NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
7/27/14 6:05 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Coach Les Miles and his staff concluded its elite football camp yesterday and by all indications it was a big success. As was the case last year, LSU didn’t pickup any commitments during the camp (at least none that have been made public), but I don’t find that concerning or surprising. Usually the benefits of a camp of this magnitude are not immediately seen, at least not from the outside, but if you were to attend the camp and see the level and amount of talent in attendance, for this year’s class and for well beyond, there’s no way you would leave without feeling good about the future of LSU football.
After extending one offer Friday to 2016 tight end Jamal Pettigrew (6-6, 218, St. Augustine), LSU reportedly extended offers yesterday to 2016 defensive tackle Kendell Jones (6-4.5, 315, Killeen, TX) and JUCO cornerback Justin Martin (6-2, 179, Nashville, TN). Interestingly, I didn’t hear of any new offers being extended to Class of 2015 prep prospects during the camp, although there were a few in-state prospects who I think did enough to see their stock rise and merit closer attention. I mentioned two such players yesterday (D-linemen Jalen Bates of Kaplan and Oshead Dugas of Northside), and another is linebacker Arthur McGinnis (6'2", 225) of Warren Easton who is currently No. 18 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2015. Look for each of those players to get a closer look throughout the 2014 high school season.
Earlier in the week we took a look at four veteran LSU football players who haven’t received much preseason recognition but should be very significant contributors this year, and today I’ll add another to that group. As a refresher, the first four mentioned were Connor Neighbors, Travin Dural, DeSean Smith and Christian LaCouture. Here we go…
Les Miles turned heads a few months back with a comment he made, saying his defensive end tandem of Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter might be the best he’s ever had. With Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery still fresh in the minds of LSU fans, that was a bold statement. Perhaps Miles’ statement should be taken with a grain of salt, but I would’t call it far-fetched. Last year, Hunter and Rasco combined for 113 tackles and 14 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. That was both players’ first season as starters, so naturally, progression is expected, especially from Hunter who started to get into a groove late into a season. You could see towards the Texas A&M game that he was becoming the player his popping veins and muscular build suggested he would be from day one. The growth he showed during the season was remarkable. In the early goings he seemed timid and unable to shed blockers, but by the end of the year he was frequently in the backfield making a name for himself. Imagine the growth of Hunter after spending a full spring and summer with John Chavis and company. I foresee Hunter as a legitimate All-SEC contender, and if he has the kind of year I think he will, the Tigers’ pass rush defense could match the depth and athleticism of its secondary.
With 34 days remaining until Game Day, today we'll take a look at a special Tiger who played at LSU from 1957-59 and wore No. 34 - Johnny Robinson. Robinson played his high school ball at University High and was part of a hometown trio of running backs on the Tigers’ 1958 team championship team, along with Billy Cannon (Istrouma High) and Warren Rabb (Baton Rouge High). Although he was often overshadowed by Cannon, Robinson was an excellent back in his own right. In the 1958 regular season finale against Tulane, the Tigers needed an impressive win to secure the No. 1 spot in the polls, but the Green Wave was doing a great job of containing Cannon and had held him to 41 yards in the first half. Robinson took up the slack and broke loose for four touchdowns in the second half to help lead the Tigers to a 62-0 shutout. All four of Robinson's touchdowns came on plays of 23 yards or more. For his efforts, Robinson was named SEC Back of the Week. Robinson went on to earn All-SEC honors that year, as did Cannon and Rabb. After graduating from LSU, Robinson was selected in the first round of the 1960 AFL draft by the Dallas Texans who later became the Kansas City Chiefs. In the pro ranks, Robinson switched positions from running back to safety and turned out to be one of the best safeties to ever play the game. He is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All-Time Team and the LSU Sports Hall of Fame.
Interestingly, this year’s No. 34 for the Tigers could find himself in a situation similar to Robinson’s in 1958. I’m referring to running back Darrell Williams, a player I believe will be outstanding in his own right although largely overshadowed by a special running back named Leonard Fournette.
One more note on the countdown to game day: I’d like to thank all of you who answered my request for topic suggestions yesterday. A lot of you suggested that I write about LSU’s 34-18 win over Georgia in the 2003 SEC Championship game, but I decided not to since I had already written about it for number 87 when I featured Justin Vincent’s 87-yard run. Still, I appreciate the suggestions. Keep ’em coming!
In closing, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange, and that LSU still has a limited number of tickets currently on sale to the general public for six of the seven home games in 2014. Please see LSUSports.net for more information on purchasing single game tickets.
Reader Comment: Scott, here’s a writeup on Jarvis Landry to share with your readers. Looks like he has impressed, as we Tiger fans knew he would! Rookie WR Landry off to good start with Dolphins
7/26/14 6:05 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I headed out to the LSU football camp yesterday morning and left extremely impressed with Louisiana’s talent for the class of 2016. I’ve got to admit, with 600+ players participating at the camp it’s hard to tell who is who, but after observing for a few minutes it’s not hard at all to spot the big-time prospects. Some of them stand out by their performance in the drills - such as Isaiah Graham (6-1, 180, Bastrop) who really put on a show during the 7-on-7 portion – and others standout even without seeing them play, just by their size and mannerisms. Two that fit into that category are LSU commit Ed Alexander (DT, 6-2, 310, St. Thomas Aquinas) who is still rehabbing his knee and did not participate, and offensive lineman Willie Allen (OT, 6-7.5, 300, John Curtis) who introduced himself to me in the parking lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Allen in action because I missed the linemen drills. I also didn’t get to see much of running back Devin White (6-0.5, 235, North Webster), but what I did see of him was very impressive and I heard he tore it up on Day 1.
Two more 2016 prospects that really stood out and were interesting to observe working side-by-side were quarterbacks Feliepe Franks and Shea Patterson. Franks (6-5, 205, Crawford, FL) is the dual-threat quarterback who committed to LSU in May. Patterson (6-2 , 195, Calvary Baptist of Shreveport) is the Arizona commit who was recently offered by LSU and whose brother recently left Arizona to take a job with LSU. From what I hear, the chance of Patterson flipping to LSU is extremely high, and if he does, it will be interesting to see whether that affects Frank’s commitment. I enjoyed watching those two quarterbacks (and others) throw the ball, and I especially liked watching Offensive Coordinator Coach Cam Cameron interact with them during the drills. I’ve posted a brief video of Coach Cam coaching up the quarterback prospects during the passing drills. (Franks is the QB on the far right, and Patterson is next to him in the green shorts.) One more tid-bit about those QBs: According to this “bolt” by 247Sports, Coach Cameron used a radar gun to clock all the quarterbacks’ throwing velocity and Franks’ was the highest at 57 mph.
We all know that Louisiana’s 2014 class was something special, but it became clear to me yesterday that the 2016 class is every bit as good or better, and that’s saying a lot.
As for 2015 prospects, LSU defensive back target Donte Jackson (5-11, 175, Riverdale, No. 9 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2015) looked as good as advertised, maybe better. From what I understand, LSU feels confident about reeling him in, but so does Georgia. In the linemen drills (which I didn’t witness), I hear that LSU commit Adrian Magee (OT, 6-5, 315, Franklinton, No. 6 on our list) was once again very impressive, as were North Carolina commit William Sweet (OT, 6-5, 275, Jacksonville, FL) and Tyler Higby (6-4, 286, Houston). Two in-state 2015 linemen who don’t yet hold an LSU offer but were said to be impressive were Jalen Bates (DE, 6-5, 235, Kaplan, No. 20 on our list) and Oshea Dugas (DT, 6-5, 300, Northside, No. 21 on our list).
As for new offers extended, the only one I’ve heard of was to 2016 tight end Jamal Pettigrew (6-6, 218, St. Augustine) who also was outstanding at the camp. The camp continues through today and I would expect a few more offers to be extended to prospects on their way out.
In other news, Major General (ret.) Ron Richard, head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) for the last 13 years, has stepped down from his post and has been replaced by Rick Perry who was serving as the organization’s senior vice president. General Richard did an outstanding job as TAF President and played a huge role in the completion of several big projects during his tenure, including the construction of the Cox Communication Center for Student Athletes and LSU’s Football Operations Center. I know I speak for many of you when I extend a Tiger salute to General Richard and thank him for his service.
We’ll close out today’s update with our countdown to game day in just a bit, but first a couple of tid-bits to pass along:
• Here’s a good article about LSU basketball commit Ben Simmons which states that he is still solid to the Tigers after an explosive summer.
• LSU picked up a 2016 baseball commitment yesterday from Ouachita Christian junior shortstop Jake Slaughter.
With 35 days remaining until LSU kicks off the 2014 football season against Wisconsin, let’s continue our countdown to game day by remembering an interesting win in LSU’s football history - a 35-10 win over Arkansas in 1999. 11 days prior to the game, Coach Gerry DiNardo was fired after dropping a 20-7 decision to the Houston Cougars in Tiger Stadium. LSU entered the game with a 2-8 record and the hot topic of discussion among Tiger Fans was who would be the next coach. Rich Rodriquez, the offensive genius at Tulane in 1998 when the Greenies finished 12-0, was one of the favorites. Mark Richt, the Florida State Offensive Coordinator was another. Tiger fans were in for a big surprise the following week. With all the speculation surrounding who would be the next coach, the Tigers still had to play a game and the Arkansas Razorbacks presented a formidable challenge for the Tigers and interim head coach Hal Hunter. The Hogs entered the game as a 12-point favorite and were primed for a romp. After Arkansas took an early 3-0 lead, LSU backup quarterback Rohan Davey took over for an ineffective Josh Booty and inspired the Tigers. LSU quickly piled on touchdowns, one of which came on a play when fullback Tommy Banks took out two Razorbacks on a block and Domanick Davis scooted into the end-zone. This game was played on national television and demonstrated the potential that LSU offered an incoming coach. The boos that permeated Tiger Stadium earlier in the season were non-existent on this day as the Tigers took back the boot and proved that they had something to build upon for whichever new coach would take the reins. The following week, LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert pulled a coup with the signing of Nick Saban and LSU would enter the new millennium with excitement abounding for the future of LSU football. (I’d like to thank longtime reader Charlie Duncan for helping with this information. If anyone would like to suggest ideas for numbers 34, 33, 30 and 29, please let me know. )
7/25/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
By the time most of you are reading this I’ll be on my way to Baton Rouge to check out the elite football camp which got underway yesterday. Based on everything I’ve read and heard about Day 1 of the camp, the amount of talent out there is nothing short of spectacular.
A few players who really turned heads were LSU commits Derrius Guice, Dylan Moses and David Ducre who were clocked at blazing speeds in the 40-yard dash. Guice (RB, 5-11, 219, Catholic of Baton Rouge, Class of 2015) ran it in 4.32, while Moses (6-2, 220, LB/RB, University High, Class of 2017) ran it in 4.39. Perhaps even more impressive was fullback David Ducre’s time of 4.41, considering the Mandeville native (Lakeshore High, Class of 2015) tips the scale at nearly 240 pounds. If Guice, Ducré and fellow in-state running back commit Nick Brossette (RB, 6'0", 210, University High, Class of 2015) stick to their commitments and end up signing with LSU in February, can you imagine the level of talent LSU could have in its 2015 backfield with Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams as sophomores, and Guice, Brosette and Ducre as freshmen?
As for other standouts, class of 2016 wide receiver Dee Anderson (6-4, 175, Mesquite, TX) is reported to have been one of the day’s top performers. He, along with fellow 2016 prospects Shyheim Carter (DB, 5-11, 185) of Kentwood and Joshua Perry (S, 6-2, 184) of Amite received LSU offers. As far as I know, no new offers were extended to Class of 2015 prospects, although I would expect a few to be extended offers today. â€¨
Today we’ll continue our series on LSU veteran football players who have kind of flown under the radar or have been lost in the hype surrounding the stellar class of incoming freshmen. The topic of today’s discussion is someone who will have a lot to say about LSU’s success in the season opener against a run-heavy Wisconsin team. Here we go…
There are two positions with uncertainties that could make or break LSU’s season. Of course, the first is quarterback. Will LSU have a quarterback that can manage the game, make key passes when needed and limit turnovers? The other is defensive tackle. Will the young Tiger DTs have enough talent and depth to make up for the loss of starters Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, can they stop vicious running schemes in the SEC, and are there any superstars who can ignite the defense upfront? Christian LaCouture can’t answer all of those questions, but he can be the face of the position and assert his dominance early. Of all the big-time Class of 2013 defensive line recruits LSU signed, it was LaCouture who stood out most as a reserve last season with 11 tackles and one sack in limited action. With both of last year’s starters gone, it’s safe to say that LaCouture will be called on to step up big, and he’ll be tested from the get-go against the powerful running game of Wisconsin. If LaCouture is up to the challenge, as I predict he is, then look for him to become a fan favorite very quickly.
With 36 days remaining until LSU’s season opener, today we’ll continue our countdown to game day by looking at a special player who wore No. 36 – J.W. Brodnax. “Red,” as Brodnax was commonly known, was a tremendous athlete who lettered at LSU from 1956-58 and was MVP of the Tigers’ 1958 National Championship Team. He played his high school ball at Bastrop High where he was an outstanding all-around athlete who made All-State as a running back in football and as a pitcher in baseball. He was also a member of the state championship mile relay track team. Brodnax arrived at LSU as a tailback, but was moved to the less glamorous fullback position in his sophomore year because Coach Paul Dietzel also had Billy Cannon and Johnny Robinson and wanted to utilize all three backs in the Wing-T formation. Red turned out to be a great fullback and his outstanding blocking was a significant factor in the success of Cannon and Robinson. After his days at LSU, Red went on to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, and in the Canadian Football League. Tragically, Brodnax was fatally struck by a van while riding his bicycle in Morgan City in March of 2006.
On a related note, I hope that some of my older readers may be able to help out with a request from Brodnax’s daughter, which I’ve included in the reader comment below.
Reader Comments: Scott: Most of your readers are familiar with the name J.W. "Red" Brodnax. Many will never forget the Brodnax/Cannon duo. J.W.'s oldest child, Debbie, is a clerk at the Ruston Post Office. Today she asked me if I had a Gumbo (LSU yearbook) from her father's years and I told her I did not but that I would try to find one for her. She said as a child they used to look at pictures of her father, but now none exist. So, if any reader has a Gumbo with J.W.'s picture in it and would like to gift it to Debbie, they can mail it to her at the U.S. Post Office, 700 East Georgia, Ruston, LA. 71273 or they can mail it to me, Tom Carey, P.O. Box 217, Ruston, LA 71273 and I will get it/them to her. Thank you for your time and help. I know she will be very grateful.
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