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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.
7/28/14 6:10 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In just six days, the LSU football team will report to fall camp and in one week the team will practice for the first time. I’m looking forward to heading out there to check out the team and give you a report on what I see. As of now, the practice schedule has not been released, but as soon as it is I will post it here. In the meantime, here are a few dates of interest to keep in mind:
Sun., Aug. 3 - LSU reports for pre-season camp
Mon., Aug. 4 - First Day of LSU pre-season practice
Sun., Aug. 10 - LSU Fan Day
TBA - LSU Media Day
Mon., Aug. 25 - First “Lunch with Les” Press Luncheon
Sat., Aug. 30 - Season opener: LSU vs. Wisconsin (Houston, Texas)
As far as I know, 23 of the 25 members of the 2014 signing class have made it to campus and the staff is still waiting on the two others. The two are defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (6-3, 340, Palm Bay, FL) and offensive lineman Jevonte Domond (6-6, 310, Glendale CC). About two weeks ago, Valentine tweeted that he would be in college the next week, but since then news has been hard to come by. Valentine is a big-time player who has the talent to step in and contribute as a backup right away, and his importance to the team was made more significant when fellow freshman defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (DT, 6-3, 300, San Antonio, TX) injured his arm last week. While Lealaimatafao is expected to fully recover over time, I think its safe to assume that he won’t be ready to play anytime soon. As for Domond, he’s the big JUCO offensive lineman who signed with LSU in early June and was granted immediate eligibility. LSU is pretty stacked in the offensive line this season, with or without Domond, but he is expected to be a big contributor next year when LSU will likely be without four of this season’s five starters.
Speaking of offensive linemen and the 2014 signing class, yesterday a reader shared with me this brief video of freshman Garrette Brumfield squatting an incredible 506 pounds. I’ll go on the record now as saying that Brumfield will be a special offensive lineman before his playing days are over at LSU. In my opinion, he and fellow offensive lineman William Clapp are two members of the 2014 signing class who were overshadowed a bit by the elite skill players in the class (i.e. Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn) but will be huge a huge part of LSU’s quest for a national championship during the next three or four years.
In baseball news, several Tigers participated in the Cape Cod All-Star game last night and represented LSU very well. Coach Mainieri attended the game to support his players and was interviewed during the game. Right on cue, Chris Chinea hit a home run while Mainieri was being interviewed. Kramer Robertson, Conner Hale, Mark Laird and Chinea started for the West team which won 5-0, while Andrew Stevenson work as a reserve outfielder for the East. In addition to Chinea, Hale and Laird also had big nights at the plate. Hale produced two hits and a run, and Laird started the scoring with an RBI single in the third.
Now let’s close out today’s report with our countdown to LSU football’s season opener, which is 33 days away, by remembering a significant year in LSU’s football history, 1933. What makes that year particularly significant is not only that it was LSU’s most successful since 1908, it was also the first year of the Southeastern Conference. (Prior to that, LSU played in the Southern Conference which consisted of 23 teams.) LSU made a statement about being an SEC power from the get-go, ending the season with an undefeated 7-0-3 record. Oddly, two of the Tigers’ three ties came against in-state opponents - Centenary (0-0) and Tulane (7-7). The other tie was against Vanderbilt (7-7). Highlights of that historic season were wins over Arkansas (20-0), South Carolina (31-7), Ole Miss (31-0), and Tennessee (7-0). As you can see by those numbers, LSU was a dominant team on defense. In fact, the team only gave up 27 points all season and held opponents to an average of 2.7 points per game. The most disappointing fact about that season is that despite LSU’s undefeated record, the Tigers ended 3-0-2 in conference play and second in the conference standings behind a one-loss Alabama team (7-1-1) who was 5-0-1 in SEC play.
Reader Comments: Hey Scott, here's a preview of the LSU's season from an outsider's point of view and it makes some very interesting points.
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