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1/27/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I know a lot of you are tuning in this morning hoping to read of LSU securing a new commitment from this weekend’s big group of visitors, but so far none have been announced. That is not to say that the weekend was not successful, because by all accounts the visits went very well. I understand that DT Travonte Valentine and his mother had an outstanding visit and that LSU is very confident of landing him, but he won’t be publicly announcing his school of choice until National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 5). I’ve also heard that OT Derrick Kelly had a great visit and really hit it off with new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. The other two targets who visited that were not already committed to LSU are CB Russell Gage and WR Emanuel Porter. I’ve seen very little information on those two prospects other than a tweet by Jimmy Smith (@JimmyDetail) of NOLA.com stating, “2014 Redemptorist ATH Russell Gage picked up his #LSU offer today.” At this point, I don’t know whether the offer comes with any conditions.
Several players already committed to LSU, including DE Deondre Clark and DT Davon Godchaux, whom some are calling “soft commits,” also visited this weekend. I wouldn’t call either Clark or Godchaux a “lock” for LSU at this point, but I do feel more optimistic than ever that they will indeed be Tigers after hearing that their visits went very well. At one point Clark posted a pic on Instagram of him in an LSU jersey with the caption, “Home.”
Today LSU is hosting linebacker Kenny Young and I’m hoping that defensive coordinator and linebackers coach John Chavis pulls out all the stops and is able to keep him in-state. Like his John Curtis teammate, WR Malachi Dupre, Young is considering other schools including UCLA and is set to visit the Bruins next weekend. Speaking of Dupre, he visited Florida State this past weekend and by all accounts he was very impressed with the trip. In fact, Friday he tweeted that the visit was his best one yet. Comments like those certainly give me reason for concern, but I’m still very optimistic that Dupre wil be a Tiger when it’s said and done. I feel very good about Young too, but I’ll hold off on predicting him to LSU until after I hear how today’s visit goes.
With National Signing Day only nine days away and up to seven spots to fill, there’s no doubt that this recruiting class will keep us in suspense until the very end.
Before leaving the topic of recruiting, I’ll go ahead and continue revealing my list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2105 by posting numbers 26-30.
26. Joe Anderson (DE) 6’4”, 240, Riverside Academy
27. Hunter Register (WR), 6’4”, 180, Commix
28. Hunter Dale (S), 6’0”, 180, John Curtis
29. George Brister (S), 6’1”, 190, Covington
30. Deshawn Raymond (CB), 6’0”, 175, East Jefferson
Here’s the current list-in-progress which now contains numbers 26-50.
In other football-related news, yesterday there was a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer stating that the Cleveland Browns are considering LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron for their OC job. LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette quickly addressed the situation with a tweet stating that he spoke to Coach Cameron and was told that he’s not going anywhere and plans to be with LSU for a long time. That’s certainly good to hear.
In basketball news, the 15th ranked LSU Lady Tigers (16-4, 5-2 SEC) defeated Ole Miss yesterday, 66-56. With the win (the team’s fifth in a row), LSU is now in a third-place tie in the SEC standings. Next up for the Lady Tigers is Thursday’s home game against Mississippi State. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Cox Sports Television (CST).
As most of you know, the LSU men’s team has a huge home game scheduled for tomorrow against the 14th ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Unfortunately, another round of severe winter weather, much like those that canceled flights and closed roads throughout Louisiana last week, is predicted for Tuesday. Here’s hoping that if conditions are deemed safe enough and the game is able to be played, a huge Tiger crowd will brave the weather and turn out to support the Tigers in what will be the biggest home game of the season.
Lastly, I need to remind you that our annual DandyDon.com fundraiser is in its final stretch and encourage you to donate today if you haven’t already done so. After next Wednesday (National Signing Day), you won’t be bothered with these appeals until next December. To find out why your support is important and how to give, please read this important message.
Reader Comments: Here’s the latest from Smith/NOLA about the weekend visits. Good read: LSU makes strong push for Travonte Valentine, Derrick Kelly Jr. and other prospects during weekend visits
1/26/14 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU basketball team battled back from a 19-point deficit and nearly pulled off a dramatic upset in Alabama, but came up short, 82-80. The Tigers started the game on a 7-0 run, but after a 6-0 run by Alabama and an LSU field goal, the Crimson Tide went on a 16-0 run to make it 22-9 and for the rest of the half Alabama was in complete control. Johnny O’Bryant only had 2 points in the first half and had as many fouls. LSU’s eight turnovers and 32 percent shooting (worst field goal attempts in a half all season long) produced the lowest first half scoring total this season and allowed Alabama to take a 36-23 lead into the break.
Despite a 54-point performance in the second half fueled by a stifling full court press and O’Bryants’s inside presence, LSU would fail to overcome its poor shot selection in the first half. The Tigers used a full court press to create turnovers as they erased the gap and regained the lead at the 5:55 mark, 68-67, for the first time since the opening minutes of the first half, and from that point on I was on the edge of my seat. After a Shannon Hale 3-pointer and two free throws from Trevor Releford put Alabama back up 82-77, Stringer converted three free throws, resulting from a foul on a 3-point attempt to put the Tigers within two. In a dramatic ending, Anthony Hickey missed a last-second shot attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.
O’Bryant led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points, and was joined in the double-digit scoring column by Shavon Coleman (13), Stringer (12), Jordan Mickey (11) and Hickey (10). LSU has not won at Alabama in 11 years, and unfortunately, that streak remains in tact due to the Tigers’ sloppy first half performance.
Up next for the Tigers is a primetime matchup against Kentucky (15-4) Tuesday night. The game will tipoff at 8 p.m. in the PMAC and will be televised on ESPN.
In football recruiting news, I’ve heard that the big weekend is going well and that all 10 prospects made it in safe and sound. Davon Godchaux wasn’t able to make it Friday because of road closures between Plaquemine and Baton Rouge, but I understand that he made it in yesterday morning.
At this time of year, I’m asked quite often what takes place at an official visit, so I figure this might be a good time to answer the question. On a typical weekend, the staff takes the prospects and their parents out to a nice dinner on Friday night (usually to Texas de Brazil Steakhouse), and then the next morning they all have breakfast together before taking tours of the campus, academic center, football stadium and football operations building. Throughout the day the players get a chance to meet with their position coaches and Coach Miles to ask questions and get a feel for where they would fit in. Later that night they head out for another nice dinner, and then the parents have dessert with Coach Miles. The visitors are always paired up with a couple of player hosts who take them out on the town both nights. On Sunday morning, the group has breakfast again and then Coach Miles and the position coaches meet with the recruits and their parents before the prospects leave that afternoon. Coach Miles is a great recruiter and I believe all the recruits visiting this weekend will be very impressed with what LSU has to offer. Whether or not that translates into a commitment today is yet to be seen, but if I hear of anything I’ll be sure to let you know by tweeting it and then posting it here.
In other football news, CoachingSearch.com is reporting that LSU special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey has emerged as a strong candidate for the special teams coordinator job with the New York Jets. McGaughey has done a great job at LSU since joining the staff in 2011, and I hope LSU is able to hold onto him. Also, former LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has been hired for the same position at Maryland.
In baseball news, LSU completed its first workout of the 2014 preseason yesterday and concluded the practice with a six-inning scrimmage. According to what I heard, the highlight of the afternoon was a grand slam by Chris Chinea that travelled 414 feet. The team will practice again today at noon and will hold a 4½ inning scrimmage starting at about 2 p.m. All workouts are free and open to the public.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a good article on Jeff Grimes from the Roanoke Times. Talks about him having family in Texas and being able to live closer to them was a big part of his decision to come to LSU. Calls LSU a national power and a great opportunity. I like this guy already! Leaving Virginia Tech for LSU 'a tough decision' for Jeff Grimes but 'a great opportunity’
1/25/14 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I was hoping to have some baseball news to share with you today, but ice, sleet and snow in the Baton Rouge area caused LSU’s Media Day event to be postponed. The event is now scheduled for Wednesday, and I’m hoping by then it’ll feel more like baseball weather, although the forecast is calling for even colder weather by the middle of the week.
With several highway closures and flight delays due to the winter storms, I’m anxious to learn whether all 10 of LSU’s expected visitors make it in for the big football recruiting weekend. One prospect with considerable distance between home and Baton Rouge is LSU commit Deondre Clark of Oklahoma City. Clark is an outstanding prospect and a valuable part of this recruiting class, as he is one of only two defensive linemen currently committed. According to several reports, there are family issues that have Clark thinking of choosing a school closer to home. Last weekend Clark visited Oklahoma, and yesterday he tweeted: “Asking 4 continued prayers as we are trying to come to a decision which better FITS ME and where I can ADD TOO a program. Not take away from.” The other defensive back currently committed to LSU is Davon Godhcaux of Plaquemine, LA, and last night he tweeted that he couldn’t get to LSU until this morning because of a bridge closure. The eight other players expected to visit LSU this weekend include commits D.J. Chark, Tony Upchurch and Devin Voorhies, as well as targets Travonte Valentine, Derrick Kelly Jr., Emanuel Porter and Russell Gage. I do know that Valentine (who’s from Hialeah, FL) was traveling last night and tweeted that his plane flew all the way back to Atlanta for no reason. I’m hoping to get confirmation of all players making it in later today.
In basketball news, the LSU men’s team (12-5) looks to build on back-to-back conference wins when it travels to Tuscaloosa for a primetime matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Alabama is a better team than their 8-10 record indicates, and except for their 68-47 loss to Missouri, the Crimson Tide have been competitive all season long. The reason for that is the spectacular play of Trevor Releford, who caught fire at the end of last season and carried it into this year with 18.1 points per game. He’s joined in the backcourt by another double-figure scorer in Retin Obasoha, so I expect Tim Quarterman’s defensive presence to be counted on. And though Quarterman’s defense has been highly publicized lately, starting point guard Anthony Hickey’s 3.25 assist to turnover ratio is tied for ninth best in the nation. With good perimeter defense and strong play from Johnny O’Bryant and Jordan Mickey in the post, the Tigers should get their second SEC road win, and not only would that be great for LSU’s resume, it would also really build some excitement for Tuesday’s home contest against nationally-ranked Kentucky which will tip-off at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Speaking of Mickey, yesterday it was announced that he is one of nine freshmen on the midseason watch list for the 2014 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award. Now that he’s on the list, Mickey will be given consideration for the Freshman of the Year Award which is presented on April 14 in Oklahoma City. Heading into the season, most expected Jerrell Martin to be the shining freshman star on this Tiger team, and while he has been very good as of late, it’s been Mickey who has really garnered national recognition. Mickey was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week, and is averaging 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He’s also scored in double figures in all but two of his 17 games, and on Tuesday against Missouri he posted his fifth double double with 14 points and a season-equaling 13 rebounds. The talented freshman from Dallas is also on pace to become the only LSU player other than Shaquille O’Neal to block 100 shots, as he leads the league in blocks per game at 3.5.
A couple of friendly reminders in closing:
• LSU’s Craig Loston and Lamin Barrow will be playing in the 2014 Senior Bowl today at 3 p.m. CT on the NFLNetwork. To find out how to catch the NFLNetwork, you can check use their website’s Channel Finder.
• Our DandyDon.com fundraiser is in its final stretch. If you value these daily reports on LSU sporting news, please consider making a pledge today. Click here to find out how and why.
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