with newly signed LSU placekicker Cole Tracy in May at his camp. (And speaking of Detillier, I’ll be doing a new Q&A with him soon.)

• The LSU gymnastics team remains ranked No. 1 in the nation this week with an average score of 197.200 after two weeks of competition. The Tigers return to action on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT against No. 9 Alabama. If you’re longing to see a Tiger victory over the Crimson Tide, tune in on the SEC Network.

• According to The Baton Rouge Business Report, former LSU head coach Les Miles has landed a role in an upcoming Indie film called “Angry Men.” According to its website, the movie is about the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster. Miles plays the role of a NASA employee known as Nelson.

• For the few of you who saw my tweet about #CookingNight last night and asked what was on the menu, here you go: Last night was Part 2 of a two-meal meal plan. Thursday it was this hardy Cajun meatball stew, but only using half the meatballs that I prepared. Monday it was spaghetti and meatballs with the rest of the meatballs.

Daily Doses of Tiger News 365 days a year in a click-bait-free, easily accessible blog – I ask that you think about what that is worth to you and what it takes to keep it going for 21 years straight and then read this important message about supporting our annual fundraiser. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

1/15/18 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Folks, I was hoping to have a “Mail Call” for you today but ended up having a rough night (teenage daughters can be difficult). Since I wasn’t able to put it together, let’s handle it this way: 

To those of you writing to say the sky is falling on LSU football and that the end times are near, get yourself together. LSU is coming off a season in which it won more SEC games than in several years and was essentially one play away from 10 wins. Of course we want better, but that’s nothing to whine about. 

For those of you complaining about the way the OC hire was handled, I hear you. Coach O made a promise to bring in the best of the best coordinators but then promoted from the inside a man who hasn’t been an OC in 20 years.  I get it… but you know what? Ensminger has been a coordinator in the past 20 years and it was right here at LSU in 2016. No, he didn’t score on Bama, but he did a heck of a job – better than Cam Cameron before him and better than Matt Canada, who by multiple accounts was… well, let’s just say he was not a good fit. 

To those of you thinking this year’s recruiting class will fall apart, it won’t. LSU signed 21 players in the early period and they are signed, sealed, and delivered. The Tigers will only sign one or two more offensive players in this year’s class with the two biggest targets being WR JaMarr Chase and QB James Foster. Both of those prospects visited this weekend and had a great time. In fact, I hear Chase and his family really hit it off with the coaching staff, especially new Passing Game Coordinator Jerry Sullivan. 

And to those of you writing to say you love the direction Will Wade has this basketball program going in but that he needs to chill a bit on the sideline, you’re right (but man that officiating down the stretch was awful). Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally pumped about Will Wade and what he’s doing for the program. He’s an outstanding coach and exactly what this team needs. Yeah, his tantrum Saturday night was a bit overboard, but he acknowledged as much in his postgame comments. Chalk it up as a learning experience for a young, fiery coach. That said, I’ll take that kind of passion and excitement any day over a lack of enthusiasm. Clearly the good he brings to program outweighs that one small negative by a ton. 

Oh, and to those of you concerned about LSU missing out on running back Harold Joiner (he committed to Auburn yesterday) because of a “communication mishap,” I wouldn’t categorize it that way. LSU intentionally cooled on Joiner. I’m not saying it was necessarily the right decision, but it was definitely a calculated decision. LSU secured commitments from two running backs relatively early and then saw its numbers get very tight. The staff figured they could do without adding another RB in this class since there are so many elite backs in the 2019 class including three with strong Louisiana ties. If Nick Brosette can hold on to the ball, if Clyde Edwards-Helaire lives up to last preseason’s hype, and if Chris Curry is as good as I think he is, the Tigers will be alright at running back in 2018 before absolutely racking up in 2019. 

And speaking of future prospects, to those of you who’ve asked about our list of Louisiana’s Top Prospects for 2019, it’s almost ready. So far we have 128 names on our list and are in the process of ranking them. We normally begin incrementally revealing the top 50 in the last week of January. 

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s quickly move on to the continuation of our series on 2018 LSU football with a look at special teams.  If you missed the first two installments where we looked at the outlook, concerns, and hopes for LSU’s offensive and defense, I hope you’ll take a moment to read them here.

LSU FOOTBALL 2018 SPECIAL TEAMS

The Outlook: The only way to go is up after a season where field goal kicking was possibly the worst in the conference. Hiring Greg McMahon as the full-time assistant was the logical first step. McMahon brings a depth of experience and NFL concepts, so a nearly complete overhaul could be in the offing. Kicker Cole Tracy's signing as a graduate transfer was to give him the job or, at least, create more competition at the position, and that should be a big plus. LSU will miss seniors like Russell Gage in the coverage teams but punting should be in good hands with Zach Von Rosenburg returning.

The Concern: Tracy is an unknown quantity and is taking a big step up in competition level from Division II Assumption. His presence will change the chemistry of the group. There is no clear leader as a return man on punts or kickoffs as D.J. Chark is gone and Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Nick Brossette move into more important roles as the top returning running backs.

The Hope: McMahon, who becomes the 10th full-time staffer, will have a strong influence on improving this important part of the team and more attention to the place-kickers has to be an improvement over last year’s scenario. Rosenburg's season-long improvement should continue and Derrick Dillon’s elusiveness and experience might make him the guy on returns. There are also guys like elite speedster Kary Vincent, Jr. (2-time Texas Class 6A State Champion in the 200 Meters) who could make LSU’s return team awfully fun to watch. LSU has recruited well and the two-deep talent can make a name on coverage teams. Bottom line: Coach O recognizes the importance of improving this unit, as evidenced by using a scholarship on a one-year kicker and naming a full-time special teams coach. There’s plenty of reason to not only hope for but expect improvement from this group.

That’s it for today, folks. Remember, if you like starting your day with these daily doses of Tiger News and would like to help keep them coming, there’s no better way to do so and to show your appreciation than by contributing to our annual fundraiser. If you haven’t yet done so, please take a moment to find out how and why by reading this important message.



 

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