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12/5/18 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
For the second day in a row, we start our “daily dose” with some great news about Devin White. This time, it’s to announce that he has won the prestigious Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker. This is a big deal, folks. White is the first LSU Tiger to ever win the award and the first to claim a national award since wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won the 2013 Paul Hornung Award. White beat out finalists Josh Allen (Kentucky), Devin Bush (Michigan), Tré Lamar (Clemson), and Dylan Moses (Alabama) to claim the honor and become the winner of LSU’s 25th national award in program history. Here’s more on White and the season that made him so deserving of the honor, as pulled from LSU’s press release:
White, who was named first-team All-SEC by the AP and the league's coaches this week, had a career-best 17 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss, including a sack, and a forced fumble in LSU's season finale against Texas A&M. He was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2018.
In 2018, White ranks second in the SEC in total tackles with 115 and his 12.0 tackles for loss stands No. 10 in the league. White is only the seventh player in LSU history to record 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons.
Now in his second year as a starting linebacker for the Tigers, White has 278 career tackles to go along with 29.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He's also responsible for eight takeaways (four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and an interception).
Last season, White set an SEC record by being named the league's defensive player of the week four times. He led the SEC in tackles last year with 133, which ranks as the fourth-highest total in school history.
I know I speak for Tiger Fans everywhere when I congratulate White for the well-deserved award. What an exemplary Tiger and team player he’s been! White is projected to be a top-10 pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft and will likely bypass his final year of collegiate eligibility, but when one is projected to go that high I certainly can respect that decision.
Speaking of respecting one’s decisions, I want to briefly follow up on Greedy Williams’s decision to sit out of the upcoming bowl game. As I’ve said before, I don’t agree with the decision. I would have preferred to see him follow the examples of Derrius Guice, White, and others who were projected to be high draft picks but still risked injury for the sake of the team, the fans, and the program. That said, yesterday I was reminded that he has a young daughter. As a father who values his family more than anything else, I can only imagine what its like to know that the only thing separating you from providing complete financial security for your family for many years to come is a few weeks without injury. So, while I don’t condone his decision, I certainly understand it.
In other LSU football news involving White and Williams, they and two other Tigers – Grant Delpit and Cole Tracy - were named to the Coaches’ All-SEC first teams. This comes a day after they were named to the AP first team. For the complete list of coaches’ first- and second-team All-SEC selections, click here.
Now, with 27 days until LSU’s bowl game, four days until LSU basketball returns to action, and another day before I’m ready to roll out Part 1 of my newest Q&A with Mike Detillier on LSU football, this seems like a perfect time to talk recruiting. So here we go…
LSU’s 2019 recruiting class currently contains 20 commitments and is ranked No. 4 in 247Sports’ composite team rankings. By comparison, last year at about this time, LSU’s 2018 class had 19 commitments and was ranked No. 13. The year before, the 2017 class was at 18 commitments and ranked No. 4 at this time. That class ended up finishing 7th in the nation and last year’s class finished 15th. This year, the Tigers are looking at the distinct possibility of finishing in the top-five for the first time since the 2016 class finished at No. 2. As you might recall, that class was highlighted by two five-star prospects, DL Rashard Lawrence and CB Kristian Fulton. Well, this year’s class already has three five-stars – CB Derek Stingley, RB John Emery, and OG Kardell Thomas – and has a good chance of finishing with more.
In today’s report, we look at a handful of four- and five-star prospects who give LSU a legitimate chance of signing its best recruiting class in several years. Now, I’m not saying LSU will sign all of these guys, and I am certainly not expecting that. But LSU is in the picture with all of them and several others (topic for another day) who could make this a very special class.
And if you’re wondering why I chose these five in particular to highlight, it’s just because two are the top uncommitted in-state prospects, two are expected to visit this weekend, and one is coming off a very good visit last weekend.
DT, 6-3.5, 334, Amite High (La.), 5-star
This one’s an LSU-Alabama battle that will likely play out all the way until February, but don’t believe folks who say Sopher is a lock to the Crimson Tide. Reports I’ve received this week suggest that is far from the case. As the top DL (and top uncommitted prospect) in the state, Sopsher is a major priority for LSU and you’d better believe Coach O knows that.
S, 6-2, 212, Amite High (La.), 4-star
LSU has an even better chance of signing Lee than it does his Amite High teammate, Sopsher. In fact, I’d be very surprised of LSU does not ink Lee’s signature. With no safeties currently committed, this homegrown talent is a major priority for LSU.
CB, 6-2, 160, Horn Lake, Miss., 4-star
Jones is one of two prospects from Horn Lake who will be visiting LSU this weekend. He plays quarterback for his high school team, which won a Mississippi State title last weekend, but will play cornerback at the next level. He’s been high on the Tigers since attending an LSU camp this past summer and LSU is a real contender here, although most consider Ole Miss his leader at this time. Perhaps that changes this weekend.
LB, 6-0, 220, Horn Lake, Miss., 5-star
Dean is the other player from Horn Lake visiting LSU this weekend. He’s a big-time prospect at middle linebacker. I’m talking Devin White caliber. Admittedly, LSU stands a better chance of signing his teammate (Jones) than him, but LSU is certainly in the mix.
WR, 6-3.5, 190, Hoover, Ala., 4-star
Pickens is currently committed to Auburn but is coming off an official visit to LSU last weekend. The word I’m getting is the visit went very well, and with the coaching changes going on at Auburn there’s a distinct chance he could flip. Remember, Auburn’s offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey is out the door and could end up coaching for Les Miles over at Kansas.
Today’s Closing Tidbits:
• Speaking of coaching changes… The college football coaching carousel spun into overdrive with the announcement of Urban Meyer stepping down as Ohio State's coach after the Rose Bowl. It's not a wholly unexpected move and one that will ripple across the landscape. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day is stepping in permanently with a five-year contract. Also, former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is set to take the offensive coordinator job at USC and Memphis assistant Will Hall is expected to become the offensive coordinator at Tulane, Dan Wolken reports. Hall was once offensive coordinator at UL-Lafayette.
• How’s this for December LSU sports content? With temperatures in the 30s, the last thing on your mind might be LSU baseball, but that doesn’t mean the team is taking it easy, just kicking back in their easy chairs and getting fat on gumbo. To prove it, LSU released the first LSU baseball workout hype video that I ever recall seeing. Watching it gets me thinking about New Year’s resolutions.
• On a more serious note, here’s a brief memoir published by the LSU Alumni Association on recently departed former President George H. W. Bush and his connection to LSU. Regardless of your political persuasion, I think you’ll find it to be an interesting story, just as I did.
• Lastly, I’m heading out for a business meeting with some fine folks up in Natchitoches, and you probably know what that means. Every time I get up in the north-central part of the state, I can’t leave without hitting one of my favorite fishing holes. I plan on doing that this afternoon, and hope to have a pic worth sharing with you tomorrow. Perhaps of more interest to you as a Tiger fan, my two-day trip also means I won’t have much time to write updates. But don’t worry, that’s probably a plus for you. Instead, I’ll use this opportunity to roll out my Q&A with Mile Detillier on LSU football. Stay tuned for Part 1 in tomorrow’s daily dose of Tiger News.
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12/4/18 5:20 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
TUESDAY TIDBITS: Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick Hitters
1. Let’s start these tidbits with some good news: LSU’s Devin White is in fact going to play in the Fiesta Bowl. The great news came less than 24 hours after fellow projected first-round pick Greedy Williams disappointed many Tiger fans by choosing to sit it out. White announced his decision in a tweet that said, “Good morning Tiger Nation. To clear up the rumors, I will be playing in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl with my brothers. A lot of business to handle. God Bless.”
2. As tweeted by Jerit Roser of TigerDetails, the past few weeks have probably cemented Devin White’s status as one of LSU fans’ all-time favorites. “Add the #FreeDevinWhite support, Daisy Mae ride through campus & quick announcement he would play in the #FiestaBowl to an already stellar career,” Roser tweeted. I couldn’t agree more.
3. Having White for the bowl game is huge news for LSU’s defense since it will already be without four starters: Williams (sitting out), Kristian Fulton (injured), Breiden Fehoko (injured), and Jacob Phillips (suspended for the first half).
4. Some may take UCF lightly, but I’m not one of them. Any team that can win 25 games straight including a NY6 Bowl against Auburn has my attention and should have yours too. On a somewhat related note, LSU’s Garrett Walvoord reports that this will be only the eighth time LSU will face an undefeated team in a bowl game. Here are the previous results:
1974 Penn St (11-0) Orange L
1971 Nebraska (10-0-1) Orange L
1968 Wyoming (10-0) Sugar W
1966 Arkansas (10-0) Cotton W
1963 UT (10-0-1) Cotton W
1950 OU (10-0) Sugar L
1938 Santa Clara (8-0) Sugar L
5. According to ActionNetwork.com, LSU opened as a 4-point favorite in the Fiesta Bowl and the line quickly rose to six points. It was up to 7.5 on Monday.
6. Before going any further, big congratulations are in order for five Tigers who were selected to All-SEC teams. Safety Grant Delpit, kicker Cole Tracy, linebacker Devin White, and cornerback Greedy Williams made first team, while punter Zach Von Rosenberg was named to the second team.
7. Last night the Nagurski Award given to college football’s best defensive player was awarded to Kentucky LB Josh Allen. LSU safety Grant Delpit was a finalist along with Michigan LB Devin Bush, Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, and Alabama NG Quinnen Williams. Though he didn’t win, what a great honor for Delpit who was clearly deserving of the recognition. I have a feeling he’ll be right back in the mix for the award next year.
8. On a related note, the top three kickers in the country are in Palm Beach for the Lou Groza Award Banquet and LSU’s Cole Tracy is one of them. Tracy tweeted that he really enjoyed spending some time at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital with the other award finalist and is looking forward to the rest of the week! The winner of the prestigious award will be announced on Thursday.
9. In other LSU football news, Kristian Fulton’s father told 104.5 ESPN Radio that there’s been no decision as to whether Kristian is going to enter the NFL draft and bypass his last year of college eligibility, but that he’d be very surprised if he does. He also said he’s very adamant about his son getting his college degree. That’s certainly good to hear.
10. In recruiting news, an ESPN Radio reporter out of Lafayette caused a bit of stir yesterday when he tweeted that LSU had received a commitment from tight end Keon Zipperer. The report referenced two tweets by Zipperer, one that said “Baton Rouge I’m Omw” and another that said “Hold that tiger !” As far as I know, that was a misinterpretation of Zipperer’s tweets (he was just letting people know he was visiting LSU) and he has not committed to LSU, at least not yet. The word is that he did have a very good visit, though.
11. A couple more recruiting notes: 1) Word is that George Pickens, the five-star wide receiver currently committed to Auburn, had a good visit to LSU last weekend. Whether it turns out to be good enough to flip him to LSU is yet to be seen, though he’s certainly one to watch. 2) Another player to watch is strong side defensive end Charles Moore. Rivals’ Tiger Details site reports that LSU is a threat to flip him from Mississippi State.
12. The coaching carousel was spinning early Monday and with a decidedly LSU flavor. First, former Tigers coach Les Miles made his first hire and one with LSU roots. Former Tiger cornerback Chevis Jackson will leave Ball State to become defensive backs coach at Kansas under Miles, Footballscoop.com says. Jackson is best remembered by Tiger fans for his interception in LSU's BCS Championship Game victory against Ohio State. Also, Miles apparently is reaching into the SEC for his offensive coordinator. Chip Lindsey is expected to leave Auburn to join the Kansas staff, according to Matt Zenitz.
Another former LSU assistant, Joe Cullen is the leading candidate for the head coaching job at University of Massachusetts, says NFL insider Ian Rappaport. Cullen coached the defensive line in 1999, Gerry DiNardo's last season, and has been defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens the past three years. Cullen is infamous for being fired by Ole Miss after an arrest for being drunk and disorderly. He also had legal problems while coaching with the Detroit Lions in 2006 when he received a DUI and, in a separate incident, drove through a Wendy's drive-thru while naked.
13. I have no new cooking lagniappe to share with you today, though I hope to have pics later this week of the main ingredient in my fried sac-à-lait recipe. In the meantime, this week’s lagniappe is a friendly poll:
Please click on the link above to cast your vote.
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Have a great day, Tiger Fans!
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