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1/31/14 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU football coaching staff has been busy on the recruiting trail, touching base with prospects already committed to LSU and making in-home visits with key targets. Yesterday Coaches Miles, Cameron and Wilson all paid a visit to WR Malachi Dupre, and as you can see from the tweet in the sidebar of this page Dupre called it a “good visit.” Earlier in the day Coaches Saban and Kiffin of Alabama paid Dupre an in-home visit as well. Dupre’s teammate, LSU LB target Kenny Young, was also visited by LSU yesterday. Dupre and Young, along with LSU DL commit Davon Godchaux of Plaquemine, will all be taking official visits to UCLA this weekend, and LSU wanted to make one last face-to-face impression with these key targets before next week’s dead period begins. All signs point to successful visits, but we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out.
In all the time I’ve followed LSU football recruiting, I’ve never seen a year like this one, where we find ourselves with only five days before National Signing Day and so much uncertainty about how the class will finish. Lately I’ve received a wide range of messages about this year’s LSU recruiting efforts, some extremely pessimistic, other exceptionally optimistic. With that in mind, today let’s take a look at the worst- and best-case scenarios within the range of realistic expectations.
Hypothetical worst-case scenario:
• In-state sensations Dupre, Young, and Godchaux all leave the state.
• DE Deondre Clark decides to stay close to home and chooses Oklahoma.
• LSU misses out on both DT Travonte Valentine and DT Trey Lealaimatafao.
• There are no big surprise on signing day like CB Adoree Jackson or DE Lorenzo Carter.
Hypothetical best-case scenario:
• LSU lands Dupre and Young and holds on to Godchaux, giving LSU 10 out of the top-14 on my list of Top LA Prospects for 2014.
• LSU lands Valentine and Lealaimatafao, and holds onto Clark, giving LSU a total of 4 quality DLs (including Godchaux).
• LSU lands one big surprise on Signing Day, like Jackson or Carter.
Both of these scenarios are true possibilities, but the reality will likely fall somewhere between those two extremes. The best-case scenario would probably give LSU the second best class in the national team rankings (it will be almost impossible to surpass Alabama with the class they’re putting together), and arguably the best class in LSU’s history in terms of meeting team needs. The worst-case scenario would probably put LSU somewhere around 10-12, and barring any bizarre last minute flips would still give LSU four of the best players in the nation at their respective positions in RB Leonard Fournette, QB Brandon Harris, LB Clifton Garrett, and S Jamal Adams. How this thing ends is anyone’s guess at this point, but based on what I’m hearing from my sources I predict we’ll have many reasons to smile on National Signing Day.
With the big day quickly approaching, I’ve been making plans for keeping you up-to-date on all the action Wednesday. As we have for the last several years, on NSD we’ll update our page of Commitments/Signees every time the receipt of a player’s official papers are announced by LSU, and we’ll tweet the news to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter. Usually we do that from the Recruiting Bash, but this year things will be a little different with a new start time and new venue for the Bash. As you’ll see in the press release below from the GridIron Club, doors won’t open until 10:30, and by that time many of the papers should already be in. What I plan on doing is having my nephew, John, post the info while I’m en route to Baton Rouge, and then once I’m setup at the Bash and able to take over, he’ll come meet me at our booth which will be situated downstairs near the event center entrance.
I’ve heard from many of you who are not pleased about the new setup for this year’s Bash, and I understand how you feel. In spite of the much pricier entrance fee for the main attraction in the event center (there will be no general admission tickets, and unless you pay $350 per year to be a GridIron Member, or are a VIP, you’ll have to fork out $1,500 to $2,000 for a table of 10), I’m hoping that a large number of you will still make it out and enjoy the festivities throughout the casino where there will be several TVs for live viewing. That’s where John and I will be situated, and I look forward to meeting and speaking to many of you there.
Here’s the official press release about the Bash from the Gridiron Club:
The RobinsonBrothers.com/Tiger Gridiron Club 18th Bayou Bash Recruiting Party is being held on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 at L’auberge Casino Event Center. Doors will be open at 10:30 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-$2,000 each, which includes food and beverages throughout the event. Call Ed Fisher at (225) 767-7699 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 admittance to the event.
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 outlets will be set up in the Stadium Club 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 2013 season, other game films, up to the minute announcement of receipt of recruits’ letters of intent, coaches and former players speaking. LSU coach Les Miles will speak to the audience at 5:30 p.m. about his recruiting class. This is preceded by the LSU Golden Band, cheerleaders, Mike the Tiger and Golden Girls.
While at the Bash, I’ll be passing out hardcopies of my Top Louisiana Football Prospects for 2015. So far I’ve revealed numbers 11-50, and today I’ll continue with numbers 6-10. Monday we’ll do 1-5 and Tuesday I’ll probably add numbers 51-60. My complete list, which will be posted Wednesday morning, will include a top-100 and a few that I call “Best of the Rest.”
6. Kevin Henry (S), 6’1”, 200, Central of BR - LSU Commitment
7. Jerry Tillery (OT), 6’6”, 315, Evangelâ€¨
8. Xavier Lewis (CB), 6’0”, 175, East St. John - LSU Commitment â€¨
9. Grant Burguillos (OL), 6’4”, 280, Mandeville
10. John Washington (DT), 6’3”, 290, West Monroe
In basketball news, LSU’s Lady Tigers improved to 17-4 on the season (6-2 in SEC play) with a 65-56 win over Mississippi State. The Tigers trailed 36-31 at the break after turning the ball over 15 times in the first half, but settled down in the second half and turned the ball over only four times in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers were led in scoring by Shanece McKinney who poured in a career-high 19 points by shooting a flawless 7-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Raigyne Moncrief garnered a SEC season-high of 17 points, while Jeanne Kenney added 13 points and seven assists. The reigning SEC Player of the Week, Theresa Plaisance, secured 12 points to run her streak to 11 consecutive outings with 10-plus points. Next up for the Lady Tigers is a road trip to No. 13 Kentucky on Sunday. Tip time is slated for 11 a.m. CT, and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Network (FSN) along with www.WatchESPN.com.
A little later this morning I’ll be heading out to Baton Rouge to attend LSU’s Baseball Media Day. The event starts at noon and will be followed by a 3:15 baseball practice. The practice is open to the public, and there should be great spring-like weather with a temperatures in the upper 60s. There’s nothing better for bringing on a case of Spring Fever than sitting in Alex Box Stadium under clear blue skies on a sunshiny day. I can hardly wait. Tomorrow I’ll give you a full report on what I see and hear.
Last but not least, I need to remind you that our annual DandyDon.com fundrasier will end Wednesday, and encourage those of you who haven’t yet done so to please consider pledging your support today. After Wednesday, you won’t be bothered by these appeals until next December. Thanks in advance for your support.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s something to share with your readers. Dale Brown speaks out on changes needed to college basketball: Hey, college basketball: What can Brown do for you? LSU's former coach has a few ideas
1/30/14 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU picked up its 19th commitment for 2014 yesterday in ATH Russell Gage (6’0”, 175) of Redemptorist High School. Gage is a hard-working, versatile athlete who played virtually every snap last season on both sides of the ball for Redemptorist. On offense he starred as the team’s quarterback but also lined up some at wide receiver. On defensive he was a ballhawk defensive back, and on special teams he was an elusive return man. Gage is projected to play cornerback at LSU.
I’ve heard from some of you who are bothered by the fact that Gage is “only a three-star prospect,” but I want to remind you that while the star system is nice, it’s far from perfect. (Jacob Hester and Morris Claiborne come to mind.) You can judge for yourself just how good Gage is by taking a look at this 10-minute highlight reel from his senior season. I might add that Coach Cam Cameron personally recruited Gage, and if he’s good enough for him and Coach Miles, he’s certainly good enough for me.
Speaking of Coach Cam Cameron, yesterday Gil Brandt of NFL.com tweeted that Cameron was officially offered an OC job in the NFL and turned it down. He didn’t specify which team offered, but it is widely believed to be the Cleveland Browns.
Before leaving the topic of football, I’ll go ahead and continue revealing my list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2015 by posting numbers 11-15. Here we go…
11. T. D. Moton (DT) 6’4”, 310, Woodlawn of Shreveport
12. David Ducre (RB), 6’0”, 228, Lakeshore
13. Deshawn Capers-Smith (ATH), 6’1”, 175, Easton
14. Daylon Charlot (WR), 6’1”, 182, Patterson
15. Bry’Keithen Mouton (TE), 6’2”, 230, Acadiana
In basketball news, the Tiger Nation is still buzzing about the big win Tuesday night, and rightfully so. Yesterday I stated that the starting lineup Coach Jones used – Anthony Hickey, Shavon Coleman, Jarrell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Johnny O’Bryant – was the best starting five he’s put on the floor this season. The Tigers’ 87-82 victory against Kentucky can surely attest to that. Hickey, Mickey and O’Bryant are the staples in the lineup, starting every game since December. Martin, Coleman, Malik Morgan and Andre Stringer have been the interchangeable parts. Since Coleman became the starting forward in place of Martin against South Carolina, he’s averaged 12.6 points per game. The confidence Coleman has gained is evident in the scoring column, scoring 19 against Missouri, 13 against Alabama and 14 against Kentucky in his last three outings. Martin, on the other hand, has settled down and found a role within the offense as an aggressive wing man. He proved that last night by hitting a 3-pointer early and consistently hitting the boards and playing assertive. With both on the floor to start the game, the energy level rose and the quality of scorers aided LSU toward a 22-6 run.
It’s no secret that length has been LSU’s achilles heel often this season. Martin’s maturity and Coleman’s increased production gave Jones enough confidence to put a big lineup on the floor. Though Stringer has proven to be one of the best 3-point shooters in school history, his 5’10” frame gives up size on the defensive side of the court. Malik Morgan, who replaced Stringer in SEC play, stands at 6’4” but averages only 4.7 points per game. With both Coleman and Martin joining Mickey and O’Bryant, the Tigers get two players with length and scoring ability. Jones will likely have to alter lineups according to matchups in the future, but I like to think Jones enjoyed watching these five press the action against one of the best teams in the SEC last night.
In baseball news, LSU came in at No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll which was released yesterday. In the three other preseason polls released this year LSU has come in at No. 3 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 9 (Baseball America) and No. 12 (Perfect Game). Here is the full press release as sent out by LSU on this latest ranking:
LSU RANKED NO. 2 IN 2014 USA TODAY COACHES PRESEASON POLL
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU is ranked No. 2 in the 2014 USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll released Wednesday. Cal State Fullerton is No. 1 in the poll, followed by LSU, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia, Oregon, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and UCLA.
The preseason ranking is LSU’s highest since 2010, when the Tigers also began the season at No. 2.
Along with LSU, No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 8 Vanderbilt, SEC teams appearing in the poll include No. 14 South Carolina and No. 20 Florida. Louisiana-Lafayette, a 2014 LSU opponent, is ranked No. 24 in the poll.
LSU, led by eighth-year coach Paul Mainieri, was ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll released in December and No. 9 in the Baseball America magazine preseason poll released earlier this week.
The Tigers, who began preseason workouts on Saturday, open the 2014 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 14 versus New Orleans in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The 2014 roster features 18 lettermen, including nine position players with starting experience and nine pitchers that have recorded innings for the Tigers. The LSU veterans are complemented by a talented class of 19 newcomers, rated No. 6 in the nation last month in the annual Perfect Game recruiting ranking.
LSU features two first-team preseason all-Americans – junior pitcher Aaron Nola, the 2013 SEC Pitcher of the Year; and sophomore shortstop Alex Bregman, the 2013 National Freshman of the Year.
Other returning position players include senior all-SEC third baseman Christian Ibarra, senior outfielder Sean McMullen, junior outfielder Chris Sciambra, junior catcher/infielder Tyler Moore, junior outfielder Jared Foster, sophomore outfielder Mark Laird, sophomore outfielder Andrew Stevenson and sophomore catcher Chris Chinea.
Nola is joined on the pitching staff by several capable veterans including senior right-hander Kurt McCune, junior left-hander Cody Glenn and junior right-hander Joe Broussard, who returns this season after receiving a medical redshirt in 2013 due to an elbow injury.
Lastly, I’ve got to remind you that there are only seven days remaining in our annual fundraiser and encourage you to please donate today if you haven’t already done so. A lot of work goes into producing these reports (365 days a year for over 17 years now), and there’s no better way to show your appreciation than by pledging your financial support.
Reader Comments: Scott, You may want to share this article on Trindon Holliday with your readers as he gets set for playing in the Super Bowl this weekend.
Reader Comments: The LSU men’s basketball team will compete in November’s Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands! Here’s the story from the Virgin Island Daily News.
1/29/14 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Whoa! What a game as the LSU basketball team picked up its best win of the season in a huge 87-82 upset over Kentucky on ESPN! LSU never trailed against the favored Wildcats, who came into the game ranked 11th nationally. Considering the caliber of opponent, Johnny O’Bryant III submitted the best performance of his career with 29 points (one shy of his 30-point career high) and nine rebounds. Anthony Hickey, who always seems to play his best ball against Kentucky, was fabulous with 12 points and five assists, while Jordan Mickey continued to prove why he’s the SEC’s best shot blocker (five blocks against the Wildcats).
Though it was 25 degrees in Baton Rouge, the Tigers came out spitting fire in the PMAC, shooting 71 percent through the first four minutes of the game. The Tigers’ early 12-4 lead was created by turnovers on the defensive end (Kentucky had more turnovers than points five minutes into the game). The Tigers fed off of Johnny O’Bryant, who scored 10 points before receiving his first break of action. He would have 15 points in the first half alone. The Tigers began the game on a 22-6 run, shooting 63 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point land with 11:30 to play. The Wildcats would battle back though, eventually going on an 8-0 run to erase the deficit to six. The run occurred with Hickey sitting on the bench, and his absence was noticeable. The former Mr. Basketball in Kentucky had only four points in the first half, but his vision and passing precision helped him beat Kentucky’s full press and create great shot attempts for his teammates. The Tigers’ hustle and 50 percent field goal percentage allowed LSU to take a 42-36 lead into the locker room.
LSU’s hot shooting continued in the second. The Tigers shot 60 percent through the first eight minutes of the second half (2-for-2 from 3-point land) and jumped out to a 62-48 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer. Shavon Coleman was a staple on the boards for LSU with nine rebounds, and he also had 14 points. LSU out-rebounded Kentucky 21-18 in the second half, which helped LSU complete the upset. I thought LSU’s lineup (Anthony Hickey, Shavon Coleman, Jarrell Martin, Jordan Mickey and O’Bryant) was the best starting five it’s produced all season long. It paid dividends against one of the best teams in the SEC, and I’ll have more on that tomorrow.
A few more tid-bits about the game: • About 3,500 LSU students braved the elements and turned out to support the Tigers, and that was great to see. • The victory marked the first time LSU has beaten a ranked Kentucky team since 2000. • Here are the game’s video highlights for your enjoyment.
Next up for the Tigers (13-6) is a return to the PMAC for an encounter against SEC West foe Arkansas (13-7) this Saturday. The Tigers and Hogs are set for a 4 p.m. tip and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
Now turning to football recruiting news, yesterday I mentioned that this year’s signing class will hold us in suspense all the way through National Signing Day, and now it appears that the suspense may last even longer. According to an article by the Oklahoman, DE Deondre Clark will probably wait until after he returns from playing in the International Bowl, an event between Team USA and Team Canada that will be held Feb. 7 in Arlington, Texas, before announcing his final decision. Clark says he remains committed to LSU, but his mother has said that she wants him to stay close to home and play for Oklahoma. A while back there were rumblings of family health issues that might cause Clark to want to stay closer to home, and if that is the case I would certainly understand, but so far I have not been able to find any reported statement backing that rumor. Whatever the case may be, I hope the coaching staffs are kept in the loop and know his decision beforehand so that they can plan accordingly.
In other recruiting news, yesterday LSU commit Jacory Washington caused a lot of excitement among Tiger fans when he tweeted that a big commitment is coming LSU’s way. Immediately, the messages boards filled with speculation. The general consensus is that he was referring to one of two prospects, DT Trey Lealaimatafao or Adoree Jackson, since Washington spent a lot of time with Jackson at the Under Armor All- Star game and got to know Lealaimatafao during his visit to LSU a couple of weekends ago. Both are set to make their announcements on National Signing Day, and Jackson’s will be made publicly on ESPN at 1:05 CT. LSU is clearly a contender with both players and it is quite possible that both will be Tigers when it’s all said and done, but if I had to pick the more likely candidate of the two it would be Lealaimatafao. Last week Mike Detillier spoke to Lealaimatafao and got the impression that it was down to LSU and Oregon with the Ducks perhaps holding a slight edge, but since then Lealaimatafao has visited Oregon and there are signs that he was not blown away with his experience in Eugene. At this point in time, if I had to guess how this class would finish, I’d go with the two guys from Florida (DT Valentine and OT Derrick Kelley), the two from Texas (DT Lealaimatafao and WR Emanuel Porter), and two or three others from WR Malachi Dupre, LB Kenny Young, CB Russell Gage, CB Adoree Jackson or someone not currently on the radar. If that holds true, this will be an exceptional class, and if one of those “others” I mentioned is in fact Jackson, then we’ll start the debate about whether this class is up there with LSU’s best of all time. Of course, that’s a lot of “ifs.” Recruiting, you’ve gotta love it!
Before leaving topic, let’s go ahead and continue the revealing of my Top Louisiana Football Prospects for 2015 by looking at numbers 16-20. Here we go…
16. Derrick Dillon (ATH) 5’11”, 170, Pine
17. Adrian Magee (OL), 6’4”, 290, Franklinton
18. Christian Campbell (WR) 6’1”, 185, Ponchatoula
19. Rhashid Bonnette (WR) 6’0”, 175, Loreauvilleâ€¨
20. Michael Dunman (TE), 6’5”, 251, Byrd
In other news, yesterday it was announced that LSU’s Baseball Media Day is now scheduled for this Friday. The event has already been postponed twice due to inclement weather, but if the latest forecasts are accurate Friday should feel a lot more like baseball weather with highs in the mid-60s.
A friendly reminder in closing: Our fundraiser drive is in its final stretch. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider showing your appreciation for the daily reports by donating today. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Reader comments: Scott, here’s another article about Mettenberger’s recovery. Looks like his rehab is going well. LSU's Zach Mettenberger is making good progress rehabilitating his surgically repaired knee
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