NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
7/31/14 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Coach Les Miles addressed a crowd of approximately 450 at the Baton Rouge Rotary Club yesterday and commented on several hot topics related to his team. I wasn’t able to attend, but I did read several accounts of what was said, and heard from a few of you who attended. The following is a summary of what I gathered.
The hottest topic, at least among Tiger fans, is the quarterback battle between sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris, and Coach Miles commented on it in his opening statements. Miles said that he looks forward to the competition between the two and will let it play out until the last minute before making a decision. He also reportedly said that Jennings has the advantage of experience but that Harris might be the more naturally talented of the two. As for depth at quarterback, Miles spoke highly of reserve quarterback and baseball outfielder Jared Foster, who Miles says is stronger and more capable than he was when he initially walked-on to the football team in 2012.
Coach Miles also commented on a few players whose status is in question. These include Trey Lealaimatafao, who Miles said probably won’t play this season, and fellow freshman defensive lineman Travonte Valentine who Miles confirmed is awaiting clearance from the NCAA clearinghouse. As for defensive back Jalen Mills, Miles said that East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore is still deciding whether to charge Mills and he called the situation very unfortunate, adding that someone came to Mills’ apartment and pursued him. From what I gather, nothing was said about Devon Godchaux, the player who was recently issued a summons for reportedly throwing a fire cracker into a campus apartment and starting a small fire. What’s interesting is that three of the four players whose status is in question are freshmen defensive tackles who could battle for playing time as a reserve at a position lacking in experience.
Miles also spoke about his star freshman running back, Leonard Fournette, calling him the fastest or second-fastest player on his team. That’s pretty impressive considering he’s 6-1, 230 pounds. Of course, that begs the question, “If Fournette is not the fastest on the team, who is?” The answer is freshman wide receiver DJ Chark of Alexandria. In my opinion, Chark may just be the biggest sleeper in the stellar 2014 signing class. Chark was only a three-star recruit, but I’ve heard nothing but praise for the young man since he’s arrived at LSU.
Yesterday I mentioned some disappointing news about former Tigers Chris Faulk and Odell Beckham, Jr., but later in the morning I learned of some outstanding news concerning former Tiger All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson. According to reports like this one by nola.com, Peterson hit the jackpot with a five-year, $70-million contract extension from the Arizona Cardinals which guarantees him $48 million. The extension is expected to make Peterson the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.
Also, NBA.com reported that former Tiger All-SEC forward Johnny O’Bryant was signed by The Milwaukee Bucks, although terms of the contract were not disclosed, in accordance with team policy. O’Bryant was picked by Milwaukee as the 36th overall selection in the draft.
With 30 days remaining until the season-opener, let’s continue our Countdown to Game Day with a shout out to LSU’s first consensus All-American placekicker in school history - Josh Jasper. As a senior in 2010, Jasper led the nation in field goals with 28, which also broke Colt David's LSU record of 26. In that same season, Jasper set a single game record with five field goals in a 29-7 win over Mississippi State. Jasper also holds the record for highest field goal percentage among LSU kickers with at least 20 attempts (83.9%), but that record is in jeopardy of being broken by this year’s Tiger kicker, sophomore Colby Delahoussaye. (As a freshman last year, Delahoussaye made 13-of-14 for 92.8%). When I recall Jasper’s storied career at LSU, one play that immediately comes to mind is the fake field goal conversion he and holder Derek Helton pulled off in LSU's incredible 33-29 win over Florida, which I mentioned back at No. 53 in the countdown. You can relive that play and the game’s dramatic ending by watching this brief video. It’s one that never get’s old.
A couple of tid-bits in closing:
• If you’re looking for LSU tickets, be sure to check out our Ticket Exchange. I updated it this morning with several new listings.â€¨
• Last but not least, I’d like to wish Happy Birthday to one of my loyal longtime readers, George Shell. Happy 60th, George!
7/30/14 6:15 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Starting next Monday the hot topic in LSU news will be preseason practice, but in the meantime let’s talk a little about recruiting. Yesterday I mentioned that defensive back Ronnie Harrison (6-3, 205, Tallahassee, FL) would be making an announcement, and he did. Unfortunately for LSU, his announcement was that he has flipped from North Carolina to Alabama. Getting Harrison would have been big for LSU, but missing out on him was not a shocker.
LSU currently has 14 commitments for 2015, eight of which are from Louisiana and six of which are from out-of-state. I’ve heard from a lot of you who are concerned that LSU doesn’t have more pledges at this time, but I’m not overly concerned. By comparison, last year at this time Coach Miles and staff had 13 commitments, and they didn’t get the 14th (Trey Quinn) until August 17. As you know, LSU ended up with a heck of a class which ranked 2nd in the nation on signing day with 24 signees. Just a month ago, LSU added a 25th signee for 2014 in OL Javonte Domond, and with him I think a good argument could be made that LSU’s complete class was as good or better than any in the nation, assuming all 25 enroll. At this point, one of LSU’s prized signees, Travonte Valentine, is still at home awaiting clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse with four days before the start of preseason camp.
How LSU’s 2015 recruiting class ends up is anyone’s guess, but there is still a lot of time, a lot of big-time in-state prospects who are uncommitted, and several elite out-of-staters considering LSU. Today I’ll name just a half-dozen of the many out-of-state prospects on LSU’s radar, and then later in the week I’ll do the same for in-state prospects.
George Campbell (S/WR, 6-3, 184, Tarpon Springs, FL)
Widely regarded as one of the top wide receivers in the country, LSU is looking at him as a safety as well. With blazing speed (4.36-40) and excellent size, he would be a great get at either position. Florida is considered the current leader, but LSU is gaining ground fast. It helps that he’s friends with LSU DB commit Kevin Toliver. View Campbell’s video highlights.
Roney Elam (CB, 6-3, 170, Newton, TX)
Visited LSU earlier this week and is said to have had a very good visit, although most still consider him a slight lean to Texas A&M. Expected to make a decision relatively soon, probably in the next couple of weeks. View Elam’s video highlights.
Tyler Higby (OL, 6-4, 285, Houston)
Received an LSU offer last summer and has returned to visit several times since then. Was among the top performers at last week’s camp and is considered a lean to LSU. View Higby’s video highlights.
CeCe Jefferson (DE, 6-2, 250, Glen Saint Mary, FL)
Visited LSU last week during the camp and is one of the most highly regarded players in the nation. Considered a heavy lean to Florida, but LSU is very much in the picture. View Jefferson’s video highlights.
Justin Martin (CB, 6-2, 180, NE Oklahoma CC)
A Junior College cornerback who is really starting to get a lot of attention now that it looks like he will have three years of eligibility starting in 2015. Camped at LSU last week and was impressive enough to earn an offer. Plans to take an official visit LSU in December and won’t be making a decision anytime soon. View Martin’s video highlights.
William Sweet (OT, 6-5, 270, Jacksonville, FL)
Another top performer from last week’s camp. Although he’s currently committed to North Carolina, LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is said to be doing a heat job recruiting him and LSU is very much in the picture. Sweet rode back to Florida from LSU’s camp with former UNC commit Ronnie Harrison (who flipped to Bama yesterday) and LSU QB commit Feleipe Franks. View Sweet’s video highlights.
A few more football related tid-bits before moving on to our Countdown to Game Day:
• Yesterday was a rough day in terms of news concerning former Tigers. O-lineman Chris Faulk was waived by the Cleveland Browns, and it was announced that wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. will miss the Giant’s first two preseason games because of a lingering hamstring injury.
• Tiger Stadium was once again ranked as the most intimidating college football stadium in the nation, this time by CollegeSpun.com.
Now, with only 31 days remaining until LSU's season opener, let’s continue our countdown to game day by remembering one of the most famous days in LSU football history - October 31, 1959. Of course, this was the day when LSU's most celebrated player, Billy Cannon, returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown to give the undefeated and top-ranked LSU Tigers a 7-3 lead (after the point-after) over the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels. Most of you have probably already seen that incredible return in which Cannon broke seven tackles en route to the end zone, but a play like that is worth revisiting. (Take a moment to check out the video here.) In that same game, Cannon combined with Warren Rabb to stop Ole Miss quarterback Doug Elmore on fourth down in a legendary goal line stand. Later that year, Cannon was awarded the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top player and his jersey was retired. In 1983, Cannon was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, but the Hall rescinded the honor before his induction after he confessed to being involved in a counterfeiting scheme. The Hall re-elected him in 2008 and he was formally inducted on December 9th of that year.
7/29/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
With what has been a relatively quiet offseason quickly coming to a close, yesterday Nola.com’s Jim Kleinpeter reported that two LSU football players were issued misdemeanor summons by LSU police last week. The two are freshmen defensive tackles Trey Lealaimatafao and Davon Godchaux. According to the report, Lealaimatafao was issued a summons last Thursday for a bicycle theft committed on July 1. (He’s also the young man who injured his arm last week by punching through a glass window.) As for Godchaux, he was issued a summons on July 21 after throwing firecrackers into someone’s campus apartment. For more on the story, see this article.
On to more positive news… Class of 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson has de-committed from Arizona and reopened his recruitment. This is a great sign for LSU. You might recall that Patterson (6-2, 195, Calvary Baptist of Shreveport) is the quarterback who recently camped at LSU and whose brother recently left Arizona to take a job with LSU. All indications point to Patterson committing to the Tigers, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen sooner than later. Coach Miles already has a commitment from one 2016 quarterback - Feleipe Franks (6-5, 205, Crawfordville, FL), but I suspect he wouldn’t hesitate to take Patterson’s commitment as well. Patterson was recently elevated in Scout’s quarterback prospect rankings to the No. 1 spot, although I would hesitate to rank him higher than Franks, who in my opinion was every bit as impressive at the camp and has a stronger arm. I’ve added video highlights of both quarterbacks to our Media Gallery.
Another prospect who was very impressive at LSU’s camp was 2015 defensive back Ronnie Harrison, and it appears that he will be making some kind of announcement about his future school this afternoon. Harrison (6-3, 205, Tallahassee, FL) is currently committed to North Carolina, but has made recent camp stops at Alabama and LSU. The obvious question is whether LSU did enough last week to flip him, and we should have an answer in a few hours. Harrison’s announcement is expected to come at around 4 p.m. and I’ll be sure to tweet the news to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter. Here are Harrison’s video highlights.
In other football news, ESPN has begun revealing its top-25 SEC players and pegged Leonard Fournette at No. 22. Considering that Fournette has never even played a down of college ball, I find that quite remarkable. Here’s what they have to say about him: “No, he hasn’t played a down of football at the college level, but the talk out of Baton Rouge is that this youngster is the real deal. He’s already being compared to Michael Jordan, for crying out loud! Fournette will make an immediate impact for the Tigers this fall after being the nation’s No. 1 recruit. He finished his high school career with 7,619 rushing yards and 88 rushing touchdowns, including 1,792 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. ”
With only 32 days remaining until LSU’s season-opener against Wisconsin, let’s continue our Countdown to Game Day by looking at LSU’s 32nd head football coach, Les Miles. Here we go…
When former head coach Nick Saban left LSU in 2005, expectations for the Tigers’ football program had been elevated to an all-time high. This created an exceptional challenge for whichever new coach would follow. As we all know, that head coach turned out to be Les Miles, and in my opinion he was the perfect fit for the job. Interestingly, Miles has battled criticisms for most of his LSU coaching career despite winning nearly five times as many games as he’s lost. Since becoming the Tigers’ 32nd coach in 2005, Miles has led LSU to more victories than any other team in the SEC (85), two SEC championships and two national championship appearances. Add in five Top-10 finishes and six 10-plus win seasons, and it’s easy to see that Miles is deserving of a lot of praise for LSU’s current success. One thing I really like about Miles that I think is often overlooked is his ability to attract not only the best players to join his team, but also the best coaches to join his staff. I can think of no pair of coordinators in the country as strong as defensive coordinator John Chavis and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Another thing I appreciate about Miles is the fact that he doesn’t care what naysayers think about him, and he’s more than willing to confront criticisms face-to-face. (As Greg McElroy learned recently.) Love him or hate him, and hopefully most Tigers fans have come to love and appreciate him, there’s no denying that Miles is one of the most successful coaches in the game. And as his 51 NFL draft picks at LSU suggest, he has a knack for advancing his players to the next level, which in turn is a great recruiting tool. Miles is one of a kind, no doubt, and quite frankly, there’s a short list of coaches in the country that could have followed in Saban’s footsteps and been as successful.
One tid-bit in closing: In my previous report, I mentioned that LSU signee Jevonte Domond (OL, 6-6, 310, Glendale CC) had not yet reported to LSU, but I later learned that he finished his coursework and departed for Baton Rouge yesterday.
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