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1/26/15 5:40 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With just a little over a week before National Signing Day, I’ve been hearing from an ever-growing number of you who are concerned about whether LSU’s 2015 football recruiting class will meet team needs. Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know that I believe what makes a recruiting class successful is not how highly it finishes in the team rankings, but rather how well it meets team needs. So far, LSU’s class has addressed its needs at running back, cornerback and wide receiver very well, and has also done a great job of securing the state’s top talent. In that regard, it has already been successful. But in order for this class to be considered great, there are three remaining “positions of need” that need to be addressed. These include defensive end, linebacker, and offensive tackle. I know what some of you are thinking: “What about quarterback?” Well, LSU has a commitment from one QB (Justin McMillan) and entertained another this weekend, Torrance Gibson. I would like to see LSU get a commitment from Gibson or take in a transfer, but I think it’s unlikely. One reason for that is because LSU has a commitment from Felipe Franks for 2016 and is also hot on the trail of Shea Patterson, one of the state’s Top Prospects for 2016. With that said, below is a list of a few DE, LB and OT targets that could transform this year’s class from very good to great. 

DE Arden Key (6-5, 230, Lithonia, GA)
Key might be new LSU D-line coach Ed Orgeron’s best chance at making a huge splash in this year’s recruiting class. LSU feels good about where they stand with Key after he was blown away by his visit a week ago, but since that time he has visited South Carolina (where he was once committed), and next week Auburn will get his last visit. Key will announce his decision on Monday, February 2, two days before Signing Day. 

DE CeCe Jefferson (6-2, 275, Glen Saint Mary, FL)
Along with Key, Jefferson is another prized target being recruited by new DL Coach Ed Orgeron and new Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele. Right now, it appears that Ole Miss and Florida lead for his signature, but that could change this coming weekend when LSU gets his final visit. 

DE Prince Tega Wanogho, Jr. (6-8, 250, Elmore, AL)
This is the young man from Nigeria who has made a huge splash on the recruiting trail despite having only played four months of football, and then recently broke his leg in a basketball game. Things have been happening at a whirlwind pace for Wanogho ever since his high school received his transcripts from Nigeria and reclassified him from the class of 2016 to 2015, and so far he has only had a chance to take two official visits - one to LSU and another to Tennessee. Wanogho is scheduled to visit Auburn next week and probably won’t sign with any school until a couple of weeks after National Signing Day. I suspect LSU will not sign the full allotment of 25 on NSD in order to save a place for him. 

There are also a couple of in-state DEs that LSU has shown interest in, but has not yet offered. They are  Reggie Walker (6-3, 230, Ponchatoula, No. 25 on our list of Top LA Prospects, currently committed to Kansas State) and Joe Anderson  (6-4, 240, Riverside Academy, No. 27 on our list). Also, one DE prospect who is apparently off the board is Dylan Jackson of Tennessee. Yesterday he committed to Stanford. 

LB Leo Lewis (6-3, 225, Brookhaven, MS)
Just as Key represents Coach Orgeron’s best chance at making a huge splash in this year’s recruiting class, Lewis is probably the best chance for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to prove his recruiting prowess early on. Lewis, once committed to Alabama, already had a good relationship with Steele, and the Tigers will be looking to capitalize on that when they host him on his last official visit this weekend. 

Lewis is currently the only linebacker I know of that LSU is actively recruiting, but I’m hoping there are others. One “fallback” possibility could be Louisiana’s own Arthur McGinnis (6-2, 225, Warren Easton, No. 19 on our list), although he doesn’t currently hold an offer from LSU.

OT Toby Weathersby (6-4, 295, Houston)
Weathersby visited LSU this weekend and I’m hoping to hear how his visit went today. LSU, Arkansas and Oklahoma appear to be his top three, and his last visit will go to Houston.

OT Chidi Valentine-Okeke (6-6, 305, Ludowici, GA)
Like Prince Tega Wanogho, Valentine-Okeke is Nigerian-born, and the two are said to be interested in playing at the same school, but this doesn’t appear to be a “package deal.” Both visited LSU a couple of weeks ago, and all indications are that the visits went very well. Where Valentine-Okeke ends up could play a part in influencing Wanogho. 

So how do I think this class finishes? As it stands right now, my guess is that on Signing Day LSU ends by signing three of the players listed above, plus a safety (either Jamal Peters or Justin Reid), and maybe in-state wide receiver sensation Derrick Dillon or Daylon Charlot. That would give LSU 24 signees and room to add Prince Tega Wanogho if he should decide to be a Tiger. The word is that Tega is in no rush to make his decision and could wait a couple of weeks after NSD before signing with any school. However, I’ve done this long enough to know that recruiting is very “fluid” and could change at any moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few names come and go this week. 

While on the topic of recruiting, a lot of you have asked me if I have information on the upcoming Recruiting Bash. I posted the information last week, and I’ll gladly report it again today (see below). I hope many of you will make plans to attend. As usual, my nephew, John, and I will be there (in the free viewing area) posting live updates and handing out copies of our list of Top Louisiana Football Prospects for 2016. 

Speaking of our 2016 Top Prospect List list, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on our initial rankings today and tomorrow, so if you know of an in-state D1 prospect you’d like to suggest for the list, be sure to let me know

Recruiting Bash Info:

The RobinsonBrothers.com/Tiger Gridiron Club Bayou Bash Recruiting Party is being held on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 at L’Auberge Casino Event Center.  Doors will be open at 8:30 A. M.

Due to limited seating capacity in the Event Center, only tables seating ten will be available in the Event Center for $1,500 and $2,000 each which includes food and beverages throughout the event. Call Ed Fisher at 225-767-7999 for availability of these tables.  Membership in the Gridiron Club is available by calling Beth Tope at 225-819-0128 and this membership will allow free admission to the Event Center. 

Free viewing of the Bash will be available throughout the Casino.  Celebrities and former players will be conducting interviews, Q&A and autograph signings throughout the Casino during the day.  Media Row at the Stadium Club will be broadcasting and there will be recruiting coverage by ESPN.  A silent auction area will be available to anyone attending the event along with Booths with LSU items for sale and a raffle of LSU items.  

The Event includes a highlight film of the 2014 season, other game films, up to the minute announcements of receipt of recruits’ letters of intent, highlight films of the recruits and coaches and former players speaking.  LSU Coach Les Miles will speak to the audience at 5:30 PM about his recruiting class.  This is preceded by the LSU Golden Band, Cheerleaders, Mike the Tiger and Golden Girls.

In baseball news, LSU held its first informal scrimmage yesterday. The team was divided up into two squads and went at it for four innings. The highlights of the outing were home runs by Jared Foster and Alex Bregman, and the pitching of Jesse Stallings who threw two hitless innings with two strikeouts and no walks. The season will get underway in earnest in just 18 days, and I can hardly wait. 

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Reader Comments: Scott, don’t know if you saw this or not, but it’s worth sharing. Video: Just a compilation of Odell Beckham Jr. making one-handed catches. during Pro Bowl warm-ups … also, OBJ made a spectacular catch in the game which you can see here.   


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1/25/15 6:05 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

I’ll say it again, folks: How about that LSU basketball team? After suffering a home loss to Texas A&M last Saturday, LSU’s men bounced back in a big way with two huge road victories, including last night’s 79-75 overtime win at Vandy. With the win, the Tigers are now 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. The victory marked the first time LSU has won three straight SEC road contests since the 2008-2009 season, which is also the last time LSU won the SEC and made the NCAA tournament. 

After struggling on offense in the first half (36.4% FG shooting; 1-7 3-point shooting), the Tigers stepped up offensively by spreading the ball, attacking the rim and hitting their open 3-pointers and jumpers. In fact, after the break, LSU hit 18 of 31 field goals (58.1%) and five of eight 3-pointers (62.5%). Overall, LSU fought hard and showed tremendous resilience to overcome Vandy’s aggressiveness and raucous crowd.

Jordan Mickey led the Tigers with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Jarell Martin also had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Martin also had three assists and three steals, but struggled with a team-high eight turnovers. Tim Quarterman and Keith Hornsby chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, and Jalyn Patterson finished with 10 points, including two crucial three-pointers in the last 10 minutes that helped LSU stay in the contest. On the night, the Tigers finished 46.9% from the field (30-64) and 40.0% from the 3-point line (6-15), but were only 56.5% from the free-throw line (13-23). LSU held Vanderbilt to 42.9% shooting from the field (27-63) and out-rebounded the Commodores 42-36, but committed 19 turnovers while forcing 16.

Here are the game’s video highlights, and here’s a quick recap of how it played out: Vanderbilt led for most of the first half and took a 35-30 lead to the break. The Commodores took their largest lead at 44-36 before LSU chipped away with aggressive attacks that led to five layups and selective three-point shooting that netted five conversions. Mickey made one of two free throws to tie the game at 69, and both teams missed shots in the last 10 seconds of regulation that could have won the game. In overtime, the Tigers charged out in front, 73-69, and then after Vandy tied it at 73, Quarterman made a jumper and two free throws to increase the lead back to four at 77-73 with just over a minute remaining in overtime. The Commodores only scored two after that, and Martin made two free throws with three seconds remaining to seal the game.

It was great to see LSU fight back offensively after an offensive slump in the first half. Martin and Mickey combined for 23 of the Tigers’ 30 points in the first half, but LSU did a much better job of sharing the wealth in the second half as Hornsby, Quarterman and Patterson combined for 26 of LSU’s 49 points after scoring only seven combined points in the first half. Another positive is that LSU again didn’t get complacent with chucking it from the 3-point line; only eight of LSU’s 31 shot attempts after the first half were 3-point attempts.

After a great week on the road, the Tigers will return to play four of their next five games at home, starting with Wednesday’s contest against South Carolina at 6 pm. The game will be telecast on the SEC Network and the radio broadcast will be available on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.

In football recruiting news, LSU picked up its 18th commitment for the class of 2015 when Lanard Fournette, the brother of Leonard Fournette, committed during his official visit. Lanard Fournette (ATH, 5-10, 184, No. 48 on our list of Top LA Prospects) chose LSU over offers from Alabama, Miami and others. Now, I know that a lot of you will ask if I think LSU would have offered Lanard if Leonard was not his brother, and I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that Lanard is a good prospect in his own right (as you’ll see from the two highlight videos I embedded in our Media Gallery), and LSU knows what they’re getting in him as a player and as a young man who comes from a good family. Listed as an athlete, Lanard could play running back at LSU, although with LSU’s loaded backfield I would look for him to be used more as a slot-back and specialist. With the addition of Fournette, LSU’s 2015 recruiting class is currently ranked 10th in the nation by 247Sports with as many as seven spots left to be filled.

As usual, I’ll leave you today with a few quick reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee. Have a great day, Tiger Fans.

LSU OT La'El Collins Cements 1st-Round Status with Big Senior Bowl Performance

Fake Kevin Steele Twitter Account Caught Sliding Into DMs To Recruit

Riverdale's Donte Jackson on picking LSU: 'Prayed about it ... all signs pointed to' Tigers

Reminder: Only 10 days left until National Signing Day, and that means only 10 days left in our annual fundraiser. If you appreciate these daily reports and haven’t yet pledged your support, please consider doing so today. Thank you! 


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1/24/15 6:05 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Yesterday I rode out to Alex Box Stadium to listen to Coach Paul Mainieri speak about his 2015 LSU baseball team, and I left with a bad case of Spring Fever. Coach Mainieri is an enthusiastic, articulate, and straight-forward speaker, and it’s always a pleasure to hear him speak about his team. When he spoke yesterday, it was plainly obvious that he is really high on this year’s Tigers, and with good reason. LSU lost only two full-time starters from the 2014 lineup and brought in the number one recruiting class in the country, which includes several very talented pitchers. Add to that the fact that LSU has a new hitting coach and the game will be played with a new lower-seam ball, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this year’s season. 

The very first question asked of Coach Mainieri was about the new balls that will be used this year, and I think you’ll be happy with what he had to say. Mainieri estimated that the new balls carry up to 20-30 feet further and said they could add significant life to the offense. He stopped short of suggesting a return to “Gorilla Ball,” but guessed that LSU could increase its home run production from 40 last year about 60 or 70 this year. As an example of the new ball’s effect on hitting, Mainieri said that in a practice last week the team hit three home runs. The balls’ exit speeds on all three homers were tracked at 94 mph. By comparison, last year the Tigers hit several balls that exited at speeds in excess of 100 mph but died at the warning track. Coach Mainieri said the pitchers like the new balls too as they cause less blisters and feel smaller in the hand. While the lower seams might hurt the breaking ball a bit, they add movement and velocity to the fastball.  

Here are a few more tidbits I picked up at the press conference:

• LSU released this preseason depth chart, and the top four pitchers are sophomore Jared Poché, and freshmen Alex Lange, Jake Godfrey and Jake Latz. The team’s weekend rotation, closer and midweek starter will probably come from these four and senior Kyle Bouman.

• Jared Poché will likely get the start on opening day, but all five of the aforementioned pitchers will get starts in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Mainieri says he expects to have his weekend rotation and midweek starter finalized before the start of SEC play on March 13. Last year LSU struggled to find a “Sunday starter,” but that isn’t expected to be an issue this year.

• The biggest question mark on the team is who will fill in for departed Christian Ibarra at 3rd base. Battling for the spot are sophomore Danny Zardon, freshman Greg Deichmann and senior Connor Hale. 

• Once again, the team will possess blazing speed. Junior outfielder Andrew Stevenson is the fastest player on the team, but Mainieri says Greg Deichman is pushing junior outfielder Mark Laird and sophomore outfielder Jake Fraley for the title of second fastest. 

• One of the most interesting comments Mainieri made was about new hitting coach Andy Cannizaro and former hitting coach Javi Sanchez. Mainieri said that he probably spread Sanchez too thin last year and had him doing too many things. Unlike Sanchez, Cannizaro will not be involved in coaching defense and base-running (although he will work with a select group of base-stealers), and when batters are taking batting practice Cannizaro will be with them 100% of time. 

• If you’ve looked at the baseball schedule, you’ve probably noticed that half of the SEC games (5 series) will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday instead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mainieri explained that this is because three of the five series will include the Thursday night nationally televised game. As for the other two series, one is the last week before the SEC tournament and those games are always played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to give the team more time to prepare for the tournament. The other series that starts on Thursday is due to a mutual agreement between LSU and Alabama because of Easter weekend. I know my wife will be happy to know that there’s no game on Easter Sunday, and so am I.  

Here’s a transcript of Coach Mainieri’s comments, as well as quotes from Jared Poché, Alex Bregman, and Andrew Stevenson, as provided by LSU’s Sports Information Department.  

Now turning to football, I have heard from a lot of you who are concerned that LSU running back commit Derrius Guice (RB, 5'11", 219, Catholic of Baton Rouge, No. 2 on our list of Top LA Prospects) will be visiting Alabama next weekend. I understand your concern, especially since LSU commit Nicholas Brossette had a great visit to Texas last weekend. Personally, I don’t think LSU has anything to worry about with Guice, at least that’s what he says in this video where he states that he’s just taking the visit to enjoy the process. As for Brossette, he’s visiting LSU this weekend and we should know much more on how firm his commitment is in a few days. When you are dealing with teenagers who have coaches pulling them in every direction while they’re trying to make one of the most important decisions of their lives, it’s hard to predict what will happen, but I remain cautiously optimistic that LSU holds on to both of these elite backs. 

In other football news, there are a couple of interesting articles to pass along related to LSU coaches’ contracts. According to this report by the Advocate, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva says John Chavis owes LSU a $400,000 buyout which has yet to be paid, and that is why Texas A&M has not officially announced Chavis as its defensive coordinator. Also, this article indicates that new LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is set to receive $450,000 a year as part of a two-year contract which is expected to be approved by LSU’s Board of Directors next week. The annual salary is $5,000 more than what Brick Haley made before he was moved to an administrative role. Orgeron’s contract has the same buyout clause that reportedly was unsettling to John Chavis - that is, that he would be paid for just six more months if Les Miles were no longer the coach at LSU. According to the report, that clause is expected to be in each of the assistant coaches’ new deals.

In basketball news, the LSU men’s team, coming off a huge 79-61 win at Florida, will look to continue its road success tonight when it takes on Vanderbilt. The game is set to tipoff just after 5 p.m. on ESPNU.  While LSU is coming off its most complete win of the season, Vanderbilt is coming off a tough 65-57 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena and is 11-7 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. A win tonight would give the Tigers (14-4, 3-2) a very impressive three-game road sweep. To put that in perspective, remember that LSU won only two SEC road wins all last season (and one of them was against Vanderbilt). 

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