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1/27/15 5:45 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Spring football practice is just around the corner, and yesterday LSU announced dates for several football-related events this spring, including the annual Spring Game. Spring football practice will begin in just  38 days on Saturday, March 7, and the annual National L-Club Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 in Tiger Stadium. Interestingly, the Spring Game falls on the day when LSU baseball will playing at Georgia, and that’s unfortunate for fans who were hoping to head over to Alex Box Stadium after the football game. Other dates to note during the spring for LSU football include the annual LSU Football Coaches Clinic on March 19-20 and Pro Day on Friday, March 27. LSU will once again host “Student Appreciation Day” for the LSU student body on April 16 at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

2015 LSU Football – Spring Dates To Note

March 7 - First Day of Spring Practice
March 19-20 - LSU Coaches Clinic
March 27 - Pro Day
April 16 - LSU Student Appreciation Day at Practice
April 18 - National L-Club Spring Game
April 30 - May 2 - NFL Draft in Chicago, Ill.

In other football news, the LSU Board of Supervisors will vote this Friday on a two-year contract for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele worth $1 million per year. According to reports like this one by nola.com,  Steele’s base salary will be $500,000 and he’ll have a $500,000 media stipend. Steele can also earn a maximum of $125,000 in incentive bonuses annually. Former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis, who left LSU for Texas A&M, made $1.312 million in his final season with the Tigers. For those of you wondering… yes, this contract also includes the cause stating that if Les Miles leaves, Steele’s contract will end six months later. That seems to be standard in all of the assistants’ recent contracts. 

As for football recruiting, things are surprisingly quiet, but I do have a couple of updates to pass along related to the info I posted yesterday. After writing that it was unlikely that LSU would add another quarterback in this class, I heard from a couple of trusted sources who said I should not be so quick to write off Ohio State commit Torrence Gibson. From what I’ve heard, Gibson’s visit to LSU went very well last weekend and the Tigers have a legitimate chance of flipping him away from the Buckeyes. Also, I learned that there’s another potential defensive end to add to the list I posted yesterday, although he’s certainly a long-shot. I’m referring to Byron Cowart (6-4, 250, Seffner, FL), the No. 1 defensive end in the country. Coward appears to be a strong lean to Florida, but LSU coaches are reportedly trying hard to get him to take a visit to LSU this coming weekend. If LSU is able to get him on campus, anything could happen. 

In men’s basketball news, after having a big week on the road last week, the Tigers saw themselves rise in a couple of NCAA Tournament projections. Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com projects LSU as a 7-seed, while Joe Lunardi projects the Tigers as a No. 9 seed. Of course, none of that means anything at this point, except that folks are taking notice of LSU’s recent success. With four of the next five games at home, LSU needs to make a big run to set itself up well for their last seven SEC games. The Tigers return to action tomorrow with a 6 p.m. contest against South Carolina that will be televised on the SEC Network.  

In baseball news, Baseball America released its preseason poll and LSU came in at No. 2, which is its highest preseason ranking so far this year. In other polls released recently, LSU has come in at No. 4 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 7 (Perfect Game) and No. 9 (D1Baseball). In Baseball America’s poll which was released yesterday, LSU is one of three SEC teams in their top-10, along with Vanderbilt (No. 1) and Florida (No. 6).  

A few tidbits in closing: 

• I’ve been crazy busy lately with my other business, and with putting together my Top LA Football Prospect for 2016 list, so I’ve fallen a bit behind in answering emails. To help make up for that, tomorrow I’ll post one of our occasional Mail Calls to address some of the more common questions and comments I’ve received lately. 

• Speaking of my Top Prospect List for 2016, I hope to begin incrementally revealing its top-40 later this week, and then next week I’ll reveal the entire Top-100 and a few “Best of the Rest” on National Signing Day. 

• Our annual fundraiser ends one week from tomorrow. If you enjoy staying informed on LSU sports through these daily doses of Tiger News, please consider pledging your support. To all of you who have already contributed, my family and I extend our most sincere gratitude. 

Reader Comments: Man, LSU football is big business! I’m sure you’ve seen this, but this might be worth a share: LSU to make nearly $9 million on neutral site games against BYU, Miami

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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. 

Reminder: Our annual fundraiser is in its final stretch. If you enjoy these daily updates, please show your appreciation and help to assure the site’s longevity by donating today. To find how how to do so and why it’s important, please read this important message. Thanks in advance for your consideration.   

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

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