Monday, June 15, 2009

Tigers in Great Shape in Omaha; Post Camp Recruiting Round-Up

After watching LSU outclass Arkansas Monday night, this Tiger team is starting to display a look similar to that of many past Tiger national championship teams. The team has stepped up in the post-season and is now on a 12 game winning streak. They seem to get the big hit or the big strikeout when its needed. Winners of their first two games in Omaha, LSU sits in the catbird's seat for the tournament. The winner of Wednesday's game between Arkansas and Virginia will have to beat LSU Friday, and then beat them again on Saturday in order to advance to the Finals. And they'll have to do it with an exhausted pitching staff.

LSU, on the other hand, gets to rest for 3 straight days. Having pitched only 3.1 innings on Saturday night, Anthony Ranaudo will be more than ready to start Friday's game. My guess is that he'll be plenty motivated and focused after a poor outing against Virginia and that he'll redeem himself nicely. If needed, Louis Coleman may be ready to go on Saturday, at least for a bit. The ideal situation is that Ranaudo pitches LSU to a Tiger victory on Friday which sets up Coleman, on a full week's rest, to start Game 1 of the Finals. Ranaudo could then come back and possibly pitch in Game 3 of the Finals if needed.

I give a special tip of the cap to a pair of freshmen who hit big home runs in the game Monday night. Centerfielder Mikie Mahtook and shortstop Austin Nola (pictured) both hit home-runs, leading the way for a 9-run output for LSU's offense.


As is customary following a camp for high school prospects, LSU saw quite a bit of activity during or soon after their camp held last week. After getting the great news about Tennessee linebacker Justin Maclin and New Orleans athlete Ronnie Vinson, the flurry of verbal commitments didn't stop.

Georgia tight-end Cameron Fordham gave his verbal commitment to Les Miles just one day after receiving an offer. Fordham's father, Jeff, played for LSU in the early 1980s, so he's very familiar with the program. Fordham doesn't have a terribly impressive offer list with his only other offers coming from Syracuse, Central Florida, East Carolina, and UAB. ESPN does grade him rather high and they have a good evaluation of him. The consensus seems to be that LSU projects Fordham to ultimately end up on the offensive line or as a blocking tight-end in the mold of Keith Zinger. But at currently 6'4 235 pounds, he has a long way to go before he can think about playing on the offensive line. LSU's coaches got a first hand look at Fordham before offering him, so we'll have to trust their judgement on this one.

These camps often bring a surprise from out of nowhere and the commitment of Alabama athlete Sam Gibson surprised many. From talking to Alabama and Auburn folks who follow this stuff, they all speak very highly of Gibson. He is 6'2" 200 pounds and plays QB for his high school team. While some schools recruited Gibson as a QB, LSU just wants him as an athlete. I think he's most likely to end up as a safety although he brings a lot of versatility. I knew that LSU wanted to get a 2nd safety in this class, but I wasn't sure who it would be. I think Gibson answers that question. Here is ESPN's evaluation. And here is a good highlight video of Gibson:

A few days after LSU's camp concluded, Texas QB Zach Lee visited LSU's campus once again. After this visit, Lee decided to give his commitment to LSU. The timing of this is not surprising seeing as how LSU was able to look at other QB prospects Munchie Legaux and Terrance Broadway at camp. Both reportedly turned in underwhelming performances. That set the stage perfectly for Lee to commit just a few days later. I really like Lee as a prospect. He has great size at 6'4" 200 pounds and his skillset reminds me a lot of Matt Mauck. He's got a real good arm and can make all the throws. Though not a "runing QB", he has good mobility and can make some plays with his feet. He can even run some option and keep a defense honest on a zone read running play. Lee is also a big-time baseball prospect as a power right-handed pitcher, and he'll likely be another two sport star at LSU. He may even be good enough to get drafted out of high school, so that is slightly concerning. But it's way too early to worry about that. Sam Gibson could provide some insurance as a QB for this class in case Lee chooses pro baseball over college. I think that Lee's commitment closes the book on LSU's hunt for a QB in the Class of 2010 with the exception of one guy....Jesse Scroggins. In my opinion, LSU will still recruit Scroggins and if they can get him, they'll take him. But I don't think you'll see much happen with guys like Munchie Legaux and Terrance Broadway.

Another guy who turned in a good performance at camp is St. Paul's high school defensive end/linebacker Houston Bates. Bates worked out at linebacker and even worked some at fullback during camp, and his performance earned an offer from Les Miles. Bates is a hard working, hard nosed football player that most coaches love to have on their team. Currently, Bates is the classic "tweener" playing defensive end with a linebacker's body. He's only about 220 pounds right now. If you beef him up to 250 or so in order to play defensive end in college, will he still be quick enough? Regardless of where he ends up, I have very little doubt that he'll soon be an LSU Commitment. ESPN grades him well and has a nice write-up on him. Here is some video of Bates in action:

One of the stories heading into camp was whether Texas cornerback Tony Hurd would earn an offer. He apparently did least not yet. Hurd tweaked an old injury during the camp, but played through it. While the coaches apparently liked what they saw, they asked Hurd to return to the camp in July so they could evaluate him while he's at full strength. Badly wanting the LSU offer, Hurd plans to return to give it another shot. He'll be going head to head with guys like Tyler Stephenson and Curtis Carter, and they may be competing for just 1 open scholarship at cornerback. Hurd traveled to the camp with linebacker Shaun Lewis, who continues to have LSU high on his list. An offer to Hurd would likely result in verbal commitments from both Hurd and Lewis though it doesn't appear that LSU is ready to do that just yet.

Texas athlete James Haynes came to camp in hopes of earning an offer. However, he return to Texas without an offer, and I don't expect LSU to be recruiting him too hard from this point forward unless Haynes decides to come back for the July camp.

Florida linebacker Kevin Nelson and Georgia linebacker Michael Taylor both had excellent camps and both are very high on LSU. It will be hard to pry Nelson away from the Gators but Taylor is a very real possibility for the Tigers. With only 1 open spot for a linebacker, it will be interesting to see how things turn out with Nelson, Taylor, and Lewis.

Shaw high school defensive tackle Elliott Porter earned an LSU offer, but as an offensive lineman. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Porter as a part of LSU's class.

One of the bigger stories out of the camp was the performance of many of the juniors to be in the Class of 2011.

After dominating the Tennessee camp, Lutcher receiver Jarvis Landry did the same at LSU, outshining all of the upperclassmen and earning an LSU offer in the process. He'll be one of the nation's top receiver prospects next year. Though it's early, Josh Reed comparisons (as far as style of play) are plentiful. Here is some film from Landry's sophomore year:

St. James receiver Alonzo Lewis also impressed enough to earn an early offer from LSU. Some of those who are familar with Lewis can't say enough good things about him.

Unrelated to camp, a new name to watch is Atlanta, GA defensive tackle Garrison Smith, who is one of the top DTs in the nation. While he'll be tough to pull away from Georgia, LSU is apparently in the mix for him.

Also it appears that Texas running back Lache Seastrunk is thinking about making a decision in September. With all his recent trips to Auburn, one can only conclude that he's got Auburn on the mind. We'll see if that sticks. Let's hope not.

With 14 commitments on the board and two more (Houston Bates and Storm Johnson) looking like they'll take place very soon, that only leaves about 9 spots available for this class. When you consider that a couple more guys (Jordan Allen and Trovon Reed) can be lightly penciled in too, there's not a lot of wiggle room left for the Class of 2010. Let's take a look at the updated list:

QB Zach Lee -- McKinney, TX (Dallas area)
FB Brandon Worle - LaGrange, GA
WR Mike Davis -- Dallas, TX
WR Justin Hunter -- Virginia Beach, VA
TE Nick Jacobs -- Many
TE Cameron Fordham -- Duluth, GA
OL Jamarcus Hardrick (JUCO)
LB - Justin Maclin -- Memphis, TN
LB DJ Welter -- Crowley Notre Dame
LB Luke Muncie Klein, TX
S Eric Reid - Dutchtown
ATH Ronnie Vinson (CB or S) -- Newman New Orleans
ATH Tharold Simon (WR or S) -- Eunice
ATH Sam Gibson -- Prattville, AL

Munchie Legaux -- Karr HS New Orleans
Terrance Broadway -- Capitol
Sam Carter -- Houston, TX
Jesse Scroggins -- CA

Lache Seastrunk -- Temple, TX
Storm Johnson -- Loganville, GA (Atlanta area)
Dontae Williams -- Houston, TX
Michael Dyer -- Little Rock, AR

Trovon Reed -- Thibodaux
James Wright -- Belle Chase
DeAndrew White -- Galena Park, TX (Houston area)
Demarco Cobbs -- Tulsa, OK
Glen Coleman -- West Jefferson
Martavious Lee -- CA (JUCO)
Kevin Johnson -- Houston, TX
Armand Williams -- Slidell

Travis Dickson -- Ocean Springs, MS
Naquan Lee -- Crockett, TX

Evan Washington -- DeSoto, TX (Dallas area)
OC Brown -- Memphis, TN
Wes Rea -- Gulfport, MS
Elliott Porter -- Shaw HS New Orleans
Daryl Williams -- Corinth, TX
James Stone -- Nashville, TN
Damien Robinson -- Olive Branch, MS
TJ Leifheit -- Wilmington, NC
Luke Charpentier -- John Curtis
Alex Hill -- Slidell

Rissean Broussard -- Washington Marion Lake Charles (Tennessee commitment)
Torrea Peterson -- San Antonio, TX
Damien Jacobs -- Houma, LA
Harold Legania -- Karr HS New Orleans
Churphy Stewart -- Breaux Bridge
LaCraig Brown-- Monroe
Garrison Smith -- Atlanta, GA

Jordan Allen -- West Monroe
Houston Bates -- St Pauls Covington
Kaleb Eulls -- Yazoo City, MS
Anthony Wilson -- Homewood, AL
Joseph Okafor -- Houston, TX
JR Ferguson -- MD
Benay Pryor -- MS JUCO
Walker Ashburn -- John Curtis
Brandon Willis -- Duncan, SC

Shaun Lewis -- Missouri City, TX (Houston area)
Corey Nelson -- Dallas, TX
Kendall Moore -- Raleigh, NC
Michael Taylor -- Atlanta, GA
Telvin Smith -- Valdosta, GA
Pat Swilling Jr. -- Brother Martin New Orleans

Tony Hurd -- Missouri City, TX (Houston area)
Tyler Stephenson -- Lancaster, TX (Dallas area)
Jonathon McKnight -- John Curtis

Tommie Saunders -- San Antonio, TX

Jarett Fobbs (CB or WR) -- Huntington Shreveport
Curtis Carter -- North DeSoto
James Haynes (CB or WR) -- Orange, TX


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