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2/6/19 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
It’s here, folks – National Signing Day Part 2. To stay abreast of today’s Signing Day action, be sure to check out our Commitments/Signees Tracker and refresh it throughout the day. Also be sure to follow @DandyDonLSU on Twitter. As soon as a player’s signed LOI is received by LSU and announced, we’ll indicate it with a check next to the player’s name on our list of commitments/signees and we’ll note the time that his papers were received. Of course, we’ll also tweet the news.
So just as a refresher, here’s what we’ll be watching for today:
Do we land the two from Amite: DT Ishmael Sopsher and WR/S DeVonta Lee?
I would be shocked if Devonta Lee doesn’t choose LSU when he makes his announcement at around 12:45 p.m today. As for Ishmael Sopsher, his announcement will come a little later and could very well go either way. I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but I don’t, and I’m not sure anyone does at this hour. One thing is certain: If LSU misses out on Sopsher, it won’t be from a lack of effort. I understand Orgeron was in contact with him until well past my bedtime last nigh without a definative answer being given.
Does Christian William flip to LSU or Miami?
Up until Monday, confidence was high that LSU would flip cornerback Christian Williams from Alabama. But then came a strong late push from Miami. What they have going for them is a promise that Williams would be their premier cornerback in the signing class, and a seemingly quicker path to the playing field. Will this be enough to turn Williams to the Hurricanes? We think it will, and we should know for sure early on. Williams is expected to announce his decision at 8 a.m. I would love to see Williams in this class, but if he chooses Miami, as expected, I wouldn’t see this as a failure on LSU’s part. To the contrary, it would be an understandable effect of LSU signing three cornerbacks in the early period including the nation’s No. 1 prospect, Derek Stingley, Jr., and being in a strong position to sign Maurice Hampton today.
What about the two DTs from Mississippi?
LSU entertained Alabama commit Bryon Young and Charles Moore over the weekend and there is still some hope that LSU lands one of the two. But to be quite honest, chances seem slim. I look for Young to stick with Alabama and Moore to choose Auburn or Mississippi State, but I would love to be wrong about that. To be quite honest, if Williams and Young are indeed two of the first LSU-related announcements of the day (see Times of Interest below), things are likely to start on a disappointing note for Tiger Fans.
Does CB Maurice Hampton choose LSU over Auburn?
I feel confident that cornerback Maurice Hampton, Tennessee’s top-rated football prospect, will give LSU fans good reason to celebrate at a little after 9:30 when he chooses LSU over Auburn. And as a dual-sport athlete, he’ll give Tiger fans good reason to monitor June’s Major League Baseball draft where he’s projected by some to be a fairly high draft pick. That said, the word is that it would take an exceptionally large sum of money for Hampton to sign a MLB contract and I predict he’ll be wowing fans in Tiger Stadium and at The Box for years to come.
Backups? Full class?
Right now, LSU has 19 signees and it seems very likely that LSU will land Soni Fauna, Lee, and Hampton. That would put LSU at 22. Sopsher would put LSU at 23. Even if Williams signs with LSU, the Tigers would still have one more spot to fill. A couple of guys to keep in mind should the numbers work out are CB Jay Ward and TE Garmon Randolph. Other options include keeping spots open to use for a transfer or to backfill with an early enrollee from the 2020 class.
It’s hard to anticipate what surprise might come. After all, if we knew, it wouldn’t be a surprise. That said, a couple of things that would justify a surprise at this point are if LSU ends up with one of the two Mississippi DTs or if some unexpected target emerges, or reemerges, late in the game. We’ve seen some crazy things happen on Signing Day and I’m not ruling out anything.
Here are your LSU NSD Times of Interest (CT)
(These are all approximations, and often the announcement comes 10 or 15 minutes past the stated time.)
Christian Williams - 8 a.m. CT (Miami)
Byron Young - 8 a.m. CT (Bama)
Garmon Randolph - 9 a.m. CT
Maurice Hampton - 9:30 a.m CT
Charles Moore - 9:30 a.m. CT
Ray Parker - 10:30 a.m. CT
Jay Ward - 12:05 p.m. CT
Devonta Lee - 12:45 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
Ishmael Sopsher - 1 p.m CT (ESPN2)
In other recruiting news, LSU has added a couple of preferred walk-ons to this class: Linebacker Tayte Langley (6-3, 240) of Iota High (La.) and running back Josh Williams (5-9.5, 180) of Houston’s Kincaid School. I really don’t know anything about Williams, but I do know that Langley is the son of former O-lineman Trey Langley who played at LSU in the late 90s and then went on to play in the NFL for the Redskins. I say welcome aboard to both of these young men! As I’ve said before, landing walk-ons is a no-risk, win-win situation as they count to neither the signee limitation nor the 85-scholarship limit.
Now, before leaving the topic of football, it’s time to reveal the Top-5 on our list of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2020.
Top LA Football Prospects for the Class of 2020
(For the complete list, click here.)
5. TJ Finley (QB) 6'6" 233, Ponchatoula – Big and strong QB who has tremendous zip on the ball; Throws an accurate, catchable ball and throws the ball well on the run; Shows ability to run when needed; Big body who is tough to bring down and can make the difficult throw when under pressure. LSU commitment.
4. Koy Moore (WR) 6'1" 170, Archbishop Rummel – A polished route runner who displays sure hands; Gets in and out of his cuts without any wasted motion and maintains his speed; Tremendous after the catch, often out-running defenders; Seems to enjoy blocking downfield.
3. Kayshon Bouttee (WR) 5'10" 175, Westgate – Explosive WR who displays true track speed; Separates himself from DBs with ease; Has good leaping ability going up and catching balls over defenders; Changes direction quickly and can run away from anyone; Will also be an asset in the return game. LSU commitment.
2. Jacobian Guillory (DT) 6'2" 331, Alexandria Senior High – Very strong player at the point of attack who overpowers his opponent; Has excellent feet for a man his size and bends well at the knees; Not just a block eater, but a defender who can push back the line of scrimmage and make plays in the backfield.
1. Jaquelin Roy (DT) 6'4", 306, University Lab – Big man who has really quick feet and a great burst; Uses his hands well and sheds blockers allowing him to live in the backfield; Plays with a high motor from snap to whistle never quitting on a play; Shows outstanding speed for a man his size allowing him to run down plays; Speed is not the only aspect of his game, also uses brute strength to collapse the pocket. LSU commitment.
We’ve also added numbers 61-100 to our list of Top LA Prospects for 2020, as well as a few we call Best of the Rest. Please note that this list is definitely a work-in-progress and will be updated frequently as we monitor players’ senior seasons, recruitment, and camp performances.
Turning to basketball, the LSU men’s basketball team will look to get back to its winning ways in a road contest against Mississippi State tonight. Make no mistake about it – the Tigers are up for a hellacious week, but this is the type of challenge that will reveal what this LSU team is truly made of. The Tigers will face two teams in Mississippi State and Auburn who have been in the Top 25 for most of the season. It just so happens both teams were knocked out of the Top 25 this week. With tonight’s Mississippi State encounter, LSU will go up against a 16-5 Bulldog squad that’s been “hit or miss” the last two weeks. Mississippi State has suffered a lopsided loss to Kentucky and been edged out by Alabama, but the Bulldogs have also recorded impressive wins against Auburn and Ole Miss. We’re starting to see a ton of parity in the SEC, and teams have begun knocking each other off. Tennessee (8-0), Kentucky (7-1) and LSU (7-1) remain at the top of the league, but Mississippi State (4-4) will be looking to gain some ground by knocking off the Tigers at home. And the Bulldogs have the firepower to do so. Tremont Waters might be one of the best, if not the best, guard in the SEC, but Quinndary Weatherspoon is third in the league in scoring. And like Waters, he’s done it for multiple years at his school. If you want to slow down Mississippi State, it starts with Weatherspoon. Coming into this game, the Bulldogs have the third best 3-point field goal percentage in the league, so look for LSU to change its defensive approach up. The Tigers allowed certain Arkansas players open shots and that burned them last Saturday. With the Bulldogs being a strong shooting team, the Tigers can’t let open 3-pointers become their downfall for a second game in a row. Look for LSU to make defensive adjustments and come out swinging against one of the better teams in the conference tonight. The game tips off at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
A few tidbits in closing:
• Yesterday I touched base with LSU head baseball Coach Paul Mainieri who was gracious enough to spend about 30 minutes on the phone with me for an exclusive Q&A that I’ll begin running tomorrow. It’s always a pleasure to speak with Mainieri because he’s such a straight-shooter.
• Today is the last day of our annual fundraiser. My family and I extend our most sincere thanks to all of you who have shown your appreciation for these daily doses of Tiger News by making a donation. We appreciate it more than words can express. If you value you what we do here at Dandy Don and have been meaning to make a pledge but haven’t yet done so, now’s your chance. After today, you won’t see these solicitations in our daily reports until after Thanksgiving.
• Lastly, please remember to keep your browser on our LSU Commitments/Signees Tracker to keep up with today’s Signing Day action. You’ll need to refresh it frequently to keep up with the changes. And if you use Twitter, be sure to follow @DandyDonLSU for updates throughout the day.
2/5/19 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I don’t know about you, but between the stress of trying to decipher what teenagers are going to do on Signing Day and these spring-time temperatures we’ve had the last few days, I’ve got a strong desire to be far away on a creek bank isolated from technology. Yesterday my phone was buzzing with calls, texts, and emails from several folks either wanting information on LSU’s chances with remaining targets or sharing rumors they had heard. Despite it all, my predictions remain just about the same as yesterday, with a couple of minor changes. I put the odds of LSU signing Amite DT Ishmael Sopsher at 55% yesterday, meaning I felt like LSU had a slight edge coming off the official visit but that it could go either way. I’ve heard nothing to make me feel otherwise at this point, so I’m sticking with that. I do, however, feel a bit different about the two Mississippi DTs. I put LSU’s chances with Byron Young at 45% yesterday, but I would drop that considerably today. I get the feeling he sticks with Alabama. As for Charles Moore, I said the vibe I was getting wasn’t a great one, and I stand by that, but I was told by someone I trust not to count LSU completely out with him or Young. Bottom line, if LSU is going to add additional DTs in this class, besides Soni Fonua who committed over the weekend, its best chance appears to be with Sopsher. As for the four guys I said I feel most confident about (Fauna, WR/S Devonta Lee, CB Maurice Hampton, and CB Christian Willams), I still feel the same, though I heard a lot of late night chatter about Miami pushing hard for Williams and I see that 247Sports’ Director of Recruiting, Steve Wiltfong, put in a recent “Crystal Ball” pick for the Hurricanes. A couple of guys who seem to be on the proverbial “back burner” and might come into play if the numbers are right include TE Garmon Randolph and CB Jay Ward.
As has been the case for the last dozen or so Signing Days, you’ll be able to monitor all the action by keeping your browser on our Commitments/Signees tracker throughout the day and by following DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
As is often the case on a Tuesday, yesterday I received a few questions as follow-ups to what I wrote on our Monday Morning Mail Call. Let me quickly address those…
• Several of you asked why I didn’t mention LSU TE commit Ray Parker of Ruston when predicting how LSU’s signing class would finish. That’s just because I’m hearing he’s likely to end up at a smaller school that is willing to take a risk on him qualifying or at a junior college, as I alluded to last week.
• With regard to LSU’s heartbreaking loss to Arkansas, our Mail Call touched on Tremont Waters’ alley-oop attempt and the fact that Coach Wade didn’t use a timeout before it. A few of you commented yesterday that a more concerning issue was allowing Arkansas so many open three-point shots. Coach Will Wade addressed that issue with the following statement. “We left a couple kids open. The numbers said to leave them open, and they hit a few. We left some of those guys open by design, and they took advantage of it. That's on me.”
Speaking of LSU men’s basketball, the Tigers remain in the national polls this week despite the home loss to Arkansas, though they did fall a bit. LSU checked in at No. 21 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. LSU travels to Starkville on Wednesday (tomorrow) to take on Mississippi State at 8 p.m. at the Humphrey Coliseum. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle98.1 FM). Look for more on that game in our morning report.
In other men’s basketball news, Tremont Waters has been named as one of ten candidates for the 2019 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. Waters is averaging 15.1 points per game (over 19 points per game in league play), 6.0 assists per game, and 3.0 steals per game (first in SEC and fifth nationally).
In women’s hoops, LSU got back on the winning track last night with a 61-51 win over Missouri. The Tigers were led by Ayana Mitchell who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. Faustine Aifuwa, Shanice Norton, and Khayla Pointer each finished with 10 points to help the Lady Tigers improve to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in the SEC. Here’s the full recap by LSUSports.net.
Now let’s close out with the reveal of another five profiles for our list of Top Louisiana Football Prospects for 2020. So far we’ve posted numbers 15-60, which you can find here. Today we tap the top ten with a look at 10-6. Tomorrow we’ll reveal the top-five as well as the complete top-100 and a few we call Best of the Rest.
Top LA Football Prospects for the Class of 2020
(For numbers 11-60, click here.)
10. Jalen Cook (WR) 6’0”, 180, Walker – Outstanding athlete who looks like a natural WR; Has great ball skills with sure hands making every play look routine; Also, a great basketball player; Will Wade already has a scholarship offer in for Jalen.
9. Joel Williams (ATH) 6’2”, 188, Madison Prep – Long, rangy athlete that makes plays a number of ways; Safety looks to be the safest bet for him at the next level; Solid tackler who loves to hit; Reads plays quickly and reacts to the football; Good frame to add weight; Could see him lining up in the box.
8. Quincy Brown (WR) 6’3”, 170, Destrehan – Not a burner but a long smooth strider who can create separation; Has tremendous hands catching the football away from his body; Uses his body well to shield defenders in traffic and go up and make the catch; Blocks really well on the edge and finishes blocks.
7. Taiwan Berryhill (OLB) 6’2”, 200, St. Augustine – Long player who eats up ground quickly, not taking false steps; Reacts to plays quickly, shedding blocks and finding the ball carrier; Always plays fast, flying around the field, but always under control; Great form tackler who is aggressive and eager to hit; Has great frame to add additional weight.
6. Ashaad Clayton (RB) 6’0, 200, Warren Easton – Elusive ball carrier that changes direction well; Great runner between the tackles has good vision and hits the hole hard; Has the ability to make guys miss, but has no problem running through tackles; Also shows good hands making catches out of the backfield.
• Here’s a good read by Athlon Sports called “LSU Football: 3 Reasons for Optimism About the Tigers in 2019.” It’s subhead reads, “Joe Burrow will have an experienced offensive line and plenty of playmakers to work with this fall.”
• And here’s another good read by my friend Jim Kleinpeter, who’s been helping the Advocate with their baseball coverage: Meet LSU's next slugger, Saul Garza: A hard-hitting catcher coming back from knee surgery
In closing, I’d like to remind you that tomorrow is the last day of our annual fundraiser. DandyDon.com has been dishing out a daily report for 22 years. That’s a long time, folks. I hope to keep these daily doses of Tiger news coming for many more years, but I can only do it with your continued support. If you value this site and haven’t yet done so, please read this important message and consider donating today. After tomorrow, I won’t bug you about this again until late November.
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