NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
11/1/14 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
It sure feels strange to not have an LSU football game today, but after nine consecutive weeks of action, the team is definitely due for a break. What’s remarkable is that the Tigers are – knock on wood – in great health heading into the most highly anticipated game of the season, and let’s hope things stay that way as the team puts in final preparations for Alabama next week.
Since there’s no LSU football game today, let’s take this time to talk a little about LSU basketball, which gets underway next Friday with a free exhibition game at the PMAC against Morehouse. Coach Johnny Jones, who has won more basketball games in the last two years (39) than any other LSU head coach in his first two seasons, will have more depth to work with this season than ever before, thanks to the excellent job he’s done in recruiting. Recently, the media picked LSU to finish fourth in SEC play behind Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas, and with Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin back as sophomores, many are predicting the Tigers will return to the NCAA Tournament this season after a six-year absence. Today we’ll begin a two-part series giving you a brief overview of the team’s new faces and returning stars, starting with the backcourt. Here we go…
LSU's backcourt won't have the flare of Anthony Hickey in the 2014-15 season, nor will it possess the 3-point stroke of Andre Stringer. The Tigers will trade sizzle for size with a few new faces, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As good as Hickey was at creating space and making plays with his athleticism, his inconsistent play and lack of size was exploited in league play. The inconsistency, and more importantly the inability to run Johnny Jones’ offense the way Jones wanted him to, apparently caused some tension between Hickey and Jones, and in May it was announced that Hickey would not be returning to the team. (He transferred to Oklahoma State.) With Hickey’s departure and Stringer’s graduation, it’s time for Tiger Fans to embrace a fresh backcourt. Before we get to the newcomers, let's not forget about a promising returner in Tim Quarterman. Quarterman was a defensive specialist last year, but averaged 2.5 points per game. His long arms allowed him to defend on the perimeter, and that ability is something Jones is hoping to have more of with this season’s new backcourt additions.
This year’s new backcourt additions are Josh Gray and a player many of you are familiar with, Keith Hornsby. Hornsby (the son of Grammy Award-winning artist Bruce Hornsby) comes to LSU from UNC-Asheville, but has the advantage of having practiced with LSU last season. Gray is a junior college transfer who came to LSU from Odessa College where he averaged 33.8 points per game. Coach Jones has said Gray can score from the outside and has great ball handling skills, which will allow him to drive the lane and create opportunities for teammates. Gray is a 6-foot-1 guard, while Hornsby is a 6-foot-4 guard. Both Hickey and Stringer were under 6-feet tall, so this will be an upgrade in terms of defending. However, it’s still undetermined whether Gray and Hornsby can generate the same offensive explosion as Hickey and Stringer. Nonetheless, with most of the Tigers’ great frontcourt returning, these new faces will likely be bouncing the ball down in the post for Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin to do work.
Look for more on Mickey, Martin and the Tigers’ frontcourt in tomorrow’s report.
In football recruiting news, late last night Deshawn Raymond (CB, 6'0", 175, East Jefferson, No. 15 on our list of Top LA Prospects) committed to TCU. As I mentioned in yesterday’s report, I wasn’t really expecting him to pick LSU, so that doesn’t come as a surprise.
Changing gears here… yesterday I heard from a lot of you who wished me good luck on my fishing trip and asked me to be sure to share a picture, so I’ve done that today. But really, the pic is not all that impressive this time as we only ended up keeping seven fish - six white perch (a.k.a. sac-à-lait, crappie) and one bass. Notice I said “keeping.” The embarrassing and humbling truth is that I accidentally dropped a stringer of three bass into the water, and I was sick all day thinking about it. You can check out a pic of the fish we managed to take away in our Media Gallery’s Lagniappe section.
Lastly, there were some great LA prep football games played last night and you can check out the scores in our statewide scoreboard. Once tonight’s games are done and the remaining scores are entered, we’ll process the picks and name the Week 9 winner in our Louisiana High School Football Pickem.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a good read on Jordan and Rickey Jefferson to share with DandyDon readers. Meet the Jeffersons: LSU DB Rickey Jefferson learned from his older brother Jordan
10/31/14 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
By the time most of you are reading this, I’ll be wetting a line in my favorite fishing hole on this beautiful fall morning. With any luck I’ll have a few photos to share with you soon. Man, I just love the smell of the piney woods and sound of the flowing creek on a crisp, cool day like today. Life is good.
I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve written much about football recruiting, so today let’s touch on that. LSU currently has 16 commitments for 2015, with room to take at least nine more. (Actually, I’m hearing that LSU’s most recent commitment, kicker Jack Gonsoulin, is likely to attend LSU on an academic scholarship, so that could add another opening.) Players currently committed to LSU include three running backs, three defensive backs, three offensive linemen, two tight-ends, one defensive end, one quarterback, one wide receiver, and two special teams specialists in Gonsoulin and long snapper Blake Ferguson. At this point, the biggest priorities for LSU appear to be landing the state’s top prospects, and filling needs at linebacker, defensive end.
Below is a list of 10 LSU prospects that I’ve been hearing the most about lately. Of course, there are many, many more targets on LSU’s big board, and there will likely be new targets to emerge in the next three months. Here we go…
WR, 6'1", 185, Warren Easton, No. 2 on our list of Top LA Prospectsâ€¨
Johnson is one of those receivers who just makes it look easy. He has excellent speed and is great at creating space between himself and his defender. His leaders are widely regarded to be LSU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. One thing that Oklahoma State has going for them is that Tyron’s good friend, Jalen McClesky is apparently heading there, and they throw the ball a good bit more than LSU does. Johnson is obviously a big priority for LSU, not so much because of his position, but because he’s an elite in-state player and it’s always best to keep those at home.
OT, 6'7", 325, Evangel, No. 4 on our list of Top LA Prospectsâ€¨
Like Johnson, Tillery is a big priority because he’s an elite in-state player, but he also represents a position of need for the Tigers as an offensive tackle. As a 4-0 student, Tillery puts academics above football and that is one reason why he committed to Notre Dame early on and is still officially committed to the Irish. However, LSU has made up a lot of ground, and I know for a fact that Tillery’s family would very much like to see him go to LSU. Tillery was accompanied by his parents and his Godmother for last week’s official visit to LSU, and they had a great time. The good news is Tillery will be back for the Bama game, and the more times he steps on campus, the better I feel about LSU flipping him.
ATH, 5'11", 175, Riverdale, No. 7 on our list of Top LA Prospects
Jackson is one of the top corners in the country and also a great kick and punt returner. As of now, it appears that he is legitimately torn between Georgia and LSU, and this one could go down to the wire. Donte was on campus for the Kentucky game, came back for the Ole Miss game and will be back for Bama and for an official visit in December. The word is he’s developed quite a bond with Leonard Fournette and that has to be a good thing. My gut tells me he ends up a Tiger.
WR, 5'11", 206, Destrehan, No. 8 on our list of Top LA Prospectsâ€¨
Merrit is a super athlete who plays wide receiver for Destrahan but could be a wide receiver or running back at the next level. Very explosive athlete who is dangerous anytime he has the ball. His leaders are considered to be LSU, Texas A&M and Oregon, and he’ll be taking an official visit to see the Ducks this weekend. At this point its difficult to get a feel for where he’s leaning.
â€¨CB, 6'0", 175, East Jefferson, No. 15 on our list of Top LA Prospects
Raymond is expected to announce his school of choice tonight after his game. Raymond visited LSU for the Ole Miss game and is very familiar with the LSU program, as his brother, Derrick Raymond, played at LSU for two seasons before transferring to Southeastern Louisiana. Deshawn’s leaders appear to be LSU, Mississippi State, TCU, Arkansas and Nebraska. At this point, my gut tells me he won’t pick LSU tonight, but in the crazy game of recruiting you never know. As soon as his announcement is made public tonight, I’ll tweet the news to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
LB, 6'2", 215, Mesquite, TX
At the SPARQ combine, Jefferson ran a 4.39 forty, and his speed/size combination make him an elite pass rusher. At one point I would have considered him a long shot for LSU, but Coach John Chavis has done an outstanding job of recruiting him and convincing him that he could see the field early at LSU. The word is that his mother doesn’t want him to leave Texas, and for that reason Texas is still considered his leader, but that could change if LSU gets him on campus for an official. As the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas, Jefferson would be a huge get for LSU.
DE, 6'4", 288, Nashville, TN
For a while it looked pretty certain that Phillips would stay close to home and play for Vanderbilt or Tennessee, but LSU really made a big impression on Phillips last weekend while he was there on an official visit. After the game, Phillips tweeted, “LSU might have the best game atmosphere in college football” and “Baton Rouge is perfect.” Defensive end is a huge position of need for LSU, and the staff did a great job of letting Phillips know that. Don’t look for a decision to come from Phillips anytime soon as he still has three official visits to take and one of them will be to Alabama.
LB, 6'3", 230, Lawrenceville, GA
Thomas originally committed to Florida but recently de-committed and stated that he is strongly considering LSU and Alabama along with the Gators. LSU will have a coach or two at his high school game tonight to show him what a priority he is. Thomas is expected to visit LSU on December 5th.
WR, 6’2.5", 190, Cedar Hills, TX
Lodge, a 5-star wide receiver who catches everything thrown his way, is a teammate of LSU quarterback commit Justin McMillan and the two are said to have had a great time last weekend at LSU. At this point Baylor still appears to be Lodge’s leader, though McMilan has stated that it is a priority of his to make Lodge a Tiger.
DT, 6'5", 320, Millen, GA
Taylor is an interesting prospect that a lot of you have asked me about. In 2012, Taylor signed with Georgia and redshirted his freshman year, Last year he played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman and his future at Georgia looked bright, but then he was dismissed from the program in July after being arrested on an aggravated assault/family violence charge. (He allegedly assaulted his girlfriend during a domestic dispute.) The incident marked Taylor’s second run-in with the law this year. The latest word is the Taylor has been talking to Auburn, Louisville and LSU, and there are reports that he unofficially visited LSU last month. There’s no doubt that LSU could use an experienced DT who could step in and quickly shore up the defensive line, but unless he’s found innocent of the recent allegations, I don’t think Taylor is the one.
Moving on… even though LSU does not play this weekend, I’ll still give you my weekly predictions for this week’s SEC games and a few in-state contests. Last week I went 8-3, straight up, and on the season my record is 81-25 (.764). Here we go…
Georgia 31 Florida 14
Kentucky 30 Missouri 24
Ole Miss 35 Auburn 28
Mississippi State 35 Arkansas 17
South Carolina 34 Tennessee 24
Vanderbilt 35 Old Dominion 28
Texas A&M 51 UL-Monroe 20
UL-Lafayette 38 South Alabama 28
LA Tech 38 Western Kentucky 30
Northwestern State 35 McNeese State 33
Tulane 28 Cincinnati 34
Before I forget, here’s a great article by Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Marx on the incredible experience LSU wide receiver Trey Quinn had after last week’s big win. If you haven’t seen it yet, please give it a quick read. It’s called, “Quinn Went Crowd Surfing. And It Was Terrific.”
In tomorrow’s report, we’ll begin a brief two part preview of LSU’s 2014-15 basketball team.
And speaking of basketball, yesterday I learned that LSU will "televise" 12 basketball games on SEC Network Plus, which is a digital (online) offering of the SEC Network. Nine women's games will be presented, starting with the exhibition game against Loyola on Nov. 5 Other women's games are Mississippi College (exhibition), Nov. 9; UALR, Nov. 14; Sam Houston State, Nov. 15; Jackson State, Nov 17; Tulane, Nov. 19; Rutgers, Nov. 22; Southeastern Louisiana, Dec. 14; and Georgia, Feb 19. Men's games are Morehouse (exhibition), Nov. 7; Nov. 15, Gardner-Webb (exhibition); and McNeese, Nov. 29. I’m hearing that Lyn Rollins will be doing the play-by-play, and I think that’s great. It’s also my understanding that virtually all home baseball and softball games that aren't televised will be available digitally on SEC Network Plus, which can be accessed from the SECNetwork.com website, from ESPN3.com, or via the WatchESPN app.
Last but not least, I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.
Reader Comments: Hey Scott, here is a great morning read about former Tiger Jarvis Landry being named an AFC player of the month and how the LSU Trio from last season is holding their own in the NFL.
10/30/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In just a bit we’ll get to our normal order of business by recapping last night’s Les Miles show, but first I need to do something I should have done yesterday – that is, recognize a couple of Tigers for the honors they received this week. The two are Kendell Beckwith, who was honored as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, and Leonard Fournette, who was honored as Freshman of the week.
Beckwith led the team and shattered his career high with 10 tackles in LSU’s 10-7 win over No. 3 Ole Miss. He also had one tackle for a loss and added one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in LSU’s outstanding defensive performance. Perhaps his most significant play of the game came on a 4th-and-1 at the LSU 47-yard line when he made a key tackle to stop Ole Miss’ ensuing drive after LSU took the lead late in the fourth quarter. It took a little longer than many of us expected for Beckwith to obtain the starting role at middle linebacker, but it sure hasn’t taken long to see what a difference maker he’s been in that role.
As for Fournette, he rushed for 113 yards on 23 carries, added two receptions for 41 yards and returned two kickoffs for 57 yards to finish with 211 all-purpose yards against the Rebels. The 100+ rushing performance was his third of the season, and the 200+ all-purpose outing was his second. Fournette led the Tigers in what was clearly one of their most impressive rushing performances in quite some time, as the Tigers tallied 264 yards on the ground against an Ole Miss defense that entered the game only allowing 97 rushing yards per game. It’s also worth noting that Fournette has rolled up 1,209 all-purpose yards on the season, which places him 30th amongst all players in the NCAA. He is one of only three freshman in this category’s top-50, and he’s the highest ranking freshman on the list in the SEC. It’s amazing to think that despite such huge numbers put up by Fournette, he still hasn’t lived up to the expectations of many due to the unprecedented, and dare I say unfair, hype that surrounded his entrance into college football. Fournette will only get better from here on out, and I expect a big game from him next week against Bama.
Now let’s move on to the Les Miles show….
The first caller of the night was Rickey from Birmingham who expressed his sympathy to Coach Miles for the loss of his mother and commended LSU for making a Land Shark defense look like a fish out of water. He then asked about the false start penalty called against LSU late in the game. Miles said they reviewed the play and that it was the right call.
The next caller, Jim, mentioned that pass interference should have been called a couple of times against Trey Quinn and asked whether the staff teaches the receivers to sell the call. Miles said he doesn’t think the refs buy those things too much, but agreed that several of Ole Miss’ “well covered” plays were assisted by a shirt tug.
Sadie from Denton, Texas asked about the Tigers’ schedule this week. Miles said the team took Monday off to focus on academics, then had a nice practice Tuesday and yesterday. Tomorrow they’ll “do a little more Bama work” and on Friday they’ll lift and run. The team will take Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday off. Sadie then asked Coach Miles what his favorite play was in Saturday’s win. Miles named the faked handoff and touchdown pass to tight end Logan Stokes and then added that he also really enjoyed Ronald Martin’s interception to seal the victory.
Robbie from Baton Rouge asked which players Coach Miles has coached at LSU who have really put a smile on his face. Miles said there have been several, and named Jacob Hester, Tyson Jackson, Chad Jones, Joseph Addai, Trindon Holliday, Rueben Randle, and Steven Ridley as examples.
Jason from the live audience called to say that when the playoff committee announced Ole Miss at No. 4 he almost choked on his corndog. He then asked Coach Miles how he balances family life with coaching. Miles said it’s very difficult and there’s no recipe for it, but that he is fortunate to have a great partner, his wife. He added that at yesterday’s practice he had two daughters, a son on crutches, and his wife stop by.
Also from the live audience, the Evil Twin asked Coach Miles what he attributes the improvement of the defense to. Miles was quick to give credit to his coaching staff, and said the players have a daily ritual and have been committed to getting better each day a little bit at a time.
Back to the phone lines, Steve from Alexandria asked about the status of Terrence Magee. Miles said that in every game Magee gives everything he has and leaves pretty worn out, but that he’s fine. Magee will be given a bit of time off this week to fully recover, but if there was a game to be played this Saturday he would be ready.
Don from West Monroe commended Coach Miles and his staff for a “masterpiece of a coaching job” last week and said the score wasn’t indicative of how badly LSU beat Ole Miss. Miles credited his staff and players and said they had one more fan in heaven operating on their behalf.
Jude from Baton Rouge asked whether any attention is being paid to Jennings locking-in on his receivers. Miles said that’s something they always work on and that there has been improvement. He added that both quarterbacks continue to get better a little at a time.
I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written much about recruiting, so tomorrow we’ll take a look at where the Tigers stand and some of the top targets on LSU’s board. As they say, stay tuned. Oh, and I’ll also give you my weekly predictions.
Tidbits in closing:
• I’d like to remind all of participating in our Louisiana High School Football Pickem that the deadline for making this week’s picks is today at 5 p.m.
• I’ll be updating our ticket exchange page later today, so if you have tickets for sale, please email me the info for posting.
Reader Comments: Scott, you mentioned the injustice of LSU being ranked No. 19 in the CFPC rankings and I agree 100%. Thought your readers might like to see these BCS Proxy Rankings (for an indication of where LSU would be if we still used the BCS formula), and this writeup by CollegeFootballNews.com who calls LSU’s ranking “absolutely absurd.”
Reader Comments: Hey Scott, because this story won't get old for the next week or so, here is another breakdown with fan pictures of LSU's victory over Ole Miss.
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