5/20/15 5:50 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Since our daily doses of Tiger News have been a little light on football lately, I’m going to start today’s update with Part 1 of our promised series on LSU’s 2015 signees who will be reporting to LSU this summer. But first, I’ve got a fitting video to share with you that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. As many of you know, Florida University stirred up some controversy recently when it released a hype video proclaiming itself Defensive Back University (DBU). Well, let’s just say that LSU set the record straight yesterday by responding with a hype video of its own, and it’s a good one. It starts by recalling four LSU defensive backs who were selected very highly in NFL drafts – Patrick Peterson, Laron Landry, Morris Claiborne, and Eric Reid who were all first round selections, and Tyrann Mathieu who was selected in the third round of the 2013 draft after sitting out all of 2012. The video goes on to highlight many other past and current DB greats. You can check it out yourself here:
VIDEO (4:29): LSU is DBU
There’s no disputing that Florida has some darn good defensive backs, and all this posturing is well and good, but let’s consider the following: LSU has produced two Jim Thorpe award winners (for top DB in country) in the past five years (Florida has not produced any), and the top defensive back prospects from the state of Florida in the 2015 and 2016 classes – Kevin Toliver and Saivion Smith – both chose LSU over Florida.
Now, as promised, let’s begin reviewing LSU’s 2015 football signees with Part 1 of a 5-part series. Just for the heck of it, let’s start with defensive backs. Periodically throughout the next week or two we’ll look at a different position group until we’ve covered all 25 signees, 22 of whom will be reporting to LSU for the first time this summer. Before going any further, I want to thank my friend Jake Martin for his help with this series. Here we go…
LSU signed four defensive backs in 2015 who will continue LSU’s DBU lineage.The most decorated of the group is early enrollee Kevin Toliver (6’2”, 185) of Jacksonville, Florida, and we’ve already had a brief chance to see what he is capable of this spring. Joining Toliver this summer will be fellow true freshmen Donté Jackson (5’11”, 175), Xavier Lewis (5’11”, 188) and Jeremy Cutrer (6’2”, 170), all of whom hale from Louisiana. Let’s take a quick look at what each of the four freshmen bring to the table and what we can expect of them.
Toliver was a national top-10 prospect according to every recruiting service in the country. As a pure corner, what makes him special is his ability to glue himself to receivers and allow little to no space in the passing game. Jackson, the No. 3 athlete on our list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2015, is coming off of a state championship win in the 100-meters, where he recorded a blazing 10.3 time. (FYI: Oregon signee Kirk Merritt of Destrehan, LA, who was once a coveted LSU recruit, finished second with a 10.5.) As Jackson’s highlights illustrate, he’s much more than just a speedster and is a threat anytime he’s around the ball. Then you have players like Lewis, No. 9 on our top in-state prospects list, and Cutrer, who spent the last two seasons gaining experience at the JUCO level with Mississippi Gulf Coast, joining the mix.
So where will everyone fit in? Well, that’s to be determined. Tre’Davious White has one corner position locked up, Jalen Mills isn’t going to hand over his safety position and Jamal Adams is probably the most talented defensive back we’ve seen since Eric Reid. Toliver will battle Ed Paris for the other starting corner position, but Paris looked to be one of the most improved players this spring, making that position battle an intense one. You have to figure the speedy Jackson will fit into the mix somewhere (as Coach Frank Wilson stated in this video, Jackson will get looks on special teams and offense as well) but Dwayne Thomas, John Battle and Ricky Jefferson aren’t going to lie down. Looking at what LSU’s D-backs have done in the past, and at this current group of Tigers, there’s no disputing that LSU has been, still is, and will continue to be… DBU.
In baseball news, No. 1 seed LSU will begin SEC Tournament play today at 4:30 against No. 9 seed Auburn. In yesterday’s single-elimination round of the tournament, Auburn defeated Kentucky 6-3. To tell the truth, a part of me was hoping Kentucky would win so that the Tigers would have another shot at the Wildcats, the only team that beat LSU in an SEC series this season. Earlier this year, LSU won two out of three against Auburn, but it wasn’t easy. The purple and gold Tigers struggled at the plate against Auburn pitching and only hit .211 (20-of-95) in the series. In today’s game, LSU will send left-hander Jared Poché (7-1, 3.18 ERA) to the mound, while Auburn will reportedly counter with right-hander Rocky McCord (5-4, 3.65 ERA). McCord is the one Auburn starting pitcher that LSU hit well in the series back in mid April, rocking him for six runs on six hits in two innings of work. The Auburn pitcher who gave LSU the most trouble was ace Keegan Thompson, but he’s been hurt and his status for this week is uncertain.
Today’s game will be televised on the SEC Network and streamed on WatchEPSN, and I will be tweeting occasional score updates and comments for those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
In closing, I want to thank all of you who commented on the bit of lagniappe I included in yesterday’s report - my Rainy Day (Chicken) Fricassée Recipe. Several of you mentioned that you would be trying it soon, and if you do I would love to hear how it comes out. Have a great Game Day, Tiger Fans!