NCAA Baseball Championships:
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7/20/14 12:35 pm CT
LSU picked up a huge commitment this morning (literally and figuratively) from O-lineman Matt Wommack (6-7, 320) of Hernando, MS. (See this photo of Womack in our Media Gallery to guage his size relative to coach Les Miles.) With Wommack’s verbal, LSU now has 14 commitments for the class of 2015.
7/20/14 6:05 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Coach Miles and his staff held their lineman camp yesterday and will hold a kicking, punting and snapping camp today before turning their attention to the big “elite” high school camp which gets underway Thursday. As mentioned in my previous report, the 7-on-7 tournament originally scheduled for yesterday was cancelled due to weather, and that cancellation had an effect on the turnout for the linemen camp. From what I understand, the top two O-linemen on campus over the weekend were LSU commit Adrian Magee of Franklinton (OL, 6'5", 315, Franklinton, No. 8 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2015) and the big kid from Mississippi, Matt Womack (6-7, 320), who was offered by LSU last month.
â€¨Although I didn’t hear of LSU extending any new offers at the linemen camp, an offer was extended this weekend to pro-style quarterback Shea Patterson of Calvary Baptist in Shreveport. Patterson (6-2, 195) is widely considered the best quarterback in the state for 2016, and I was happy to learn of him receiving the offer. Patterson is currently committed to Arizona, but I hear that LSU made quite an impression on him and that his chances of flipping to LSU are high. LSU already has a commitment from one dual-threat quarterback for 2016 in Feleipe Franks (6-5, 205, Crawfordville, FL), and another for this year’s class (2015) in Justin McMillan (6-2, 170) of Cedar Hills, Tx.
In baseball news, four Tigers playing Cape Cod summer ball were selected to the league’s All-Star team. The four are third baseman Conner Hale, right fielder Mark Laird, catcher Chris Chinea and center fielder Andrew Stevenson. While looking at these players’ impressive summer stats, what caught my eye is that Laird and Stevenson both appear to be making good use of their blazing speed on the base paths. Laird has 15 stolen bases in 26 games, while Stevenson has 17 in 31 games. This past season at LSU, Laird had 10 stolen bases in 59 games while Stevenson had nine in 61 games.
One more baseball tid-bit before moving on: Here’s a great article by Randy Rosetta of nola.com on new LSU hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, Andy Cannizaro. Pour yourself another cup of Sunday morning coffee and give it a read to familiarize yourself with Cannizaro and his story before he’s officially introduced as a member of the LSU staff tomorrow afternoon.
Turning back to football, today we’ll continue our game-by-game preview of LSU’s 2014 opponents by looking at the Kentucky Wildcats. Here we go…
Saturday, Oct. 18 – Kentucky (Baton Rouge). The Kentucky Wildcats, yes the football team who went 2-10 last season, is on the upswing after putting together a top-20 recruiting class in 2014. In fact, this Wildcat team has one of the better players in the SEC in Alvin Dupree, a hybrid defensive end / linebacker. Dupree made his mark in the conference last season with seven sacks, two forced fumbles and 61 total tackles and is undoubtedly the Wildcats’ best player going into the 2014 season. Offensively, head coach Mark Stoops, who’s entering his second year, has a decision to make between Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker as his starting quarterback. Leading rusher JoJo Kemp and leading receiver Javess Blue return on the offensive side. Za’Darius Smith will be a handful on the defensive line, and the Wildcats will have plenty of options in the secondary. Replacing Avery Williamson, who had back-to-back seasons with 100-plus tackles at linebacker, will be a chore for Stoops and company. Kentucky has some talent and will surely be improved, but LSU will still be the far superior team in this showdown.
Now let’s close out today’s report with our countdown to game day, which is only 41 days away, by looking at a special player who wore No. 41 for the Tigers - Eric Martin. Martin played at LSU from 1981-84 and was originally used as a running back. At the start of his sophomore year, he was moved to wide receiver even though he had never played the position in high school. Martin didn’t have the blazing speed typical of wide receivers (he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds), but he made up for it with his soft hands, crisp routes and extreme determination. Martin ended his career at LSU with 2,625 yards receiving, which at the time was the most passing yards caught by any receiver in SEC history. His best season was during his junior year when he had 1,064 yards receiving and was named an All-American. Martin made All-SEC as a junior and as a senior and was LSU’s first wide receiver to be named twice to the first team All-SEC Team. After his playing days at LSU, Martin was selected in the 7th round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played 10 years in the NFL (1985–1994) and helped lead the Saints to their first playoff appearance in franchise history in 1987. In 1988, Martin was a Pro Bowl selection with 85 receptions for 1,083 yards and seven touchdowns. After nine years with the Saints, Martin spent the last year of his professional football career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reader Comments: Not sure if you saw this news, but HUGE pick-up for softball team! Carley Hoover, the 2013 national softball player of the year out of D.W. Daniel in Central, S.C., has left Stanford to transfer to LSU.
7/19/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri must have slept better last night knowing that his prize signee, left-handed pitcher Mac Marshall, did not sign with the Houston Astros and will be a Tiger. As yesterday’s 4 p.m. MLB signing deadline approached, fans of the LSU Tigers and Houston Astros nervously watched to see if Houston would strike a deal with their No. 1 overall pick, Brady Aiken, and whether that deal would leave them enough money in the budget to offer Marshall the $1.5 million it would have taken to lure him away from LSU. As it turned out, Houston didn’t strike a deal with Aiken and therefore had to forfeit all of the money they had slotted for a first round pick, leaving them with nothing to throw at Marshall. This is great news for LSU as Marshall is an exceptional talent who will contend for a starting role in LSU’s pitching rotation from the get-go. With or without Marshall, LSU baseball’s 2014 signing class would have been strong, but with him it’s outstanding.
In football recruiting news, LSU’s big 7-on-7 tournament which was scheduled for today was cancelled because of rain, but the lineman camp will go on as scheduled. However, the cancellation of the 7-on-7 tourney could have inadvertently cost LSU a chance to visit with the state’s top O-lineman prospect - Jerry Tillery. From what I was told, Tillery (OT, 6-7, 325, No. 4 on our list of Top LA Prospects) was planning on riding down to LSU with a group of players from Evangel who were scheduled to participate in the 7-on-7 tournament. The group was planning to travel together, but the cancellation of tournament disrupted the travel plans and ended up preventing Tillery from coming in for the linemen camp. With all the rain Baton Rouge received yesterday, and with the high probability of more rain today, I completely understand why the tournament was cancelled, but that sure is a tough break for an LSU staff that is working hard to flip the 5-star prospect away from Notre Dame and appears to be making some progress.
In other news, it’s time to make plans to attend LSU’s annual football fan day which will be held on Sunday, Aug. 10. Yesterday LSU released an informative press release about the event which I’ve included below:
LSU FOOTBALL FAN DAY SET FOR SUNDAY, AUG. 10
BATON ROUGE -- LSU's annual football fan day will be held on Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Maravich Assembly Center and the Carl Maddox Field House on the LSU campus.
Doors to both facilities will open at 4 p.m. and the LSU football team will sign autographs and meet with fans from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
This year’s setup will have LSU coach Les Miles, the offense and the offensive coaching staff in the Maddox Field House, while the defense, defensive staff and special teams will be located in the Maravich Center.
Fans will be able to meet the LSU soccer and volleyball teams that day. The soccer team will sign autographs and meet with fans from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Maravich Center, while the volleyball team will be located at the Maddox Field House.
The LSU cheerleaders, Tiger Girls, and Mike the Tiger will meet fans for autographs and pictures from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Maddox Field House and the Maravich Assembly Center.
The LSU SportShop will also be open that day and will have stores open at both the Maddox Field House and the Maravich Center.
The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive an LSU Fan Day gift bag featuring the popular football placard poster and sample products from various LSU corporate partners. 2014 LSU Football posters will be available for fans in each facility.
The Mike’s Kids Club Fan Zone will be located inside the Maddox Field House where young tiger fans can register to become a member of this unique club. Mike’s Kids Club members can purchase a one-time membership for a fee of $15. New members to the club will receive an official Mike’s Kids Club t-shirt, Mike’s Kids Club wallets, an autographed photo of Mike the Tiger and invitations to exclusive events.
All current members can also pick up their “special offer” packets for only $8. For more information about Mike’s Kids Club visit www.lsusports.net/mikeskidsclub.
LSU will also be taking registration for “Dads and Daughters”, a club for girls 13 and under and their fathers. Membership for “Dads and Daughters” is $30 and comes with a hat, t-shirt, and invitations to six LSU women’s athletic events during the year. Additional memberships can be purchased for $15.
Fans are reminded that no coolers or chairs will be allowed into either facility and that they are limited to one autographed item per person.
2014 LSU Fan Day – Schedule of Events (Sunday, Aug. 10)
4 p.m. - Doors to Fan Day Open at Maravich Center and Maddox Field House
4 p.m - Mike’s Kids Club Fan Zone opens at Maddox Field House
4-5 p.m. - LSU soccer signs autographs at Maravich Center
4-5 p.m. - LSU volleyball signs autographs at Maddox Field House
4-6 p.m. - LSU cheerleaders, Tiger Girls, Golden Girls & Mike the Tiger sign autographs
5-6:30 p.m. - Coach Les Miles and offense signs autographs at Maddox Field House
5-6:30 p.m. - Defense and special teams signs autographs at Maravich Center
6:30 p.m. - Fan Day activities conclude
Over the last several days we’ve previewed LSU’s first six football opponents of 2014, and today we’ll continue along those lines by looking at what will be LSU’s second consecutive SEC road game. Here we go…
Saturday, Oct. 11 — Florida (Gainesville). Don’t sleep on the Gators. Injuries dealt Coach Will Muschamp and company a rough hand last season, as Florida lost its top two quarterbacks, starting tailback and three best offensive tackles. Add in losing star defensive linemen, talented linebackers and a young, talented safety and it’s easy to see why Florida went 4-8 last year. Questions still loom offensively. Will Jeff Driskel evolve? Will Demarcus Robinson or Quinton Dunbar breakout and become the receiving threat many presumed they’d already be? Can the offensive line’s interior adapt with key losses? The season will have to provide those answers, but as far as the defense goes, this could be one of college football’s best. Marcus Robinson and Loucheiz Purifoy won’t be easy to replace in the secondary, but Vernon Hargreaves III has proven he can shut down an entire side of the field. Marcus May and Jabari Gorman are caliber safeties, and one has to assume 5-star signee Jalen Tabor figures somewhere in the mix. As for the front seven, the Gators return seven starters. This game will give LSU back-to-back intense match-ups on the road where the Tigers’ physicality will be tested. If the Tigers return home with two SEC wins under their belt, they should be bubbling with confidence, highly ranked, and ready to take on a three-game home stand against Kentucky, Ole Miss and Alabama.
With exactly six weeks (42 days) remaining until LSU’s season opener against Wisconsin, today we’ll continue our countdown to game day by looking at two special players who wore No. 42 at LSU - George Bevan and Don Schwab.
George Bevan played linebacker at LSU from 1966-’69 and earned All-America honors. In the first game of his junior year, he injured his Achilles tendon to such an extent that he had to undergo multiple surgeries and spend several months on crutches. Doctors predicted that Bevan would never play again, but by the summer of 1969 his determination had earned him a starting role for the Tigers. While Bevan had many notable moments as a Tiger, he is often remembered for an extra-point that he blocked in LSU's classic 21-20 victory over Auburn on October 25, 1969. In doing my research for this report, I came across this brief video of Bevan talking about his first experience with LSU Football.
Don Schwab is a former Tiger who played fullback at LSU and wore No. 42 from 1962-’66. Schwab, originally from Thibodaux, LA, was a hard-running fullback who holds the distinction of being one of only five LSU running backs to ever lead the SEC in rushing. What makes this more remarkable is that he is the only fullback in that group of five. The others were tailbacks Billy Cannon, Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard, and Kevin Faulk. After his time at LSU, Schwab went on to a very successful coaching career in high school and also served as Terrebonne Parish President from 2004-2008. He is currently semi-retired living in Houma, LA and is a longtime reader of this website.
7/18/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday it was announced that ten Tigers made the media's preseason All-SEC team, and LSU was picked to finish third in the SEC West behind Alabama and Auburn. Senior offensive tackle La’el Collins was the only Tiger selected toe the media’s first team, while four Tigers made it to the second team in Vadal Alexander (LG), Tre’Davious White (CB), Colby Delahoussaye (PK), and Terrance Magee (All-Purpose). Five Tigers were selected to the third team including Jermauria Rasco (DE), Kwon Alexander (LB), Rashard Robinson (CB), Corey Thompson (S) and Jamie Keehn (P).
The two things I found most surprising about the Tigers’ representation on the All-SEC teams are the omission of Jerald Hawkins (OT) and the inclusion of Corey Thompson (S). Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Thompson and I think he will be a big contributor for the Tigers, but I saw nothing from him last year that led me to expect this kind of preseason recognition. Thompson didn’t start in any game and had a combined 11 tackles on the season, although he did see extensive action on special teams kickoff coverage. (It is worth noting, however, that Thompson earned a Veterans Most Improved Award during Spring practice.) As for Jerald Hawkins, he played and started in all 13 games and earned second team All-America recognition last year, yet he didn’t even crack the media’s third-team preseason All-SEC list.
As for LSU’s third-place selection in the SEC West, I can understand why a lot of folks are sleeping on the Tigers considering the loss of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and leading receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and and Jarvis Landry. But if LSU can get good (if not great) play from one of its two young quarterbacks, and if the super-talented freshmen skill players from LSU’s 2014 signing class - Leonard Fournette, Trey Quinn and Malchi Dupre – are as good as I think they are, a lot of skeptics will awaken to a loud Tiger roar in 43 days when the Tigers take on Wisconsin in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Unlike many programs, LSU has a history of throwing freshmen into key roles, as evident in this great hype video by LesMiles.net which looks back at the impact the freshmen class had on last year’s season. 17 true freshmen saw action in 2013, including four who earned starting roles at some point in the season.
In recruiting news, LSU is gearing up for its Linemen and 7-on-7 Camps which get underway tomorrow, while also preparing for next week’s big “elite” camp which starts Thursday. Even though the in-state talent level may be a little down compared to last year, next week’s elite camp will feature some incredible prospects including many of Louisiana’s best and a slew of highly recruited out-of-state prospects. The list of 2015 out-of-staters who will be attending is highlighted by five-stars CeCe Jefferson (DE, 6-2, 250, Glen Saint Mary, FL) and Kendall Sheffield (CB, 6-1, 181, Missouri City, TX). As for homegrown prospects, most all of Louisiana’s top talent will be there, but three players I’m particularly interested in seeing are Justin Reid, Grant Burguillos and Oshea Dugas. I name these three in particular because I feel that they’ve been kind of flying under the radar and have something to prove in order to land an LSU offer. Reid (S, 6-1, 188, Dutchtown, No. 19 on our list of Top LA Prospects) is the younger brother of former Tiger great Eric Reid, and he’s been tearing up the camp scene lately. Burguillos (OL, 6-4, 280, Mandeville, No. 12 on our list) is a guard/center prospect with good size, a great work ethic and outstanding feet. Dugas (OL/DL, 6'5", 300, Northside, No. 24 on our list) is a relatively raw talent who has great speed and athleticism for someone his size. As for prospects who will be on campus this weekend, one in particular that LSU has its eyes on is the big man from Senatobia, Mississippi – offensive tackle Matt Womack (6-7, 320). You may recall that I added this picture of him in our Media Gallery a few weeks ago. Womack is expected to announce his school of choice after visiting South Carolina on the 25th and LSU is currently in his top-four along with Ole Miss, Mississippi State and South Carolina.
Over the last few days we’ve briefly reviewed LSU’s first five opponents, and today we’ll continue along this lines by looking at the Tigers’ first SEC road game, which should be a great one. Here we go…
Saturday, Oct. 4 — Auburn (Auburn). Dare we venture to call this LSU’s toughest game of the season? On the road against a team that won the SEC last season and played in the national championship is a good enough starting point for that argument. Auburn returns quarterback Nick Marshall, running back Cameron Artis-Payne, wide receivers Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis and Quan Bray and four experienced offensive linemen. That gives one credibility to argue Gus Malzahn will have an even better offense than last year’s Auburn team that scored 39.5 points per game. It’s sort of scary when you look at the fine details of this team. And as for the defense, well, the unit returns most of 2013’s starters with the biggest question mark coming upfront, having to replace Nosa Eguae and Dee Ford. By October, LSU should (hopefully) have confidence in whichever mobile quarterback the Tigers choose to go with. If that’s the case, LSU’s option-read could test young defensive linemen Elijah Daniel and Montravius Adams. The athletes, the strategy both coaches will employ, and the physicality every LSU/Auburn game possesses could make this the game of the year.
Moving on to our countdown to Game Day, which is 43 days away, today we’ll take a brief look at a special Tiger who wore No. 43 - “Touchdown” Tommy Banks. Originally from West Monroe, LA, Banks played fullback for the Tigers from 1997-2000 and was a heck of a player. While many will remember that Banks scored two touchdowns in LSU's 28-14 victory over Georgia Tech in the 2000 Peach Bowl, what he's most remembered for is his diving touchdown in an upset win over the No. 1 ranked defending national champion Florida Gators in 1997. On the play, he dove into the end zone, with a defender wrapped around his legs, for a 7-yard touchdown. (You can check out a video of the famous play here.) Sports Illustrated made the play even more memorable when they used this photo of the dive in their magazine's October, 1997 edition.
In baseball news, LSU will hold a press conference Monday at 12:30 to announce the new assistant coach who will replace Javi Sanchez. Multiple sources have reported that the new coach will be former Tulane star and New York Yankees scout Andy Cannizaro. Also at Monday’s press conference, LSU will also announce the 2015 baseball schedule and team roster. Later today we’ll learn if star signee Mac Marshall will be on that roster, as the deadline for professional teams to sign their draft picks is 4 p.m. As soon as I know Marshall’s status, I’ll tweet it to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a good article by Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com to share with your readers: Freshman Leonard Fournette draws lofty comparisons at LSU
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