NCAA Baseball Championships:
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2/12/18 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
As promised, we’ll kick things off today with part 1 of a 2-part Q&A with NFL and College Football Analyst Mike Detillier on the topic of LSU’s 2018 signing class. In this first installment, I get Mike’s comments on LSU’s misses at cornerback and quarterback and the Tigers’ outstanding haul at wide receiver and along the offensive line. I also get his brief thoughts on LSU’s running back signees and the possibility of moving junior David Ducré from fullback to halfback. In tomorrow’s installment, I’ll get Mike’s thoughts on the Tigers’ D-line haul and much more.
A couple of days ago we began a series highlighting the top-six vote-getters in our recent poll asking which LSU signees would have the greatest impact in 2018. So far we’ve covered RB Chris Curry (6th place with 7.8% of votes) and WR Ja’Marr Chase (5th place with 11.5% of votes). Today, we’ll continue along those lines with a look at a very versatile defensive back whom LSU hopes will fill a big area of need this coming season.
CB 6-1, 195, Baton Rouge (Scotlandville Magnet)
(4th in our poll with 11.7% of the votes)
Like JaMarr Chase, who we profiled in our previous report, Kelvin Joseph’s signing last week was overshadowed a bit by the ones who got away. That’s a shame, especially since the loss of one of those guys who got away – Patrick Surtain – makes Joseph’s role all the more critical. As LSU’s only defensive back in LSU’s 2018 class, look for Joseph to be thrust into the fray quickly since LSU has only four corners on scholarship and only one of those, Greedy Williams, has seen significant playing time.
Just about everyone recruited Joseph as a safety, but Coach Ed Orgeron and staff decided to use him as a cornerback when Surtain spurned the Tigers. But don’t think this move to cornerback came way out of left field. Joseph excelled as a cornerback his first two years in high school, so much so that his coach moved him to safety so that opponents couldn’t avoid him as easily. Though he’s built like the prototypical safety, he’s got 4.4 speed and the ability to flip his hips like a cornerback should. Now at the next level, Joseph will bring valuable size and physicality to the position, which makes him a good candidate to be that third cornerback who often lines up against bigger slot receivers. That same speed and physicality could make him a serious weapon in LSU’s return game. To get a good feel for Joseph and the combination of swag and talent he brings to LSU, check out this video by NOLA.com: Kelvin Joseph: LSU got a savage on the way.
One more tidbit about Joseph: He and five-star LSU basketball signee JaVonte Smart are best of friends. Here’s predicting that each of them will have the kind of success at LSU that made them legends at Scotlandville Magnet.
In women’s basketball, LSU took down yet another high-RPI team with an 80-78 victory over No. 14 Texas A&M. The win was the Tigers’ third consecutive home win over a Top 25 team, their fourth top-20 win of the season, and a huge résumé booster that takes the sting out of losing at Auburn last Thursday. Leading the way for the Tigers were Raigyne Louis and Chloe Jackson who each had season-high performances with 27 and 26 points, respectively. But as big as those two were, it was Jaelyn Richard-Harris’ big defensive play to force a jump ball and prevent A&M’s potential game-tying shot with six seconds remaining that might have been the key play of the game. For a full recap and video highlights, check out this article on LSUSports.net. The Lady Tigers (16-7, 8-4 SEC) return to action Thursday night with a matchup against Ole Miss at 7 p.m. CT at the Maravich Center.
I guess you could say it was an all-around great day in women’s sports at LSU as the eighth-ranked Tigers softball team were also big winners yesterday. Beth Torina’s ladies defeated UMass 7-0 to improve to 4-0 on the young season and close out an outstanding opening weekend of softball. Highlighting the Tigers’ win were home runs by Shemiah Sanchez and Amber Serrett, and the strong pitching of Allie Walljasper, who went the distance in her second complete-game shutout in as many starts this season. “I thought it was an end to a good weekend,” said Coach Torina. “We are understanding more and more what we are capable of. We played sloppy in some moments, and we still have some things we need to clean up, but overall it’s a good start, and it gives a good direction to move forward.” On deck for the Tigers is a home contest against Louisiana-Monroe on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be streamed online via SECN+.
That’s it for today. Now I’m off to do something that most people with think I’m crazy to do: Drive two-and-half hours to till up some dirt and plant potatoes in the same backyard garden where two generations have planted them before me. I’m thinking the ground up there in my north-Louisiana getaway might be too wet to do anything today, so my plan is to sneak in a quick fishing trip at a nearby pond and hope that things are dry enough to plant by tomorrow morning. If all goes well, I hope to have a pic to share tomorrow and enough fish for a Lenten fish fry.
Reminder: Be sure to read Part 1 of my Q&A with Mike Detillier on LSU’s Signing Class and return for Part 2 tomorrow.
Four more days till Baseball at the Box!
2/11/18 5:45 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Well, rainy weather derailed my potato planting plans, but it was nice to plop myself down in front of the tube and watch the LSU men’s basketball team put together a brilliant second half to beat Ole Miss 82-66 at home. Ole Miss has yet to win a game on the road, and LSU made sure it wasn’t going to let that first happen in the PMAC. With another strong defensive effort and stellar performances from Duop Reath and Skylar Mays, the Tigers defended their home turf and captured their fifth SEC win of the season.
Here’s how it played out:
If you were one of those who entered the contest with concerns about Ole Miss’ physicality, Reath put those worries to rest rather quickly. LSU couldn’t have asked for a much better start to the game, as the Tigers went ahead 8-0 thanks to Aaron Epps and Reath taking advantage of Ole Miss’ four-guard look and scoring 12 of LSU’s first 14 points. While LSU dominated inside the paint – 20 of LSU’s first half points came inside – Will Wade continued to demand excellence on the defensive end. So much so that he actually called a timeout and replaced Tremont Waters with Skylar Mays after giving a stern talking to his star. LSU then went on an 8-0 run. For the record, Waters came back in shortly and played with the type of aggression on defense we’re used to seeing from him. Still, you have to give it to Wade for not being afraid to take his best player out of the game in that situation. As for Reath, he’s had a lot of great performances this season, but his first half against Ole Miss might have been his best yet. Reath was a nightmare inside, and even added a triple to his point total in the half. He had 18 points before halftime, by the way. His 3-pointer followed by Randy Onwuasor’s gave the Tigers a 13-point lead with six-and-a-half minutes to go. But then LSU struggled down the stretch as turnover after turnover opened the door for Ole Miss to go on an 11-0 run and take a 35-34 lead. LSU’s consistent turnovers made it so the Tigers only had two shots in five minutes of action. A deep Waters 3-pointer tied the game at 37 at the half.
The Tigers started the second half on a 7-1 run. Skylar Mays hit a 3-pointer and then drove to the basket for a big dunk to put the Tigers up by six. A much less competitive second half was highlighted by a Sports Center highlight reel dunk by Epps who skied through the air and dunked on an Ole Miss defender. Put that one on a poster. LSU padded its cushion when the team went on a 9-0 run, which was highlighted by a hustle put-back by Wayde Sims and breakaway dunk by Mays. That gave LSU a 15-point advantage and from then on out the game was never in doubt. LSU shot 50 percent from the field in the runaway victory. Reath had his way in the first half, but Mays had his fun in the second. Mays scored 15 points in the half and finished with 17. Reath led the team in scoring with 26, and Waters finished the game with 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds. LSU improved to 14-10 on the year and 5-7 in conference play.
Up next for the Tigers is a matchup on the road against Alabama at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Now switching gears to football, it’s time to continue our series on the top six vote-getters from our poll asking, “Which incoming LSU football signee(s) will make the biggest impact in the 2018 season?” Yesterday we profiled Chris Curry, the Tigers’ first out-of-state running back signee in nearly a decade, and today we’ll go with our fifth-place winner, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
WR, 6-1, 195, Harvey, La. (Rummel)
(5th in our poll with 11.5% of the vote)
Forget that Chase, a 5-star recruit, is ranked by some services as the second best receiver in the class behind Terrace Marshall. He might wind up being better and stands to be Marshall’s perfect compliment, much like Jarvis Landry was to Odell Beckham Jr. At 6-1, 195 pounds, Chase is a bit smaller than Marshall (6-3, 200) but he's got a more compact build and is generally considered stronger with good short-route running ability. He’s also got the speed and skills to be a deep threat and really knows how to pile up yards after the catch. With both 2017 starters D.J. Chark and Russell Gage departing, Chase will have an opportunity to play right away, though he’ll have plenty of competition from a deep and talented pool of returning receivers, not to mention the other newcomers who help make this year’s signing class of receivers the nation’s best.
Chase is the most prolific receiver in Rummel history with school records in career yards (2,152), single-season yards (1,011) and receptions in a season (61). He caught 15 TD passes last season, 30 in his high school career, and was also the Class 5A state long jump champion as a junior. Make no mistake about it, this was a great get by LSU and a tough one at that. Chase originally committed to Kansas, committed to Florida, came close to committing to TCU, and then nearly spurned LSU for Auburn at the last minute. The LSU coaching staff thought enough of him to make one last home visit in which the entire staff – defensive coaches included – showed up at his home. His passion for LSU helped pull him through as he signed in a tearful, emotional ceremony. Here’s hoping, and predicting, he’ll play with that same kind of passion. Check out Chase’s video highlights.
Stay tuned for our write-up on defensive back Kelvin Joseph, who came in fourth in our poll.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting awfully pumped about LSU baseball which is set to begin in five days when LSU takes on Notre Dame for a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. One player who will be critical to LSU’s success in the opener and throughout the season is junior right-hander Caleb Gilbert. I mention that just because if you’re someone who enjoys spending your Sunday morning with a big cup of joe and a good read, you’ll want to check out this piece by Pulitzer Prize winner Jeff Marx: “Caleb Gilbert never met Wally Pontiff – but the LSU legend has always inspired him.”
And if you’re like me and getting tired of all the negativity coming from a certain segment of the LSU football fanbase, you might appreciate this brief piece by GridIron Now. In it, former Tiger and current NFL standout Joe Barksdale heaps praise on new LSU offensive line coach James Cregg, saying, “He’s going to be known as one of the best offensive line coaches in football if he stays in college that long.” Barskdale should know. He’s was coached by him at San Diego.
• The LSU women’s basketball team (15-7, 7-4 SEC) is set to host No. 14 Texas A&M in a return game today at 2 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed online via SECN+. With Mardi Gras season in full swing, fans attending the game will receive a Mardi Gras beads t-shirt, beads, and King Cake will be served. Also, before the game, the Lady Tigers will host a Mommy & Me Clinic at 12:15 p.m. in the Women’s Basketball Practice Gym.
• If you’re wondering what happened in LSU softball yesterday… all of LSU’s games were rained out. Below is a schedule of today’s games, all of which will be free admission. Any fans who purchased tickets for Saturday will be refunded next week.
UT Arlington vs. Southern Miss (resumed game) – 8:30 a.m.
Syracuse vs. Southern Miss – 9:30 a.m.
LSU vs. UMass – 12 p.m.
Please note that I won’t be doing a Monday Morning Mail Call this week. Instead, it’s me who’ll be asking questions of Mike Detillier for our new Q&A on the topic of LSU’s signing class. Be sure to tune in for that tomorrow. Mike is a straight-shooter and I always enjoy getting his thoughts. I’m sure you will too.
Have a great Sunday, Tiger Fans.
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