2/12/16 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU softball starts today, football’s Boys from the Boots event is tomorrow, and baseball season starts a week from today… all are signs that change is in the air and spring is right around the corner! We’ll touch on each of those topics and more in today’s report, starting with softball. Here we go…
The No. 3 ranked LSU softball team opens the season tonight as the Tigers begin play in the Tiger Classic with a matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes at 5 p.m. at Tiger Park. LSU will play five games in all this weekend, with the second coming tonight at 7:30 against North Florida. On Saturday, the Tigers will battle UConn at 5 p.m. and Pacific at 7:30, and on Sunday they’ll conclude the Classic with a game against Pacific that is set for 11:30 a.m.
LSU heads into the new year returning virtually all of its offense, defense and pitching from last year’s team that raced out to the best start in LSU softball history and advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the fourth time in program history. With over 80 percent of LSU’s leading hitters and pitchers back, including All-Americans Bianka Bell, Bailey Landry, Sahvanna Jaquish, Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper, expectations are sky high for this year’s team, which Coach Beth Torina has called the most deep and talented of any she’s ever coached.
If you live in the area and don’t have plans for the weekend, gather up the kids and head out to Tiger Park for what should be a picture-perfect Spring-like weekend for softball. If you can’t make it out there, today’s and tomorrow’s games will be streamed live through SEC Network+ with Lyn Rollins and Yvette Girouard calling all of the action.
In football recruiting news, the hunt for 2017 prospects (and beyond) will be ratcheted up a notch beginning tomorrow when LSU hosts its annual Boys from the Boot invitation-only recruiting event. The event, not to be confused with LSU’s Junior Day which will be held next weekend, gives invited prospects and their families a chance to meet the coaching staff and tour LSU’s impressive facilities. There are no workouts or drills, but it’s a very informative and entertaining day for the prospects and their parents. There are usually about 40 prospects at the event, and below is a list of a few I’ve heard will be attending. The number next to each player’s name represents where he’s found on our early list of Top LA Prospects for 2017, which, by the way, will change a lot between now and next Signing Day as we continue to gather info on prospects.
2. Christopher Allen (LB/DE), 6'4", 222, Southern Lab
11. Brad Stewart (CB), 6'0", 193, McDonogh 35
13. Bryan Jones (DE), 6'5", 240, Madison Prep
16. Dennis Collins (DE), 6'3", 250, West Monroe
20. Cheyenne LaBruzza (DB), 6'0", 175, Albany
22. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB), 5'7", 191, Catholic of BR
23. Ethan Harvey (OL), 6'3", 285, Evangel
29. Jontre Kirklin (ATH/QB), 6'0", 180, Lutcher
30. Trey Coleman (RB), 6'1", 190, West Monroe
40. Robert Scott Foust (QB), 6'4", 190, West Monroe
54. Amik Robertson (ATH), 5'9", 165, Thibodaux
There are also several players for the class of 2018 expected to attend, including Haynesville teammates Jalen Harris (DE) and Jamarceon Jackson (S), and Parkway teammates Terrace Marshall (WR) and Justin Rogers (QB).
And while on the topic of recruiting, I want to give you a quick update on what I’m hearing on about LSU 2016 DE/LB target Sci Martin. A reader I hear from who is close to the situation tells me that Martin is still unsure of his decision and that is the only reason he has yet to sign anywhere. At this point it appears about 80% certain that Martin will chose LSU, but you never know. Martin committed to the Horned Frogs on December 9 and hasn’t officially de-committed, and is also considering Alabama. His parents, by the way, both would like to see him stick close to home and play for LSU, and I understand Coach Ed Orgeron has done an outstanding job recruiting him. As soon as I hear more, I’ll let you know.
In other football news, it was announced yesterday that five former Tigers have been invited to the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. The five are linebacker Deion Jones, offensive linemen Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander, defensive back Jalen Mills, and a player whose name we haven’t heard in a while, cornerback Rashard Robinson. As you probably recall, Robinson, one of the most talented cover cornerbacks to play at LSU in recent years, was dismissed from the team after getting into trouble multiple times during his brief time as a Tiger. The Pro Combine is set to begin on February 23rd and will run through the 29th.
In baseball news, in my previous report I mentioned that LSU pitcher Riley Smith injured his shoulder and would see a doctor yesterday. Here’s an update: According to The Advocate, it turns out that the injury was nothing serious and Riley should be good to go after a few days of rest. Riley, a hard throwing junior transfer right-hander who was selected in the 31st round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, is competing with sophomore Austin Bain and senior Akron transfer John Valek for a spot in the Tigers’ weekend rotation behind junior Jared Poché and sophomore Alex Lange. I also mentioned yesterday that reliever Collin Strall is dealing with a shoulder injury that will have him out for a while, and that produced a lot of response from fans concerned about LSU’s pitching depth. I’m pulling for Strall to make a quick recovery, but I just want to put your mind at ease by telling you that LSU’s bullpen is super deep this year. For those of you interested, here’s a slideshow by Randy Rosetta of nola.com on LSU’s bullpen leaders.
Today’s closing tidbits:
• Congratulations are in order for LSU’s Ben Simmons who was named to the Wooden Award Top 20 list. The award, named after the legendary Coach John Wooden, is presented annually to the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball players. The Award will be presented during the weekend of April 7-9.
• I have updated our Ticket Exchange page but it currently contains very few listings (four concerning football season tickets and one about baseball season tickets). If you have any tickets you’d like to sell, please email me the information so I can add it to the page. Thanks!
That’s it for today, folks. Get out there and enjoy this beautiful day.