7/23/16 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU held Day 2 of its Elite Camp yesterday and I had the pleasure of watching a couple hours of it. With so many kids working out at various stations, it’s not always easy to tell who is who or find the prospects you’re looking for, but there are always a few prospects who stand out from the crowd. In today’s report, I’ll list a few Tiger targets and commitments who caught my eye during the brief time that I was there, as well as a few other tidbits from the camp. But first, there’s this news to report:
Last night, LSU picked up a commitment for the Class of 2019 and he’s a mighty big boy – offensive lineman Kardell Thomas of Southern Lab. Get this: He’s 6-foot-4 and weighs 320-pounds and hasn’t even begun his sophomore year in high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see him in the brief time I was at camp yesterday, but I sure wish I would have. Based on these video highlights, he’s quite a force to be reckoned with. Thomas joins cornerbacks Maurice Hampton of Memphis and Derek Stingley of Baton Rouge to give LSU three early commits for the 2019 class.
Now for those Elite Camp notes and observations:
• 2017 defensive end prospect Alec Jackson (6-5, 270) of Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama caught my eye early on with his impressive size (see photo) and a long jump of 88.5 inches, which is outstanding for someone who weighs 270 pounds. I was told by a source close to Jackson that he’s had an LSU offer since April and he likes LSU, but he also likes a lot of other schools and is just exploring his options at this time. Whoever ends up getting this young man will have a heck of a prospect.
• Running back Travis Etienne (5-11, 199) of Jennings has a reputation for excelling in camp settings where he consistently scores high in all the testing. He lived up to that reputation yesterday by registering a 36-inch vertical jump (see photo), and a 99-inch long jump. Currently committed to Texas A&M, Etienne doesn’t yet hold an LSU offer and it appears that his only drawback may be his size. He looks a bit smaller than his indicted height and weight and doesn’t have the type of frame that suggests he could bulk up quickly. Still, he’s a baller, and I get the feeling that he could be in LSU’s backup plan at running back should things not work out with Cam Akers of Clinton, MS.
• With linebacker being a big position of need for LSU, I was hoping to check out Will Ingot, the LB from New Market, Alabama, who I mentioned recently, and Ladarius Fagan, the LB from Miami, Florida, who is rumored to be on the verge of committing. I did see Fagan very briefly, but I did not see Ingot while there. From what I understand, he arrived after I left. One 2017 linebacker who did catch my eye with an impressive performance was Hammond’s Davion May (6-2, 215). I was told that he also stood out at LSU’s 7-on-7 camp last week and is one to watch. Another to keep on your radar is a kid by the name of Monty Rice (6-1, 227) of Madison, Alabama who I hear was very impressive in Day 1 of the camp.
• An in-state cornerback who caught my eye was Amik Robertson (5-9, 175) of Thibodaux. He’s a little undersized but won almost every one of his repetitions when going up against the camp’s top receiver talent. He also ran a blazing hot 4.43 forty. Robertson holds double-digit offers but doesn’t yet have one from LSU, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see one come his way soon.
• As for Class of 2018 targets, wide receiver Kenan Jones (6-3, 205, see photo) of Berwick High, who received an LSU offer in Day 1 of the camp, was quite impressive and looks like a great get for the Tigers. He had Coach Dameyune Craig’s attention almost the entire time I was there and is obviously someone LSU wants badly. Tight end Glenn Beal of John Curtis (6-4, 255) is also someone who had the staff’s attention and looks like the prototypical blocking tight end Les Miles “enjoys” having on his teams. One of the most impressive of all the 2018 targets was quarterback Jack Tuttle (6-4, 190, see photo) of San Marcos, CA. He’s got a rocket for an arm and exudes confidence.
• As for players currently committed to LSU for 2017, I was quite impressed with wide receiver Mannie Netherly (6-2, 183) of Crosby, Texas (check out his moves in this video to see why), and offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles (6-5, 314) of Madison, Mississippi. In this pic, you can see just how big Charles is as he’s standing next to offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. And, though I didn’t see it, I heard that athlete Patrick Queen (6-1, 218) of Livonia put on a show and ran the forty in 4.49.
• One more note from the camp that has nothing to do with recruits: I saw LSU freshman tight end Foster Moreau talking on the sidelines to LSU quarterback Danny Etling. (See pic.) Both are great looking players, but I was really surprised by how big and well built Moreau is. I get the feeling he could see the field early and will be a heck of a player before his time as a Tiger is up.
While LSU did not pick up any commitments for 2017 yesterday, one or more will likely be coming very soon. I’m still on the lookout for LB Ladarius Fagan to commit in the near future (possibly before leaving camp today) and two big LSU targets are announcing their schools of choice Sunday. One is cornerback Kary Vincent (5-11, 170) of Port Arthur, Texas, who will be making his decision at about 7 pm CT tomorrow. I’ve been told that LSU is very confident in him being a Tiger. The other is Isaiah Buggs (6-5 280, MGCCC), the No. 1 JUCO defensive end in the country. The word is that his decision is expected on Sunday as well. Buggs was once believed to be leaning to LSU, but the timing of his announcement, combined with the fact that he was at Auburn yesterday, makes me a little suspicious.
Moving on… It’s hard to believe that in just six weeks (42 days) it will be LSU Game Day, and with that in mind let’s close out today’s report with our countdown and look at an All-American Tiger who wore No. 42 - Jimmy Taylor. Taylor came to LSU from Baton Rouge High where he excelled in both football and basketball and was the first player selected to play in All-America games in both sports. At LSU, Taylor played fullback and was named an All-American in 1957. His final game as a Tiger, a 25-6 victory over Tulane, marked the start of a 22-game winning streak for the Tigers. That game came after Paul Dietzel’s team had suffered four consecutive losses, scoring a total of only five touchdowns in the four contests. The Tigers needed a victory over their in-state rival to salvage a .500 record after two consecutive losing seasons. It was a critical juncture for Dietzel, and Taylor came to his rescue by rushing for 171 yards, the second highest total in the school’s history at that time, including touchdown runs of 48 and 32 yards in a 25-6 victory that set the stage for a national championship season a year later. The big performance also set the stage for a brilliant pro career for Taylor who was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1958 NFL Draft as the 15th overall pick. Taylor went on to eight very successful seasons with the Packers and was a six-time All-Pro selection and a member of the winning team in Super Bowl I on January 15, 1967, when the Packers defeated the Chiefs 35-10. In 1967, Taylor played a season with the expansion New Orleans Saints and then retired from pro football. In 1974, Taylor was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and two years later he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
That’s it for today. If any news breaks from the football camp, I’ll try to tweet it as soon as I can, although that might not be until later tonight after my lines are all baited. Wish me luck.