NCAA Baseball Championships:
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7/26/14 6:05 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I headed out to the LSU football camp yesterday morning and left extremely impressed with Louisiana’s talent for the class of 2016. I’ve got to admit, with 600+ players participating at the camp it’s hard to tell who is who, but after observing for a few minutes it’s not hard at all to spot the big-time prospects. Some of them stand out by their performance in the drills - such as Isaiah Graham (6-1, 180, Bastrop) who really put on a show during the 7-on-7 portion – and others standout even without seeing them play, just by their size and mannerisms. Two that fit into that category are LSU commit Ed Alexander (DT, 6-2, 310, St. Thomas Aquinas) who is still rehabbing his knee and did not participate, and offensive lineman Willie Allen (OT, 6-7.5, 300, John Curtis) who introduced himself to me in the parking lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Allen in action because I missed the linemen drills. I also didn’t get to see much of running back Devin White (6-0.5, 235, North Webster), but what I did see of him was very impressive and I heard he tore it up on Day 1.
Two more 2016 prospects that really stood out and were interesting to observe working side-by-side were quarterbacks Feliepe Franks and Shea Patterson. Franks (6-5, 205, Crawford, FL) is the dual-threat quarterback who committed to LSU in May. Patterson (6-2 , 195, Calvary Baptist of Shreveport) is the Arizona commit who was recently offered by LSU and whose brother recently left Arizona to take a job with LSU. From what I hear, the chance of Patterson flipping to LSU is extremely high, and if he does, it will be interesting to see whether that affects Frank’s commitment. I enjoyed watching those two quarterbacks (and others) throw the ball, and I especially liked watching Offensive Coordinator Coach Cam Cameron interact with them during the drills. I’ve posted a brief video of Coach Cam coaching up the quarterback prospects during the passing drills. (Franks is the QB on the far right, and Patterson is next to him in the green shorts.) One more tid-bit about those QBs: According to this “bolt” by 247Sports, Coach Cameron used a radar gun to clock all the quarterbacks’ throwing velocity and Franks’ was the highest at 57 mph.
We all know that Louisiana’s 2014 class was something special, but it became clear to me yesterday that the 2016 class is every bit as good or better, and that’s saying a lot.
As for 2015 prospects, LSU defensive back target Donte Jackson (5-11, 175, Riverdale, No. 9 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2015) looked as good as advertised, maybe better. From what I understand, LSU feels confident about reeling him in, but so does Georgia. In the linemen drills (which I didn’t witness), I hear that LSU commit Adrian Magee (OT, 6-5, 315, Franklinton, No. 6 on our list) was once again very impressive, as were North Carolina commit William Sweet (OT, 6-5, 275, Jacksonville, FL) and Tyler Higby (6-4, 286, Houston). Two in-state 2015 linemen who don’t yet hold an LSU offer but were said to be impressive were Jalen Bates (DE, 6-5, 235, Kaplan, No. 20 on our list) and Oshea Dugas (DT, 6-5, 300, Northside, No. 21 on our list).
As for new offers extended, the only one I’ve heard of was to 2016 tight end Jamal Pettigrew (6-6, 218, St. Augustine) who also was outstanding at the camp. The camp continues through today and I would expect a few more offers to be extended to prospects on their way out.
In other news, Major General (ret.) Ron Richard, head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF) for the last 13 years, has stepped down from his post and has been replaced by Rick Perry who was serving as the organization’s senior vice president. General Richard did an outstanding job as TAF President and played a huge role in the completion of several big projects during his tenure, including the construction of the Cox Communication Center for Student Athletes and LSU’s Football Operations Center. I know I speak for many of you when I extend a Tiger salute to General Richard and thank him for his service.
We’ll close out today’s update with our countdown to game day in just a bit, but first a couple of tid-bits to pass along:
• Here’s a good article about LSU basketball commit Ben Simmons which states that he is still solid to the Tigers after an explosive summer.
• LSU picked up a 2016 baseball commitment yesterday from Ouachita Christian junior shortstop Jake Slaughter.
With 35 days remaining until LSU kicks off the 2014 football season against Wisconsin, let’s continue our countdown to game day by remembering an interesting win in LSU’s football history - a 35-10 win over Arkansas in 1999. 11 days prior to the game, Coach Gerry DiNardo was fired after dropping a 20-7 decision to the Houston Cougars in Tiger Stadium. LSU entered the game with a 2-8 record and the hot topic of discussion among Tiger Fans was who would be the next coach. Rich Rodriquez, the offensive genius at Tulane in 1998 when the Greenies finished 12-0, was one of the favorites. Mark Richt, the Florida State Offensive Coordinator was another. Tiger fans were in for a big surprise the following week. With all the speculation surrounding who would be the next coach, the Tigers still had to play a game and the Arkansas Razorbacks presented a formidable challenge for the Tigers and interim head coach Hal Hunter. The Hogs entered the game as a 12-point favorite and were primed for a romp. After Arkansas took an early 3-0 lead, LSU backup quarterback Rohan Davey took over for an ineffective Josh Booty and inspired the Tigers. LSU quickly piled on touchdowns, one of which came on a play when fullback Tommy Banks took out two Razorbacks on a block and Domanick Davis scooted into the end-zone. This game was played on national television and demonstrated the potential that LSU offered an incoming coach. The boos that permeated Tiger Stadium earlier in the season were non-existent on this day as the Tigers took back the boot and proved that they had something to build upon for whichever new coach would take the reins. The following week, LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert pulled a coup with the signing of Nick Saban and LSU would enter the new millennium with excitement abounding for the future of LSU football. (I’d like to thank longtime reader Charlie Duncan for helping with this information. If anyone would like to suggest ideas for numbers 34, 33, 30 and 29, please let me know. )
7/25/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
By the time most of you are reading this I’ll be on my way to Baton Rouge to check out the elite football camp which got underway yesterday. Based on everything I’ve read and heard about Day 1 of the camp, the amount of talent out there is nothing short of spectacular.
A few players who really turned heads were LSU commits Derrius Guice, Dylan Moses and David Ducre who were clocked at blazing speeds in the 40-yard dash. Guice (RB, 5-11, 219, Catholic of Baton Rouge, Class of 2015) ran it in 4.32, while Moses (6-2, 220, LB/RB, University High, Class of 2017) ran it in 4.39. Perhaps even more impressive was fullback David Ducre’s time of 4.41, considering the Mandeville native (Lakeshore High, Class of 2015) tips the scale at nearly 240 pounds. If Guice, Ducré and fellow in-state running back commit Nick Brossette (RB, 6'0", 210, University High, Class of 2015) stick to their commitments and end up signing with LSU in February, can you imagine the level of talent LSU could have in its 2015 backfield with Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams as sophomores, and Guice, Brosette and Ducre as freshmen?
As for other standouts, class of 2016 wide receiver Dee Anderson (6-4, 175, Mesquite, TX) is reported to have been one of the day’s top performers. He, along with fellow 2016 prospects Shyheim Carter (DB, 5-11, 185) of Kentwood and Joshua Perry (S, 6-2, 184) of Amite received LSU offers. As far as I know, no new offers were extended to Class of 2015 prospects, although I would expect a few to be extended offers today. â€¨
Today we’ll continue our series on LSU veteran football players who have kind of flown under the radar or have been lost in the hype surrounding the stellar class of incoming freshmen. The topic of today’s discussion is someone who will have a lot to say about LSU’s success in the season opener against a run-heavy Wisconsin team. Here we go…
There are two positions with uncertainties that could make or break LSU’s season. Of course, the first is quarterback. Will LSU have a quarterback that can manage the game, make key passes when needed and limit turnovers? The other is defensive tackle. Will the young Tiger DTs have enough talent and depth to make up for the loss of starters Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, can they stop vicious running schemes in the SEC, and are there any superstars who can ignite the defense upfront? Christian LaCouture can’t answer all of those questions, but he can be the face of the position and assert his dominance early. Of all the big-time Class of 2013 defensive line recruits LSU signed, it was LaCouture who stood out most as a reserve last season with 11 tackles and one sack in limited action. With both of last year’s starters gone, it’s safe to say that LaCouture will be called on to step up big, and he’ll be tested from the get-go against the powerful running game of Wisconsin. If LaCouture is up to the challenge, as I predict he is, then look for him to become a fan favorite very quickly.
With 36 days remaining until LSU’s season opener, today we’ll continue our countdown to game day by looking at a special player who wore No. 36 – J.W. Brodnax. “Red,” as Brodnax was commonly known, was a tremendous athlete who lettered at LSU from 1956-58 and was MVP of the Tigers’ 1958 National Championship Team. He played his high school ball at Bastrop High where he was an outstanding all-around athlete who made All-State as a running back in football and as a pitcher in baseball. He was also a member of the state championship mile relay track team. Brodnax arrived at LSU as a tailback, but was moved to the less glamorous fullback position in his sophomore year because Coach Paul Dietzel also had Billy Cannon and Johnny Robinson and wanted to utilize all three backs in the Wing-T formation. Red turned out to be a great fullback and his outstanding blocking was a significant factor in the success of Cannon and Robinson. After his days at LSU, Red went on to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, and in the Canadian Football League. Tragically, Brodnax was fatally struck by a van while riding his bicycle in Morgan City in March of 2006.
On a related note, I hope that some of my older readers may be able to help out with a request from Brodnax’s daughter, which I’ve included in the reader comment below.
Reader Comments: Scott: Most of your readers are familiar with the name J.W. "Red" Brodnax. Many will never forget the Brodnax/Cannon duo. J.W.'s oldest child, Debbie, is a clerk at the Ruston Post Office. Today she asked me if I had a Gumbo (LSU yearbook) from her father's years and I told her I did not but that I would try to find one for her. She said as a child they used to look at pictures of her father, but now none exist. So, if any reader has a Gumbo with J.W.'s picture in it and would like to gift it to Debbie, they can mail it to her at the U.S. Post Office, 700 East Georgia, Ruston, LA. 71273 or they can mail it to me, Tom Carey, P.O. Box 217, Ruston, LA 71273 and I will get it/them to her. Thank you for your time and help. I know she will be very grateful.
7/24/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about our series on LSU players who’ve flown under the radar, and about our countdown to game day. We’ll continue both of those in a moment, but first a quick word about recruiting.
LSU’s big “elite” football camp will get underway today and it’s shaping up to be an outstanding camp. I plan on taking some time off from my day job tomorrow morning to head out there and check out the action, and today I’ll be monitoring reports via twitter and checking in with a source who will be on-site. I’ve heard from a few of you who've asked if I expect LSU to receive any commitments during the camp. My answer is that chances are high, although I wouldn’t judge the camps’ success by the number of commitments garnered. Last year was LSU’s most successful camp ever, but they didn’t pick up any commitments during it. What they did, however, was strengthen relationships with a lot of elite athletes who committed later. This year, LSU will be looking to do the same with several highly regarded out-of-state prospects, and in-state sensations like Tyron Johnson (WR, 6-1, 180, Warren Easton, No. 1 on my list of Top Prospects) and Donte Jackson (ATH, 5-11, 175, Riverdale, No 10 on my list). Those two, along with Kirk Merrit (WR, 5-11, 206) of Destrehan and Jerry Tillery (OT, 6-7, 325) of Evangel, are our highest rated in-state talents not currently committed to LSU. Unfortunately, I have not seen any confirmation of Merritt attending the camp, and my best source has informed me that as of now Tillery, a Notre Dame commit, has no plans of being there, although LSU has been gaining ground with him.
Speaking of big-time in-state targets, here’s some encouraging news about 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson, the Arizona commit mentioned in yesterday’s report whose brother has reportedly left Arizona to take a job at LSU. As reported by NOLA.com, Patterson is in Louisiana this week for LSU’s camp and worked out yesterday with 2015 LSU commit Kevin Toliver. Nola.com posted two impressive videos of them working out which I’ve embedded in our media gallery. One of them shows Toliver doing an incredible 57” vertical “box jump.”
In baseball recruiting news, LSU has picked up a commitment from 2015 left-handed pitcher Nick Bush of Leesburg, Ga. From what I understand, Bush had an outstanding Summer with the East Cobb Astros 18U team and has a fast ball that touches the lower 90s. Back in March, Bush received “High Honorable Mention” honors by Perfect Game.
Now let’s jump back to football and continue our series on players who’ve kind of flown under the radar but could be big contributors this season. Today we look at a former high school All-American tight end who could be an important component in this year’s passing game.
The SEC is seemingly lacking in tight ends that can alter the game by their presence on the field in 2014. Auburn’s C.J. Uzomah and Alabama’s O.J. Howard could possibly develop into these type of players, but so far, they have yet to prove it on a consistent basis. The same could be said for LSU’s multiple tight ends, which include the immensely talented DeSean Smith. With the right growth from year one to year two, and Cam Cameron’s brand of tight end scheming, I fully believe Smith could be LSU’s version of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. Spread him out wide, pick your matchup and devastate the defense. Smith’s outstanding speed and athleticism, combined with his height (6-4) make him an ideal “receiving tight end,” and if LSU does in fact utilize the tight ends more in the passing game, as Coach Cameron has suggested they will, Smith could be a difference maker.
With 37 days remaining before LSU’s season-opener against Wisconsin, let’s continue our jersey countdown by looking at one of the all-time greatest Tigers to ever play the game - No. 37, Tommy Casanova. During his time at LSU from 1969-1971, Casanova (6'1", 186) was an extremely versatile athlete who played offense and defense, returned punts and kickoffs, and did just about everything except handle the water cart. Casanova was selected to the College Football All-America Team and the All-SEC Team during each of his three years as a Tiger, and in September of 1971, Sports Illustrated included Casanova on their cover along with the headline, “Tommy Casanova of LSU, Best Player in the Nation.” (Click here to see the cover image.) At that time, Casanova was a top contender for the Heisman Trophy, but a pulled hamstring in the second game of the 1971 season sidelined him for five weeks and pretty much took him out of the running. One of Casanova’s more notable individual performances came in a 1970 LSU win against Ole Miss that wrapped up an Orange Bowl bid for the Tigers. Casanova returned two punts for touchdowns that day, tying a national record, and LSU's Craig Burns added a third. As the Tigers steadily increased their lead in the second half en route to a 61-17 win, LSU fans who hadn't seen their team beat the Rebels since 1964 began to throw oranges on the field. Casanova went on to a successful NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1972-1977 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in ’74, ’75, ’76, and ’77. While playing for the Bengals, Casanova began to pursue his M.D., and in 1977 he quit football to pursue his degree full-time. Casanova is now an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) in his hometown of Crowley, LA.
In closing, I want to pass along a status update on LSU freshman DT Trey Lealaimatafao who was hospitalized Monday after punching through a window at the LSU practice facility and severely injuring his left arm. According to reports, Lealaimatafao has been released from the hospital and is recovering well. There have been no details released about the extent of his injury or how it will affect his playing career, although a full recovery is anticipated.
This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.