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7/16/17 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
At this time of year, things are a bit slow in LSU news, but that will soon change with the season beginning in less than seven weeks and preseason camp getting under way just two weeks from tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ll continue to keep you up-to-speed on any news as it occurs, while also periodically sharing with you a few thoughts on the 2017 Tigers with a series of write-ups like the one below. And, of course, there’s our ongoing countdown to Game Day which is quickly zooming by. So, without further ado, pour yourself that cup of Sunday joe and let’s get to it.
Getting on the field first as a starter is the goal of every athlete, but football requires a lot more than the 22 guys listed as starters. In fact. it’s usually the deeper teams that are most successful. LSU will field a talented starting 11 on both sides of the ball this season, but who steps in when needed may determine which direction the Tigers’ season takes. Below is a look at a few Tiger backups on defense who expect to emerge this season. We’ll do the same on offense in a subsequent report.
A few Tiger backups on defense who we expect to emerge this season:
LB Michael Divinity
The talented New Orleans kid stuck a toe in the water last season, logging snaps in nine games as a freshman but with minimal impact. Look for that to change dramatically on a defense that may take some time to gel. It looks like Dave Aranda will lean on veterans early on, with senior Donnie Alexander and sophomore Devin White starting as inside linebackers and senior linebacker Corey Thompson starting at the F linebacker spot, but with Divinity’s athleticism and play-making ability, Thompson may have a hard time remaining at the top of the depth chart.
LBs Ray Thornton and/or K’Lavon Chaisson
Of course, the one linebacker position not mentioned in the above paragraph is the Buck outside linebacker spot that junior Arden Key has manned the last two seasons. With Key likely to miss all of preseason camp and a couple of games early in the season, someone has to step up. We have redshirt freshman Ray Thornton listed second on our unofficial depth chart behind Key but everything we’ve heard about true freshman K’Lavon Chaisson indicates that is going to be very hard to keep off the field. Each of these youngsters will see increased reps in practice and will have a golden opportunity to establish himself as the starter while Key is out and as a key backup when Key returns.
S Grant Delpit
It’s a little early to peg anybody as the next Jamal Adams, but Orgeron didn’t exactly shy away from that notion following the spring game. Delpit, an early enrollee from IMG Academy, recorded four tackles and a pass breakup/near interception in the pre-lightning delay of that game, prompting Orgeron to say “He’s physical. He’s very fluid. He moves well back there. He’s a little bit like Jamal Adams, to be honest with you.” At 6-foot-3 and 193 pounds, Delpit is a bit slighter than Adams and that could limit him early on, but if he can pack on some weight and prove his durability, it’s conceivable he could create a huge impact in a restructured secondary.
Now let's move on to our countdown to game day, which is 48 days away, by revisiting a famous moment in LSU football history and a special Tiger who wore No. 48 from 1972-74, Brad Davis. The “Hammond Hammer,” as he was known, was one of the school’s leading rushers of all time. While at LSU, Davis earned Academic All-SEC, All-SEC, and All-America honors, but what he’s most remembered for is his game-tying touchdown reception on November 4, 1972, in Tiger Stadium against Ole Miss on a day now referred to as “the day the clock stood still.” The 6th ranked Tigers trailed the Rebels 16-10 with a little more than three minutes to go in the game. LSU put together an impressive 80-yard drive as quarterback Bert Jones marched the team down the field and near the end zone. After a short incompletion to Jimmy LeDoux at the goal line, the game clock still showed one second remaining. Ole Miss fans could not believe that time had not expired on the play because there were only four seconds on the clock when the play began. Bert Jones used the precious last second to loft a touchdown pass to Davis to tie the score at 16-16. Rusty Jackson added the PAT for one of the most memorable victories in LSU football history. The last second clock issue inspired a sign at the Louisiana state line that read “You are now entering Louisiana. Set your clocks back four seconds.” The game was made all the more memorable by the exciting play-by-play call of John Ferguson who broadcast LSU sports for more than 40 years. I think many of you will get a kick out of listening (or re-listening) to Ferguson's call from that famous moment in LSU football history.
In baseball news, LSU picked up a commitment yesterday from Class of 2018 right-handed pitcher Chase Costello of Pompano Beach, Florida. Costello is 6-foot-5, 190 pounds and has a fastball that touches 94 mph. According to the Sun Sentinel, Costello went 7-1 on the mound this past season as a junior with 2.04 ERA and 49 Ks. He also batted .329 with four home runs and 24 RBI as a third-hitting shortstop.
And while on the topic of baseball, LSU announced yesterday that Coach Mainieri’s annual summer media press conference will be held this Wednesday, July 19. I look forward to attending and hearing Mainieri’s thoughts on the 2018 team roster, including the Tigers’ incoming recruiting class.
Side note: Reading the school’s announcement about the upcoming baseball press conference reminded me of how rough things were in South Louisiana this time last year. You might recall that LSU had to postpone last year’s summer presser because of the tragic shooting of three Baton Rouge police officers and then had to later cancel the rescheduled event because of the historic flooding. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year already.
As I do most weeks, I’ll leave you with a good read to go along with your second cup of coffee. This one, by The Advocate, takes a look inside SEC football revenue and profit numbers to show what writer Ross Dellenger describes as the glaring differences between the haves and have-nots in college football's richest league.
That’s it for today, folks. Now I’ve got to get ready to clean up a yard full of toilet paper. That’s right, our house was TP’d last night, courtesy of about 40 Lafayette High School seniors doing their part to initiate my freshman daughter into the Mighty Lion’s Marching Band. My yard is a mess, but this proud Papa doesn’t mind one bit.
7/15/17 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The preseason Media Days All-SEC teams were announced yesterday and seven Tigers made the cut. RB Derrius Guice and LB/DE Arden Key earned spots on the First Team, with Guice also earning a spot on the second team as an All-Purpose back. OL K.J. Malone, DL Christian LaCouture and DB Donté Jackson were selected as second team members. Center Will Clapp and DL Rashard Lawrence earned third-team recognition.
In addition to picking the preseason All-SEC teams, the media predicted the league’s final standings and pegged LSU to finish third in the SEC West behind Alabama and Auburn. Georgia was predicted to win the East while Bama was picked to win the SEC Championship. With this being somewhat of a transitional year for LSU (new head coach, new offensive coordinator, new running backs coach, new wide receiver coach), and with LSU having lost three first-round draft picks – not to mention the Tigers’ brutal schedule which includes five SEC road games – it’s not hard to understand why LSU wasn’t picked higher. Still, I think a lot of folks are sleeping on these Tigers, which is just fine by me.
We’ll jump back to football with our Game Day Countdown in a bit, but first a quick follow up on baseball…
Turning to the diamond, yesterday I wrote a bit about Coach Paul Mainieri’s No. 1 and No. 2 priorities for next season being rebuilding the pitching staff and the catching position, and there’s some info to pass along on two players who could help with that task.
One is catcher Hunter Feduccia, originally of Barbe High School, who is transferring to LSU from LSU-Eunice. Feduccia has been playing for the Rockford Rivets in the Northwoods League and has been putting on a show behind at the plate, both offensively and defensively. Thursday night he went 2-4 with a home run (his 7th) and a triple, and the night before he hit a game-tying home run in the 8th and another dinger in the 9th to win it. Experienced and talented, Feduccia could be an immediate impact player next season.
As for the pitching position, former E.D. White Catholic right-hander Cameron Sanders is heading to LSU and could also make an immediate impact. Sanders has spent the last two years at Northwest Florida State College and was selected in the 18th round of this year’s MLB draft, but has decided to head to LSU to further his development and improve his draft stock. According to this article by houmatoday.com, Sanders can touch 96 miles per hour with his fastball and also throws a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. The article also notes that Sanders is the son of Scott Sanders, a former Nicholls State University pitcher who was drafted by San Diego in the first round of the 1990 draft.
I look forward to learning more about these potentially impactful transfers when Coach Mainieri announces all the newcomers in the coming weeks.
Now, let’s jump back to football and our countdown to Game Day, which is 49 days away, by looking at one of the best athletes to ever wear No. 49 for LSU - Todd Kinchen. Before coming to LSU, Kinchen was already known across the state as a freakishly talented athlete. At Trafton Academy in Baton Rouge, Kinchen was the Class AA Most Valuable Player in football, the second-leading scorer on his state championship basketball team, a star shortstop and outfielder on his state championship baseball team, an all-district long jumper in track, and a regional finalist in tennis. Kinchen came to LSU in 1988 with a lot of fanfare, but his college football career got off to a slow start after he suffered a season-ending injury as a freshman on the first day of fall drills. By the time Kinchen left LSU, however, he had worked himself into the LSU record books by finishing with the fifth most receiving yards in school history (1,991) and the fourth most career receptions (112). The best game of his career was against Mississippi State when he caught nine passes for an SEC record 248 yards, earning him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. In addition to being an All-SEC wide receiver, Kinchen was also a heck of a punt returner. In his senior season, he returned punts for touchdowns in back-to-back games against Arkansas State and Kentucky.
After graduating from LSU, Kinchen was selected in the third round of the 1992 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He went on to play seven years in the NFL (with Los Angeles, St. Louis, Denver, and Atlanta), and currently holds an NFL record for scoring two touchdowns on punt returns in a single game.
Kinchen comes from a great Tiger bloodline as his father, Gaynell “Gus” Kinchen, was a member of the 1958 LSU Tigers football team and one of the famed Chinese Bandits. Todd’s brother, Brian, also played football at LSU (and in the NFL), as did Brian’s two sons, Austin and Hunter Kinchen, who were long snappers for the Tigers from 2010-11. I’ve added Todd Kinchen’s video highlights to our Media Gallery for your enjoyment.
At this point in our countdown, I’d definitely be remiss to not give a shout out to LSU’s current No. 49 – Arden Key. An Atlanta (Ga.) native, Key had an outstanding sophomore season that included 56 tackles and 12 sacks, which tied for the school record. Key sat out this past spring for personal reasons and will likely miss all of preseason camp and even possibly some games after having shoulder surgery in May. It was reported in June that Key played much of last season with the injured shoulder, which got progressively worse, so much so that wore a protective brace in the Tigers’ Citrus bowl victory vs. Louisville. The good news is that Coach Orgeron recently said Key’s surgery was successful, and then just yesterday Key tweeted, “Feel good, doing good, ahead of schedule.”
Today’s closing tidbits:
• Here’s another one for those of you keeping track of LSU watch list nominations: Donté Jackson made the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award given to the best defensive back in college football.
• Congratulations to former LSU basketball player Antonio Blakeney for signing a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls. Basically, two-way contracts allow NBA franchises to sign two players, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster, who will split their time between the franchise’s NBA team and their D-League affiliate. Blakeney’s deal followed a strong week he had for the Bulls’ Summer League team, where he averaged 16.8 points and five rebounds in four games. Here’s wishing him continued success.
• Lastly, we updated our Ticket Exchange again with a few new listings.
Have a great Saturday, Tiger Fans.
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.