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12/19/14 5:50 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about the “baker’s dozen” of LSU football recruiting targets I posted. As I stated, the list was far from being all-inclusive, but was simply a list of names I had been hearing a lot about lately. Yesterday I received news on a few prospects I didn’t include on the list, including tight end Foster Moreau (TE, 6'4", 225, Jesuit) who received an LSU offer Wednesday night. Foster currently holds offers from all of the in-state schools, as well as Mississippi State, Army and Air Force, and is scheduled to take an official visit to LSU on January 16th (the first weekend for visits after the dead period). Other players who will be visiting that weekend that I didn’t mention in my previous report are linebackers Leo Lewis (6’3”, 225, Brookhaven, MS) and Sh’mar Kilby-Lane (6’2”, 215, Hallandale, FL), defensive end Arden Key (6’5”, 230, Atlanta) and tight end Devonaire Clarington (6’5, 225, Miami, FL). That could end up being a big weekend for the Tigers, but the following weekend could be even more important for LSU when top in-state targets Tyron Johnson and Donte Jackson (Numbers 1 and 7 on our list of Top LA Prospects) take their official visits to LSU. (Interesting side-note: Donte Jackson tweeted yesterday that he will announce his school of choice on January 21st, which is two days before his official visit to LSU.) Jackson and Johnson will be joined on their official visit by the top JUCO cornerback in the nation, Justin Martin.

Speaking of top JUCO prospects, a lot of you asked me if I’d heard anything lately about the JUCO quarterback I mentioned a while back - Jake Hubenak of Blinn Junior College – and my answer is no. It appears that LSU is content to move forward with the quarterbacks they have returning and with Justin McMillan in this year’s class. One reason for this could be that LSU is in good shape to sign two of the top quarterbacks in the country next year in Feliepe Franks (an LSU commit) and Shea Patterson of Calvary Baptist of Shreveport, and perhaps they don’t want to jeopardize their standing with those two.

In other football news, according to Rand Getlin of  Yahoo Sports, multiple sources are reporting that LSU’s Danielle Hunter is very likely to return to LSU for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft. If this turns out to be true, that would be huge news for the Tigers. If Hunter stays, LSU would return every member of its two-deep defensive line except for  senior Jermauria Rasco. 

Turning to men’s basketball news, the Tigers started slowly but scratched and clawed their way back to post a 79-70 road victory over UAB and improved to 8-2 on the season. LSU trailed 19-8 with less than 13 minutes remaining in the first half, but then went on a 25-17 run to pull within three, 33-36, before UAB made a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound to lead 39-33 at the break. LSU scored six unanswered points to tie the game at 39 early in the second half, but then UAB regained the lead with three free throws (two from a Johnny Jones technical) before the Tigers pieced together a 26-13 run to lead 65-55 with 8:37 remaining. After UAB made a jumper, layup and a three-pointer to cut the lead to three with under seven minutes remaining, Jordan Mickey made a layup, Keith Hornsby made two free throws and a layup, Jarell Martin dunked and Mickey made another layup to give the Tigers an insurmountable 75-65 lead with 1:39 remaining. Hornsby and Tim Quarterman combined for five free throws in the final minute to give LSU the 79-70 win.

Considering that LSU played the game on the road without starting point guard Josh Gray who is out with a sprained ankle, it was a very good win for the Tigers. LSU was able to stay in the game in the last eight minutes of the first half with Jarell Martin in foul trouble, as Hornsby, Mickey and Patterson combined for 15 points during that timeframe. Patterson’s performance was further proof that the Tigers’ bench can produce when called upon, just as Brian Bridgewater showed against McNeese State a few weeks ago. LSU stayed in the game and ultimately won by demonstrating great resilience, and by shooting extremely well from the free throw line and in 3-point range. With that said, LSU must improve its defense with ball pressure and prevent opponents from grabbing offensive rebounds and getting so many second chance points. 

Martin had a big night and led the Tigers in scoring with 25 points and six rebounds. Hornsby also had a big night and scored a career high 24 points, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Although he struggled from the field (4-12 FG), Jordan Mickey finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and had all seven of LSU’s blocks. Jalyn Patterson came off the bench to add 11 points, three assists and zero turnovers in a career-high 33 minutes, while Quarterman added six points and dished out a team-high eight assists. LSU shot 45.9% from the field (28-61), 50% from the 3-point line (7-14) and a very impressive 88.9% from the free-throw line (16-18) while holding UAB to 44.6% shooting from the field (29-65). For the second straight game, the Tigers were out-rebounded 34-36; however, LSU forced 14 turnovers while only committing 10.

For those interested in the RPI rankings, LSU had moved up to #13 before last night’s game, which is third in the SEC behind UK’s #1 rating and Arkansas’ #10 rating.

The Tigers return to action Monday at 8 pm against for their first of three straight non-conference home games when they play Charleston. The game will be telecast on the SEC Network and the radio broadcast will be available on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.

The LSU’s women’s basketball team will try to return to the win column tonight when they wrap up their two-game California road trip at UC Santa Barbara. Tip time is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CT from the Thunderdome, and the game will not carried on television. The Lady Tigers have been struggling, but they should come out victorious tonight against a UC Santa Barbara team that is 0-9 on the season. If they don’t, well, let’s not even go there.  

A couple of tid-bits in closing: 

I want to remind you that I'm working on my list of Louisiana’s top prospects for the class of 2016. If there’s a Division 1 prospect from Louisiana whom you would like to suggest for the list, please let me know. I would especially like to hear from LA high school football coaches who have top prospects on their teams. Stats and video links are encouraged and appreciated.

• I updated our Ticket Exchange last night. If you have tickets to the upcoming Music City Bowl that you would like to sell, let me know and I’ll post them.

Last but not least, if you appreciate staying informed on LSU sports via these “Daily Doses of Tiger News,” please do you part to ensure this site’s future by donating to our fundraiser. Please click here to find out how and why.

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12/18/14 5:50 am CST

DandyDon.com can’t do it without you!
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

First of all, it was great hearing from many of you yesterday about the 18th anniversary of this website. It’s great to know that so many of you have been following since the early days and still enjoying the site. Several of you asked if I could post the first Dandy Don report published back on this date in 1996. Unfortunately, I cannot. Due to a hard-drive failure several years back, I lost my early archives, and that makes me sick. The oldest reports I have are from 1998, but I have nothing from the first 23 months. Back in those days, a small percentage of people had personal computers and many of you would print out the daily reports and share them with friends or family. If any of you just so happen to have still have a hardcopy of one of those early reports from 1996 or 1997, back when the site was on a purple background, I would love to have a copy!

Now, before going any further, you’ve just got to check out this new LSU-Notre Dame Hype Trailer by LesMiles.net. The video is exceptionally well done, and considering that its been three weeks since LSU has played a football game, it’s sure to get your blood flowing.

In recruiting news, defensive back Jeremy Cutrer signed with LSU yesterday on the first day of the JUCO early signing period. As many of you will recall, Cutrer committed to LSU back in February of 2012 and was set to be a member of the 2013 class, but didn’t qualify academically. Cutrer ended up going to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he really excelled, and LSU’s staff kept an eye on him the whole time. Now Cutrer is set to enroll at LSU and participate in spring ball, and that’s great news for a Tiger defense that could lose as many as four defensive backs who have played big roles. Safety/nickelback Jalen Mills and cornerback Jalen Collins are draft-eligible juniors, and safety Ronald Martin is a senior. Cornerback Rashard Robinson has been indefinitely suspended (presumably for reasons related to academics) and his future is uncertain. Another early enrollee from this year’s class who will challenge for immediate playing time in the defensive backfield is five-star cornerback Kevin Toliver. With newcomers Cutrer and Toliver and returning veterans like Tradavious White, Jamal Adams, Rickey Jefferson, Devin Voorhies and others, LSU’s defensive backfield should remain strong regardless of what happens with the NFL draft.

As promised, today we’ll talk a little more about recruiting and I’ll give you a baker’s dozen of prospects on LSU’s radar. This year’s recruiting class hasn’t generated as much excitement as last year’s, mainly because last year there were so many high-profile in-state kids who were considering LSU and preparing to make their announcements on national TV during all-star games. This year, six of the top-10 prospects on our list of Top LA Prospects have already committed to LSU, and two others – WR Tyron Johnson (No. 1) and ATH Donte Jackson (No. 7) – are considered leans to LSU. The other two top-10 players are OT Jerry Tillery (committed to Notre Dame) and WR Kirk Merritt (leaning to A&M). For the first time in a while, LSU and Alabama are not engaged in any battles for players in our Top-10, although No. 11, WR Daylon Charlot, is currently committed to the Crimson Tide. However, LSU is still in the thick of things for Charlot and a flip is certainly possible. 

LSU’s recruiting class is currently ranked 17th in the nation, but that’s mainly because the Tigers only have 15 commitments. I’ve been asked by many if I’m concerned with LSU having so few commitments at this time, and my answer is not really. Last year at this time, LSU didn’t get its 16th commitment until December 17th (Clifton Garrett) and we all know how strong the 2014 class finished. While this class may be lacking a bit in quantity, it is not lacking in quality. LSU currently has commitments from three five-star prospects (according to Rivals’ rankings), Kevin Toliver, Derrius Guice, and Maea Teuhema, and is in the mix for several others like Tyron Johnson, Martez Ivey and DeMarkus Lodge. If this class finishes as I think it will, LSU will likely end up with a top-5 to 10 class, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. 

Below are a baker’s dozen prospects still on LSU’s board. This list is by no means all-inclusive. It simply represents the names I’ve been hearing the most lately.

Louisiana Prospects 
(The number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking on our list of Top LA Prospects.)

Tyron Johnson 
(WR, 6'1", 185, Warren Easton, No. 1)
LSU’s biggest in-state target, has LSU in top-3 along with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Will take official visit to LSU on Jan. 23.

Donte Jackson
(ATH, 5'11", 175, Riverdale, No. 7)
Could play on either side of ball, but is being recruited as CB and return specialist by LSU. Will take official visit to LSU on Jan. 23.

Daylon Charlot
(WR, 6'1", 182, Patterson, No. 11)
Recently has great visit to LSU and there were reports that he recommitted to Alabama, but he told Coach Saban otherwise the following day. Appears to be a very heated battle between LSU & Alabama.

Derrick Dillon
(ATH, 6'0", 174, Pine, No. 15)
Currently committed to Florida, but was extended an LSU offer a few weeks ago and appears to be giving it serious consideration. Versatile athlete who could play on either side of ball as WR, RB, or DB. 

Oshea Dugas
(OT, 6'5", 300, Northside, No. 22)
LSU has increased contact with Dugas, but still hasn’t extended an offer. It appears that Dugas may be a “backup plan” if LSU misses out on one of their other O-line targets.

Out-of-State Prospects

Justin Martin
(CB, 6'2", 192, NE Oklahoma A&M)
Considered the No. 1 JUCO CB in the nation. Visiting LSU on January 23 but currently appears to be a lean to Tennessee.

Dylan Jackson
(DE, 6'6" 245, Maryville, TN)
Recently decommitted from Tennessee and appears to be leaning to LSU. 

Toby Weathersby 
(OT, 6’4.5" 295, Houston, TX)
Recently decommitted from Texas and is now said to be considering Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU. 

Kyle Phillips
(DE, 6'4", 250, Nashville, TN)
An early enrollee who will announce his decision in the coming days and is expected to choose between Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss.

Ugo Amadi 
(CB, 5-10, 180, Nashville, TN)
Is good friends with Kyle Phillips and is also an early enrollee. The two have expressed interest in playing together, and Amadi is also expected to choose between Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss.

Garrett Taylor
(CB, 6’1”, 195, Richmond, VA)
Currently committed to Penn State, but had an outstanding visit to LSU in early November and a flip to the Tigers is a real possibility. Also considering Ohio State.

Daylon Mack 
(DT, 6’1”, 330, Gladewater, TX)
A 5-star DT considered one of the best in the country. Currently committed to A&M, but will be visiting LSU on January 16. 

Demarkus Lodge
(WR, 6’2”, 190, Cedar Hills, TX)
Teammate and good friend of LSU QB commit Justin McMillan. Ole Miss and Baylor are presumed leaders, but LSU has turned up the heat on this 5-star and is still very much in the picture.

In other football-related news, per a report by CBS reporter Joe Pequeno of KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona, Michigan is offering Jim Harbaugh 49 million for six years to be the team's new coach. If true, this would likely be hard to turn down as it would make Harbaugh not only the highest paid football coach in college football, but the highest paid football coach, period. Nick Saban is currently the highest paid coach in the NCAA at $7.3 million per year, while Sean Payton and Pete Carroll are each making $8 million per year in the NFL.  

In basketball news, LSU (7-2) will be looking to win its second road game against a non-conference opponent tonight when they take on UAB in Birmingham at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by the CBS Sports Network. This could be a challenging contest for LSU as the Tigers are a bit banged up at the guard position. Starting point guard Josh Gray is recovering from a sprained ankle, and backup guard Tim Quarterman missed some practice earlier this week after getting injured in a collision against Sam Houston State. Quarterman is likely to play tonight, although Gray is not. Here’s a good article on LSU needing to get some help ”from all corners” tonight in order to overcome Gray’s absence.

Two closing tidbits: 

• I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange page and there are a few listings for the Music City Bowl. If you have tickets for the game that you’re not using, please let me know and I’ll post the information. 

• I’d like to thank those of you who have already donated to our annual fundraiser. If you have not yet done so and are financially able, please consider making a pledge today. To find out why it’s important, please read this message. Thanks in advance for your support. 

Reader Comments: Scott, here’s an article to post on Delahoussaye and his kicking troubles this season. LSU PK Colby Delahoussaye straightening out his kicking issues 

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, first off happy belated birthday to your late, great father and the website. Here's a great read on former LSU running back Jeremy Hill being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week with some help from another LSU great Andrew Whitworth.

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12/1714 5:50 am CST

DandyDon.com can’t do it without you!
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Today is a special day for DandyDon.com as it marks the 18th anniversary of this site’s inception and the birthday of my late father, Don. When I created this site for my Dad and gave it to him for his birthday on December 17, 1996, neither of us expected that it would ever last this long or have such a big impact on our lives. I give all the credit for DandyDon.com’s success and longevity to my father's strong work ethic and steadfast dedication to keeping Tiger Fans throughout the world informed on our beloved Tigers. I also credit you, the fans, for your relentless passion for LSU sports. It’s truly an honor to keep this site going. With your support, I look forward to dishing out a daily dose of Tiger News for many years to come. To help ensure this site’s future and keep it subscription-free, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser today. There's never been a better time.

It seems only fitting that on such a special day for this site, we have lots of good news to report. So let’s jump right to it…

First, defensive tackle Travonte Valentine tweeted that he has a 2.5 GPA in his first semester at LSU and that it’s time to prepare for spring ball. He concluded the tweet with the hashtag #Unleashed. There’s been no official statement from LSU about Valentine, and it’s hard to know exactly what this means, but it is good to know that he’s making the grades and I’m encouraged by the hashtag. Valentine is the type of talent that could step in and immediately add quality depth, if not start, at defensive tackle. When you consider that Trey Lealaimatafao should be back at full health next season (he’s the young man who cut his arm in the window incident), and that Christian LaCouture, Davon Godchaux, and Quintin Thomas will all return, it appears that LSU’s defensive tackle position, which started out as a big question mark this season, could be the strength of LSU’s defense next season, and that’s exciting.

More good news rolled in yesterday when multiple sources reported that LSU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural will return next season for his junior year. Dural, the team’s leading receiver with 37 receptions for 758 yards and seven touchdowns this season, is draft-eligible since he is three years removed from high school (he redshirted his freshman year), and getting him back should be a big plus for LSU’s struggling passing game. Dural is one of several LSU players with decisions to make about the draft, and hopefully many others will follow his example. Defensive backs Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins, linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Danielle Hunter, guard Vadal Alexander and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins are all draft eligible and said to be considering their options. Because of a new NFL rule, a school can now request draft grades from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee for only five players, and the grades that are given will be either First Round, Second Round or to Return to School.

One player who made the correct choice last year with regard to returning to LSU was offensive tackle La’el Collins, and postseason awards continue to roll in for him. Yesterday, Sports Illustrated named Collins a Second-Team All-American. Collins had already been named to the AP and coaches first team All-SEC teams and won the league's Jacobs Blocking Award for best offensive lineman. Collins is projected to go in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, and he will be greatly missed next year.

With Collins moving on, and with Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins as potential early departures, offensive linemen are obviously a big concern in this year’s recruiting class. While LSU already has commitments from four O-linemen – Adrian Magee, George Brown, Hanner Shipley, and five-star Maea Teuhema – it’s apparent that LSU would like to sign one or two more. Last week the prospect of flipping in-state sensation Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame pretty much died after he signed a grant-in-aid agreement with the Irish and reaffirmed his commitment. And then earlier this week another one of LSU’s O-line targets, William Sweet, reaffirmed his commitment to UNC, leaving many wondering what other O-linemen were still on LSU’s board. Well, a new name has surfaced since Toby Weathersby (OT, 6’4.5" 295) of Houston decommitted from Texas and named Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss as his leaders. Weathersby is a consensus four-star prospect and would be a great get for the Tigers.

In tomorrow’s report, we’ll take a closer look at recruiting and I’ll give you 12 to 15 other prospects on LSU’s board that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately.

Now turning to LSU women’s basketball, this is where today’s feel good report takes a turn. LSU’s Lady Tigers lost to at Long Beach State, 59-44. The Tigers struggled from the get go and trailed 15-0 before ever getting on the scoreboard. With the loss, LSU is now  4-5 on the season. For more on last night’s loss, see this article by LSUSports.net. The Lady Tigers will complete their two-game California road swing and square off with UC Santa Barbara on Friday at 9:30 p.m. CT. 

Now let’s jump back to something positive to close out this report: The LSU men’s basketball spread a little holiday cheer yesterday at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Here’s more on that, as provided by LSU’s Sports Information Department:

LSU MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM MAKES VISIT TO OLOL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team got their singing voices together to brighten the holiday season Wednesday at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

This nearly annual tradition allows the members of the men’s basketball team and Coach Johnny Jones to visit with the young and even youngest patients in the facility along with many of their families.

The players sang Christmas carols and put together their own various interpretations of the classics for each room.

The visit was sponsored as part of the Shaquille O’Neal LSU Life Skills program through the Cox Communications Academic Center for Athletes.

The team presented miniature and full-size autographed basketballs and autographed posters of the 2014-15 men’s basketball team. The team also presented a miniature basketball goal and ball for the children’s play room at the hospital.

“I thought it was really good for our guys to have an opportunity to go to Our Lady of the Lake today and have an opportunity to interact with the kids and the families that are there,” said Coach Jones. “To see the families and the kids with their smiles on their face and our kids to be able to put some joy into their hearts and see the smiles on their faces made a difference. They knew they were making a difference, and that’s what it is all about. I think our guys understand that they are blessed. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to others. I think they were able to see that and share in that today.”

Reader Comments: Scott, it’s probably too early for all this, but ESPN has mentioned Leonard Fournette as a Heisman candidate for 2015. Here’s the article: Early 2015 SEC Heisman Trophy candidates

 

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