NCAA Baseball Championships:
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12/05/17 5:25 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Tuesday Tidbits - Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick Hitters
1. First, big congratulations to six LSU Tigers who landed on the AP’s All-SEC teams. These include four first-team selections – center Will Clapp, edge rusher Arden Key, linebacker Devin White and freshman cornerback Greedy Williams – and two second-team selections in running back Derrius Guice and DJ Chark who was selected as an “all-purpose” player. Get this: Greedy Williams is just the second LSU freshman to land on an AP All-SEC team in the last 30 years (the other was punter Brad Wing in 2011) and is the first LSU defender to ever do so.
2. LSU’s six selections to the All-SEC teams were tied for second-most in the league, along with Auburn, Georgia, and Florida. As expected, Alabama led the league with 11 selections.
3. While speaking of national awards, congratulations to LSU’s Will Clapp for being named one of three finalists for the prestigious Rimington Trophy, presented annually to the most outstanding center in college football. The other two finalists are Ohio State's Billy Price and Alabama's Bradley Bozeman. The winner will be awarded the trophy during an ESPNU broadcast this Thursday, December 7.
4. Lately, we’ve been recognizing a few special Tigers by naming Breakthrough Players, Unsung Heroes, Offensive MVPs and Defensive MVPs. Today we’ll wrap up the series with a brief word on our Special Teams MVP - senior Russell Gage. Honestly, he was a super easy choice for this honor. From downing a punt at the Gators’ 4 in the final minutes of LSU’s 17-16 win over Florida to recovering a muffed punt in soggy Neyland Stadium, Gage was all over the field on special teams. He was also responsible for some of the most memorable offensive plays of the season, including a 70-yard run against Auburn to set up LSU’s first TD and a diving touchdown catch in the same game that was easily the Tigers’ best catch of the year.
5. Now that we’ve profiled 13 Tiger standouts from the regular season, we’d like to hear from you. Please take a moment to vote in our annual poll asking “Who was LSU’s Regular Season MVP this year?”
6. In recruiting news, DL Ja’Quon Griffin (6-0, 265) has de-committed from LSU. You might recall that Griffin was one of three prospect from Rome, Georgia who committed to LSU the day of the Spring Game. All three have since de-committed. This is not unexpected and not a negative as it leaves LSU with space to add one of the many more highly-rated prospects on their board. With his de-commitment, LSU now has 18 commitments for 2018.
7. Head coach Ed Orgeron and tight ends coach Steve Ensminger reportedly went in-home with 5-star QB Justin Rogers yesterday, while recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Tommie Robinson reportedly visited with 4-star QB target James Foster. Notably absent from the coaches listed above is offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Matt Canada.
8. While on the topic of quarterbacks, LSU appears to have let a good one slip away when former LA Gatorade Player of the Year Lindsey Scott transferred back in August. Scott was just named JUCO Player of the Year after completing 258-of-398 passes for 3,481 yards and 29 TDs and leading EMCC to the JUCO National Championship.
9. LSU continues to give a lot of attention to prized linebacker commit Damone Clark of Southern Lab and has really turned up the heat since Texas and their school of chemical engineering made a big impression on him during his official visit to Austin. He’ll be one to watch down the stretch.
10. Speaking of LSU-Texas battles, one is heating up for one of LSU’s top defensive back targets, Anthony Cook. ESPN’s Gerry Hamilton reports that the five-star cornerback will choose between LSU, Texas, and Ohio State on December 20. Texas has long been considered his leader but I hear LSU has made up a lot of ground lately. And on a related note, LSU extended an offer yesterday to another 2018 cornerback, Iowa commit DJ Johnson.
11. How about a little baseball news in December? As first reported by The Advocate, LSU sophomores Rankin Woley and Mason Templet have been granted releases to transfer. Woley, who saw limited playing time last year, was suspended for a violation of team rules and missed the annual Purple & Gold World Series last month. Templet, a kid from my neck of the woods down here in Lafayette, saw even less playing time last year and evidently didn’t see a lot in his future at LSU. Here’s wishing the two all the best wherever they land.
12. Remember folks, we’re working on our list of Top LA Football Prospects for the Class of 2019 and welcome your input. It’s always relatively easy to identify the top 30 or 40 prospects in a class, especially one as loaded as Louisiana’s 2019 class is, but at DandyDon.com we always take it much further. Unlike any other list we know of, ours usually contains 125-180 prospects in order to give recognition to as many in-state prospects as possible. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the list, please let us know. Stats and videos links are encouraged.
13. After tweeting a picture of the seafood gumbo I made earlier in the week, a few folks have asked me to include the recipe as today’s Lagniappe tidbit. Sorry to say, it was good, but not quite good enough to post just yet. I’m very versed in Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, but will need to give the seafood thing another whirl or two to get it up to snuff before sharing. But if you’ve got a seafood craving, I have the utmost confidence in recommending this Corn and Crab Bisque recipe, this Cajun Shrimp Stew, or any other recipe you’ll find on our Recipes page. Bon appétit!
Do you appreciate the newsy tidbits and occasional tasty lagniappe you get in our quick-hitting, easily-accessible format? If so, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser today. To find out how to do so and why it’s important, please click here.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans!
12/04/17 5:20 am CST
A New Year’s Bowl game against Notre Dame in sunny Orlando… I’ll take it! As most of you have heard by now, the No. 17 LSU Tigers are returning to the Citrus Bowl, this time to face a 14th ranked Fighting Irish team that should provide a great matchup for the Fighting Tigers. All things considered, I think this is about the best draw LSU could ask for. The game will mark the Tigers’ second consecutive trip to the Citrus Bowl (fifth overall) while providing an opportunity to avenge the Tigers’ 31-28 loss to Notre Dame in the 2014 Music City Bowl when the two teams last met. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) and the game will be televised to a national audience on ABC. Bring it on!
Interested in attending the game? LSU has announced that season ticket holders will receive their full request for the Citrus Bowl while others can purchase tickets using the following links: Public Tickets | Student Tickets
For those of you who have asked where LSU will be staying, I have not received that information yet, though I do know that it probably won’t be the same location as last year. Also, the many events scheduled for the team will be different so as to give the Tigers’ a brand new experience in Orlando. We’ll have more on that as details emerge, and we’ll have plenty of time to break down the two teams in the next four weeks.
In the meantime, with a little over two weeks until the early signing period, recruiting will remain a hot topic of discussion. LSU’s 2018 recruiting class currently contains 19 commitments and is ranked No. 13 in 247Sports’ composite team rankings. By comparison, last year at about this time LSU’s 2017 class had 18 commitments – highlighted by five-star JaCoby Stevens and ten four-star prospects – and was ranked No. 5 in the nation. That class ended up dropping to No. 7 in the final Signing Day rankings despite a strong finish that saw the additions of previously uncommitted targets K’Lavon Chaisson, Tyler Taylor, and Todd Harris. As for this year’s class, its eight four-stars and 11 three-stars don't make it as flashy as recent classes, but as I’ll point out below, that could change big-time with the addition of a few top targets that appear to be leaning LSU’s way.
FIVE TIGER TARGETS WHO COULD MAKE LSU’S RECRUITING CLASS A GREAT ONE:
CB Patrick Surtain 6-2, 181, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Surtain is the No. 1 ranked cornerback in the nation and the No. 4 overall prospect (regardless of position) in the country. Landing him would be a major coup for an LSU program that prides itself on being DBU. The good news is that LSU appears to be his clear leader. The Seminoles have long been considered LSU’s biggest threat for Surtain’s signature one has to think that Jimbo Fisher’s departure from Florida State only bolsters LSU’s chances.
WR Terrace Marshall, 6-3, 192, Parkway High
Marshall is not only the No. 1 player in Louisiana, he’s also the No. 1 wide receiver in the country. As with Surtain, LSU has been considered the favorite with Marshall for a long time and recent coaching changes at other schools could play into his decision. Marshall recently named LSU, Texas A&M, and Florida State as his top three, and it will be interesting to see how Fisher’s move to A&M affects his decision. At this point, LSU is still heavily favored to land his signature.
QB Justin Rogers, 6-4, 210, Parkway High
Although this newly-minted five-star has been committed to TCU since May 31, LSU is still very much in the picture. Rogers and Marshall visited LSU together for the A&M game and both left very impressed with what they saw from an LSU offense that racked up 45 points and 601 yards, including 347 yards through the air. Rogers remains committed to TCU and at this point, I’m not ready to call LSU his leader, though Coach Orgeron has put himself in a very competitive position, thanks in large part to the concern he’s shown for Rogers since he suffered a season-ending knee injury in early September.
Kelvin Joseph, 6-2, 191, Scotlandville Magnet
Joseph is the second-ranked player on our list of Top LA Prospects and is the No. 3 safety in the country. As many of you will recall, Joseph committed to LSU in February but then re-opened his recruitment in October. Joseph, who maintains that LSU is his leader, has visited Florida State and is scheduled to visit Clemson, Alabama and LSU before making a late decision. His announcement will likely be the hot topic of discussion for Tiger Fans on National Signing Day.
Badara Traore, 6-8, 315, ASA College
Traore is the No. 1 JUCO offensive tackle in the country and a huge priority, literally and figuratively, for coach Ed Orgeron. After making the long trip from New York to Baton Rouge for his official visit, Traore has raved about the atmosphere in Tiger Stadium during the big win over A&M and seems more likely than ever to sign with LSU. Traore’s decision could come soon and I predict it will be a welcomed one for Tiger Fans.
Of course, there are a lot more major targets in play for LSU. These include running backs Harold Joiner and Pooka Williams, a host of talented receivers, defensive lineman Dominic Livingston and several other prospects we’ll discuss in the coming weeks. By the way, Livingston is now set to take his official visit to LSU this weekend and is one to watch.
Now, as promised, let’s continue our series on Tigers who really stood out this season with a look at a few defensive MVPs. In case you missed the previous installments of the series, we named Foster Moreau and Greedy Williams as Breakout Players, Will Clapp and Greg Gilmore as Unsung Heroes and Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams, Danny Etling and DJ Chark as Offensive MVPs.
LSU 2017 DEFENSIVE MVPs
LB Devin White, 6-1, 248, So.
White should get some votes for SEC Defensive Player of the Year after four times being named the league's Defensive Player of the Week. He was clearly the Tigers' defensive touchstone with his passion and leadership. White led the SEC with 127 tackles, 12.5 of them for loss and 3.5 of those sacks. He picked off one pass, broke up three and recovered a fumble while playing sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line. He also took charge of the defense, calling the signals and exhorting his teammates. When the effort wasn't good, he called out the defense, himself included, and fans saw an improved product the following week.
DL Christian LaCouture, 6-5, 292, Sr.
More of a quiet leader than White, LaCouture was a rock of stability on the defensive line that was ravaged by injuries in the early going. He was versatile enough to play any of the line spots, and second on the team with 63 tackles. His six sacks were more than his three previous seasons combined. He also broke up four passes and had three quarterback hurries. Also worth noting, LaCouture was coming off major knee surgery that cost him the 2016 season and still didn't miss a single start. After torn ACLs, players usually don't get back to 100 percent until the second season after they return, which bodes well for LaCouture at the next level.
DE Rashard Lawrence, 6-3, 300, So.
Coach Ed Orgeron all but said Lawrence was the Tigers’ most important defensive player when he was missing during a three-game span in which LSU lost twice. He played nine games with nine starts and had 26 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks with three hurries and a pass breakup. But his value was in his quickness and strength. Lawrence’s presence forced opponents to double team or run away from his side, and sometimes even a double-team wasn't enough to keep him out of the backfield. Like White, Lawrence is a leader who will be counted upon heavily by the 2018 Tiger defense.
CB Donté Jackson, 5-11, 175, Jr.
Jackson’s world-class speed and athleticism make him one of the best defensive backs in the SEC and no worse than a Day 2 pick in the NFL Draft. Jackson was moved to the nickel position because of his quickness and tackling ability and finished with 46 stops, 2.5 for loss, and one sack. He also broke up 10 passes while showing tremendous improvement and a big jump in confidence. With Greedy Williams and Kevin Toliver, he formed perhaps the best trio of defensive backs in the SEC.
In tomorrow’s report, we’ll take a look at our Special Teams MVP and then conduct our annual poll asking you to vote for the team’s overall regular-season MVP.
Today’s closing tidbits:
• In coaching carousel news, Guz Malzahn has agreed to a new deal with Auburn and is staying put, according to 247Sports. The report indicates that Malzahn’s new deal is structured with raises every year so that at the end of seven years he will be making north of $7 million annually. Malzahn's original deal was worth an average of $4.75 million per year through 2020.
• Also, FootballScooop.com reports that LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has expressed interest in the UL-Lafayette coaching job now that the Cajuns are parting ways with Mark Hudspeth. That would be a sizable pay cut for Canada and I would be surprised to see it happen.
Lastly, today starts the second week of our annual fundraiser. To those of you who have already shown your appreciation for the work that goes into producing a daily site like this one, my family and I offer our most sincere thanks. If you haven’t yet done so, please read this important message and consider donating today. Thanks in advance for your support.
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