Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Saturday Night Slant Has A New Home!


I'm very pleased to announced that the Saturday Night Slant now has a new home as part of the Blougin network of sports bloggers.  Bloguin has plenty of sports blogs dedicated to various teams and topics, and I encourage you to check out any that strike your interest. 

I'm very appreciative of the team at Bloguin for giving me the opportunity to join up with a talented group of writers.  They did a fantastic job designing my new site, and you'll immediately notice the new and improved look and feel of the site. 

The address for the new site is easy to remember at

Not only does the new site look and feel better, but it offers a lot of new features, both for me and you.  Most notably, the new site will have a forum where you can post messages, ask questions, or respond to any my posts or articles. 

I will continue to have an e-mail newsletter feature to alert subscribers via e-mail when new articles are posted.  If you're signed up for the e-mail feature at the old site, I have already signed you up at the new site.  For anyone else interested, just enter your name and e-mail address in the box on the right hand side of the new site and click "Subscribe".   That's it.  You're all set.

I will send out the first e-mail newsletter on Thursday sometime.  If you don't receive it, shoot me an e-mail at and I'll get you squared away.

I will keep the old site active, and this post will be my last.  I'll leave this on the front page for anyone who stumbles across it and for any stragglers who haven't found their way over yet. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Expansion Settles Down; Big-12 Survives; CWS Field Set


Just days after it appeared the Big-12 would completely crumble, it now looks like it's going to hang around....for a while anyway.

A late push by the Big-12 Commissioner has apparently convinced all of the remaining ten schools to commit to staying in the conference.  A new TV deal will apparently make the deal lucrative enough to entice each school to remain.

Texas A&M was calling the shot on this one because they were strongly considering joining the SEC.  Had they decided to leave, the Big-12 likely would have crumbled as a nine team conference could not have worked.  For that reason, I'm sure the Aggies faced an incredible amount of political pressure to stay on board with the Big-12.  But they also faced the prospect of finally getting out of the shadow of Texas and joining the best and most powerful conference in college athletics.  At the same time, they could have, for once, dictated what happened to the University of Texas.  They had the chance to be bold but in classic Aggie fashion...they caved to the pressure.  I really believe that Texas A&M missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the fortune of their athletic department.  Now, they'll probably continue to wallow in mediocrity.  Suit yourself.  Those east Texas recruits will continue to help LSU win football games.

In the short term, I think we'll see the PAC-10 add one more team, probably Utah, to bring their total to 12.  Then, they can play a conference championship game and enjoy the financial benefits of doing so.

Each Big-12 team will play a nine game conference schedule, and they will not play a conference championship game.  They will function exactly like the PAC-10 has functioned for the last several years.

So, is all of this over with?

Not so fast.  The Big-10, which started all of this, said some time ago that they were looking to possibly expand past 12 teams.  They have been awfully quiet since adding Nebraska, and I think many are making a mistake by assuming the Big-10 will stand pat.  You could still see them raid the Big East (Rutgers, Syracuse, UCONN) or the ACC (Maryland), and it could start a similar domino effect that was rumored over the weekend.

For fun, here is what the Big-10 could look like if they stick with what they have:


Ohio State
Penn State
Michigan State


In case you missed the Twitter update on Monday, LSU pitcher Austin Ross has signed a contract with the Brewers and will not return to LSU in the fall.

The College World Series is set, and I'm glad to say that I'll be there this weekend to take in some of the action.   Here is how the first weekend of games shapes up:

(1) Arizona State vs. Clemson
TCU vs. Florida State
(3) Florida vs. (6) UCLA
South Carolina vs. Oklahoma

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Latest On Expansion


Between USC getting hammered by the NCAA and all of this expansion and conference realignment, college football has never been so prominent in the month of June.

Rumors on expansion have been running rampant, and it has been tough to sift through everything.  But I tried my best.  Here is what we've got.

- Nebraska is leaving the Big-12 and joining the Big-10, effective for the 2011 season.
- Colorado is also leaving the Big-12 and is joining the PAC-10, tentatively effective for the 2012 season

The PAC-10 is also trying to court Big-12 South members Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M.  That would give the PAC-10 a total of 16 teams.  They would reportedly form two divisions.  One would consist of those five teams along with Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State.  The other division would consist of USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State.

However, Texas A&M and the SEC may be throwing a wrench into those plans.  Texas A&M prefers the SEC over the PAC-10, and the SEC seems open to taking them.

Meanwhile, the Big-12 conference commissioner is doing everything he can to keep the remaining 10 members of his conference in tact.  However with a conference needing 12 members in order to hold a conference championship game, it does not appear that this option is financially tenable when compared to the option of leaving for another conference.   However, the commissioner is doing all he can to sell this angle.

Suddenly, Texas A&M and the SEC hold all the cards.  Even if the remaining schools in the Big-12 want to stay put, Texas A&M's decision could dictate what happens.  If they pull the trigger and decide to bolt for the SEC, then the others would certainly take off to the PAC-10.

Oklahoma is the source of many rumors as well.  They also appear to be considering the SEC in place of the PAC-10, and it has been reported that the SEC is pursuing them.  

What about the Big-10?   After all, they started this whole thing.  They added Nebraska last week to give them 12 teams.  They now have enough to host a conference championship game.  Are they going to stop at 12 though?   Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, UCONN, Missouri, and Maryland continue to be rumored additions to the conference.

The SEC and Big-10 could have a bit of a standoff.  Aside from Texas A&M and Oklahoma, the SEC may be looking to expand further, possibly to 16 teams.  If they do, they'll almost certainly be looking east in efforts to expand their television empire.  Teams like Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Miami will be rumored additions.  However, the SEC does not want to openly raid the ACC or Big East.  But if the Big-10 strikes first and the ACC or Big East is in shambles, the SEC will have no problem adding teams at that point.

Mostly what we have is a lot of rumors and an unsettled situation.  But expect a lot more to come this week.  The biggest thing to watch is what the Big-12 South schools, especially Texas A&M, decide to do.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LB Kyle Prater transfers to Rice; Southern Pigskin thoughts expansion



Sophomore linebacker Kyle Prater has decided to transfer to Rice according to this article.  Prater was way down the depth chart for LSU, and it looked like he would be a career special teams player and reserve.  With LSU needing to get down to 85 scholarships by the fall and with the staff trying to make room for as many of the talented 2011 prospects as possible, this move makes sense for both parties.


I have not had time to put together all my thoughts on all of the expansion talk.  That may be best because by the time I get something written, things are likely to change.  With big announcements expected to come Friday concerning Nebraska and the Big-10, I may let the dust settle over the weekend before posting something.

However, I know you want to read about it right now.

Check out what my Southern Pigskin brothers have put together.

B.J. Bennett, one of the best writers around, gives his thoughts on expansion.

Also, Brandon Rink provides his insight on expansion as it relates to the SEC and ACC.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

MLB Draft Report - Day 2; Southern Pigskin Features



In Day 2 of the Major League Baseball Draft, LSU fared pretty well.  The following players and prospects were chosen on Tuesday:

C Micah Gibbs - 3rd round  (pictured)
OF  Leon Landry - 3rd round
INF Garin Cecchini - 4th round
P Kevin Gausmann - 6th round
P Austin Ross - 8th round
1B Blake Dean - 8th round
OF Lucas Leblanc - 11th round
SS Jacoby Jones - 19th round
OF Austin Southall - 19th round
P Ryan Eades - 19th round

I think we have three categories of players:  those that are definitely gone, those that are likely to stay, and those that are on the fence.

Here is what I think LSU is looking at:

P Anthony Ranaudo
2B Delino Deshields Jr.
P Cam Bedrosia
C Micah Gibbs
OF Leon Landry
P Austin Ross
INF Garin Cecchini

SS Jacoby Jones
P Ryan Eades

P Zach Lee
P Kevin Gausmann
OF Lucas Leblanc
OF Austin Southall

Late Tuesday night, some reported that Garin Cecchini had already signed a contract but I could not find anything official.  Regardless, I fully expect him to sign if he has not already.  

Normally, I would expect any first round pick to sign; however, both Zach Lee and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in unique situations.  Because of that,  I still give LSU a fighting chance to ultimately land Lee.  Meanwhile, Lee has arrived at LSU and enrolled in summer classes along with the rest of the incoming true freshmen.

Kevin Gausmann was selected in the sixth round.  That is very high, but it is significantly lower than most expected him to go.  Because Gausmann expected to go much higher, he has a higher dollar amount in his head as far as what it will take for him to sign.  Here is an article on Gausmann's thoughts on the draft and his future.  I give LSU a chance at landing him, though not a great one.

The best news of the draft was when shortstop Jacoby Jones fell all the way to the 19th round.  Jones was expected by most to be selected in the top 5 rounds.  It now seems that Jones will end up at LSU, and he's someone that can compete for playing time immediately, perhaps at third base.

Even though we'll be fully ramped up for football season, when the August 15th deadline for draft picks to sign comes and goes, I plan on doing a full look ahead to the 2011 baseball team.


I've got a couple of new pieces up on Southern Pigskin as Justin Davis and I continue to get together on ranking the top players in the SEC West.

Over the last few days, we have ranked the quarterbacks as well as the wide receivers.

LSU had a strong showing on the wide receiver list.  Go to Southern Pigskin and check out everything going on over there.  It's a great site to read up on everything going on in the SEC and ACC.

Monday, June 7, 2010

MLB Draft Report; LSU Holding Camp



The first round and compensation round took place on Monday night.  Here is how the LSU players and prospects fared:

First, Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) was selected 39th overall by the Boston Red Sox.  The Slant wishes him the very best in his pro career.

Delino Deshields Jr. was selected eighth overall by the Houston Astros, and he'll certainly sign.  He never seriously considered attending LSU, and this is no surprise.

Pitcher Cam Bedrosian was selected 29th overall, and he's expected to go play pro ball.  I don't expect much drama with his contract situation.

In a bit of a surprise, LSU quarterback and pitcher signee Zach Lee, was selected 28th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  My first instinct was that no team would have selected Lee so high unless they had assurances that he would bypass LSU and sign.  However, I learned about a rule Monday night that if a team does not sign their first round pick, they are awarded a first round pick the following year.

The Dodgers are reportedly in some financial trouble.  Many, including Kevin Goldstein from Baseball speculate that the Dodgers selected Lee with no intention of signing him.  The strategy would be to wait and use the pick next year.  He even put 5-1 odds that the Dodgers sign Lee.  We'll see.

We now play the waiting game with Lee to see if he signs by August 15th.

I'll update again after Tuesday as the draft continues.


LSU is currently hosting a number of prospects on campus as part of the first of two summer camps.

A lot of the eyes were on the quarterbacks as all in-state prospects were on hand in efforts to earn an offer from the Tigers.  The consensus was that Catholic HS's Zack Oliver was the best of the bunch and that he would be the one to ultimately earn the offer.   However, Clinton's Stevie Douglas is competing neck and neck with Oliver and putting on a good show.  Haughton's Dak Prescott is also making a name for himself and has caught the eye of the coaches.

In addition to the in-state quarterbacks, South Carolina's Justin Worley is on campus and competing.  Worley has some big-time offers from places like Tennessee, Notre Dame, Stanford and Florida State.

South Carolina defensive back Ronnie Martin is on campus and reportedly standing out as the top defensive back in attendance.  Martin has an offer from LSU and is very high on the Tigers.  He also recently received an offer from Nebraska and South Carolina.  The offer from the Gamecocks may prove difficult for LSU to overcome, but hopefully Martin has a good visit.

LSU Commitment Trevon Randle is attending camp and reportedly doing very well.  Some rumors have been swirling that Randle could be re-considering his commitment to LSU, but that does not appear to be the case.

Thought not at LSU's camp, Tampa, FL quarterback Phillip Ely received an offer from LSU recently.  Ely has performed very well at a number of camps this summer and has earned offers from the likes of Arizona State, South Florida, Michigan State, Rutgers, and others.  LSU's offer stands out as one of Ely's best, and that will hopefully put the Tigers near the top of his list.  I love Ely as a prospect.

East St. John defensive back Floyd Raven attended a camp at Ole Miss and really put on a show.  He ran a 40-time of 4.44 and measured at 6'2".  He will likely shoot up the rankings.  He is scheduled to attend LSU's second camp in July and he could very well earn an offer at that time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

LSU's Baseball Season Ends; Major League Draft Preview



LSU lost 4-3 to UC Irvine on Sunday, ending a bizarre season for the Tigers.  The Tigers came out smoking this year, owning a 32-6 record and Top 5 ranking near the end of April.  But then the wheels came off, and LSU lost 13 of their next 15, including an embarrassing 9-1 loss to Tulane.  The Tigers seemed to get their act together by winning six of the next seven including four in a row to win the SEC Tournament.  That brought us to this weekend's regional.  The Tigers competed, but missed several opportunities at the plate and ultimately bowed out.  

The season has to be considered a disappointment considering the high pre-season ranking and the way the first half of the season played out.  A few things contributed to the team not meeting expectations.  

First was the injury to Anthony Ranaudo's elbow early in the season.  Not only did Ranaudo miss about a month but once he returned, he never matched the expectations we all had for him based on how he played last year.  The team was counting on him to be the rock of the pitching staff this season and when that didn't happen, the staff found itself in disarray.  

On offense, the team was hitting the ball well but they were not producing the power numbers of the last two seasons.  Blake Dean had a very good season, but the home runs just weren't there in 2010...for whatever reason.  The team also struggled to find the right guy at third base.  Wet Delatte and Beau Didier both gave it a shot without much luck.  Grant Dozar then took over for a while.  Regardless, the offense was producing.  But then, left fielder and leadoff man Trey Watkins injured his elbow.   That left another hole in the lineup, and it forced the batting order to be re-shuffled.  The offense stopped producing as much.  

Once the losing streak started, the attitude of the team changed and it proved difficult to break out of.  Eventually, they did. Austin Ross pitched well down the stretch and helped settle the pitching staff.  Also, Mason Katz and Alex Edward played well at left field and third base respectively.  Their late season performance gives us something to look forward to next year.  

Speaking of next year, the Major League Baseball draft starts on Monday night, and it will be of great interest to LSU Baseball (and football) fans.   As far as returning players to LSU's roster, I did a piece on that last month.  


With the draft starting tomorrow, I thought I'd re-visit LSU's players and prospects and their projection for the draft.  

Anthony Ranaudo will almost certainly be a first round pick tomorrow.  While he was at one point considered a Top 5 pick, he's now more likely to get selected around #20 overall.  Regardless, he has almost certainly thrown his last pitch as an LSU Tiger, and I wish him well.  

Micah Gibbs
is also projected to be a first or second round pick.  That means he's almost certain to have played his last game for LSU.  

Things get more interesting after those two.  

Leon Landry is projected to be a high round draft pick and may go as early as the fourth round.  If picked anywhere in the top eight rounds, which seems like almost a certainty, then Landry will probably go pro.  

Austin Ross
is a real wild card.  He is highly thought of by Major League scouts and could go as high as the sixth or seventh round.  Ross pitched well down the stretch this season, which is encouraging.  It would be nice if he could return to LSU's staff next year.  Right now, I'd give it a less than 50% chance that he returns.  

Blake Dean should be picked somewhere between rounds five and ten.  

Now, we'll take a look at LSU's incoming freshmen.  Not much has changed with these guys since my report last month.  Here are the guys to keep an eye on:

Pitcher Kevin Gausman from Colorado looks like he's going to be a first or second round pick.  However, his stock has dropped some recently, and the word is out that his commitment to LSU is very strong and that he's very serious about playing college baseball.  You can bet that if a team takes him high, they have received word from him that he's willing to sign.   I'd put him in the "Doubtful" category as far as him coming to LSU in the fall.  But if he drops into the later part of the second round, then it will be interesting.  

Pitcher Cameron Bedrosian from Georgia looks like a first or second round draft pick, and I think it's highly doubtful he plays for LSU next year.  

Infielder Delino Deshields Jr. has every intention of signing a pro contract and likely only committed to LSU in order to gain leverage in his negotiations with whoever drafts him.  I wouldn't get too excited about having him at LSU next year.  

Infielder Jacoby Jones from Mississippi currently has a second or third round projection right now, and he also has a strong commitment to LSU.  He is described as a very raw shortstop, but he could make an immediate impact at LSU next year.  The Tigers return Austin Nola, but he could certainly compete for a spot at third base or in the outfield.  

Infielder Garin Cecchini (pictured) from Barbe high school is another guy who could be drafted in the top five rounds, maybe as high as the third.  Cecchini injured his knee in March which did not help his draft status, although it has been rising of late.  One site even has Cecchini going in the first round.  He's also considered to have a strong commitment to LSU.  He could fill an immediate need for LSU next year at either third or first base.  

University High school outfielder Austin Southall could be picked somewhere in the top ten rounds and is one to watch.  Hopefully, he'll slide and ultimately end up at LSU.  
 Lastly, there is Zach Lee from Texas who, as we know, is LSU's quarterback recruit for the Class of 2010.  Based on talent alone, Lee is one of the Top 50 prospects in the draft.  However, teams know that Lee is seriously considering both sports at LSU.  That could push him farther down the draft.  One recent report from ESPN suggested that Lee has put word out that he's willing to sign.  I have a feeling that his situation will drag out until August.  At this point, call it a coin flip as to whether Lee plays for LSU next year.  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Regional Preview



LSU is the #2 seed in what many consider the most difficult of the 16 regionals this weekend.  The regional consists of the #6 national seed and host team, UCLA.  But it also consists of the defending national champs and the #6 national seed from 2009 in UC Irvine, who was the runner-up in the Big West Conference this year.   Kent State will also be there to try and pull an upset.

LSU will open up Friday at 4:00 against UC Irvine.  The winner of that game will face the winner of the game between UCLA and Kent State.  Whichever team wins their first two games will be in the driver's seat to win the regional.  Here is an in depth look at both UC Irvine and UCLA.

UC Irvine (37-19,  17-9 in Big West Conference)

Cal Irvine enters the Regional ranked #21 in the most recent Baseball America poll, two spots higher than LSU.   UCI plays typical West Coast baseball in true "Small Ball" fashion.   They rely on strong pitching, patience at the plate, moving runners, and manufacturing runs.

The Anteaters don't impress at the plate.  They bat just .304 as a team with only 33 home runs on the season.  To compare, LSU bats .320 with 75 home runs.  Furthermore, their team on base percentage is the lowest of the top three teams in the regional.  In a bit of a surprise, UC Irvine has no real stolen base threats on the team.

They do have a couple of individual players that should be a concern at the plate.  First baseman Jeff Cusick is hitting .379 with 8 HRs and 56 RBIs.   Cusick generally bats third or fourth in the Anteaters' lineup.  Third baseman Brian Hernandez bats .333 with 4 HRs and 42 RBIs and also hits in the middle of their lineup.

Cal Irvine wins games with their outstanding pitching.  All three of their starting pitchers have at least eight wins and ERAs under 4.00.  Against LSU, they are going to throw lefty Daniel Bilbona, who looks like their top guy.  Bilbona is 9-2 with a 2.10 ERA.  He has 100 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 90 innings.  He only allows opposing hitters to bat .208 against him.   Needless to say, LSU has their work cut out for them.

It does look like the Anteaters' bullpen is vulnerable.  Closer Kyle Necke has four losses and a 4.61 ERA while allowing opposing batters to hit .308 against him.  If the game is close in the late innings, the Tigers certainly still have a chance to make things happen.

UCLA  (43-13, 18-9 in PAC-10)

UCLA has consistently been ranked in the Top-10 this year, and they enter the tournament ranked #8 in the most recent Baseball America poll.   The Bruins also like to win games with pitching and "Small Ball", but they're a bit more capable at the plate than UC Irvine.

As a team, UCLA hits .309 with 52 home runs.  They don't have any big boppers in the lineup as their leading home run hitter is catcher Steve Rodriguez who has eight.  They do have some other standouts.

First baseman Dean Espy leads the way with a .359 average, 7 HRs, and 45 RBIs.  Freshman Beau Amaral is batting .343.   And watch for shortstop Niko Gallego who is 21 of 22 in stolen bases.

Like UC Irvine, UCLA relies on pitching to lead the way.  And UCLA has some seriously good pitchers. They have a pair of dominating starting right handers, who happen to be tied for the PAC-10 lead in strikeouts.  Both guys are power pitchers with great stuff.

Gerrit Cole is 9-2 with a 3.27 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 96.1 innings.  Freshman Trevor Bauer is 9-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 101 innings.  The good news?  Both guys, especially Cole, have a tendency to give up some walks.

 It's unclear who the Bruins will throw in their game against Kent State, but they'll probably save both Cole and Bauer for the later games.  If LSU wins their first game, they'll likely face one of these guys.

LSU  (40-20, 14-16 in SEC)

Head Coach Paul Maineri is going to start Austin Ross on Friday against UC Irvine.  I really like this move and think it's the right one.  Anthony Ranaudo threw a pretty intense three innings on Sunday in the SEC Championship Game, and the extra day of rest is probably best for him.  But aside from that, Austin Ross has been LSU's best pitcher over the last few weeks.

In his last four starts, Ross has a 3.95 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 27.1 IP.   Most impressive, he has only given up 18 hits in those 27 + innings.   Ross has shown the best control on LSU's staff lately, and that will be important against a team like UC Irvine who thrives on walks.  Lastly, Ross is reportedly the Tigers' best fielder from the pitcher position.  That can prove helpful against the Anteaters who like to bunt.

If the Tigers can manage to win their first game, they'll be a very confident bunch going against UCLA (most likely), and they'll be doing so with their ace on the ace who seems to finally be regaining his form.

I wouldn't expect any changes in LSU's lineup on Friday.  I fully expect Mason Katz to be in left field and Alex Edward to be at third base.

All in all, some great baseball should be on display this weekend.  

What else to look for this weekend?  LSU's regional is paired with the Cal State Fullerton regional.  If a team other than Fullerton wins that regional, then LSU can host a Super Regional at Alex Box stadium if their season is still alive.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Southern Pigskin: SEC West Top RBs


I teamed up with fellow Southern Pigskin columnist Justin Davis in efforts to rank the top players at each position in the SEC West.  This is the first part in a series where we'll cover each position group.  Justin also covers the SEC West for Southern Pigskin with his focus being on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

You can check out the article right here. Releases Initial Top 100



For those interested in recruiting rankings, released their initial Top 100 list.  Prospects from the state of Louisiana fared very well in these initial rankings.  Here are the Louisiana players and where they were ranked:

#6 OT La'el Collins - Redemptorist HS (LSU Commitment - pictured)
#16 RB Kenny Hilliard - Patterson HS (LSU Commitment)
#18 WR Jarvis Landry - Lutcher HS (LSU Commitment)
#19 OL Gregory Robinson - Thibodaux HS
#33 DT Anthony Johnson - O.Perry Walker HS (LSU Commitment)
#62 ATH Odell Beckham Jr. - Newman HS

It's a bit surprising that Evangel DE Jermauria Rasco was not included.  I suspect that he, along with St. Paul's DT Mickey Johnson and Redemptorist RB Jeremy Hill will be just outside the Top 100.

To compare, here is how the Louisiana prospects stack up in the rankings:

#12 OT La'El Collins - Redemptorist HS (LSU Commitment)
#22 DE Jermauria Rasco - Evangel HS
#29 DT Anthony Johnson - O.Perry Walker HS (LSU Commitment)
#83 WR Jarvis Landry - Lutcher HS (LSU Commitment)

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the #1 player in the nation according to both sites.

ESPN will be releasing their rankings on Wednesday.

Monday, May 31, 2010

LSU going to Los Angeles



The LSU Baseball team is the #2 seed in UCLA's regional.   UCLA is the #6 national seed.   To start off, LSU will face the #3 team in the regional, UC Irvine.  You will remember that LSU defeated UC Irvine in the Super Regional in 2008.  The #4 seed in the regional is Kent State.

I just said last night that the NCAA likes to keep things regional and that LSU wouldn't likely end up at a place like UCLA.   Shows what I know. 

Looking ahead, LSU's regional is paired with Cal State Fullerton's regional.  That bracket consists of Cal State Fullerton (1), Stanford (2), New Mexico (3), and Minnesota (4).  If LSU wins their regional and anyone other than Cal State Fullerton wins their regional, then LSU will host the Super Regional at Alex Box stadium. 

The full bracket can be found here

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baseball Wins 3rd Straight SEC Tournament; Recruiting Notes



LSU's baseball team has returned to their winning ways after a really horrific stretch of baseball that saw them lose 13 of 15 games, capped off by an embarrassing 9-1 loss to Tulane.  Since then, the Tigers have won six of their last seven, including the last four in a row to win their third straight SEC Tournament. 

LSU's pitchers have performed well over the last two weeks, and the batters are hitting in the clutch.  Those things were not happening during LSU's skid.  Additionally, Anthony Ranaudo finally looks like he could be re-gaining the dominance that made him one of the top prospects for the Major League Baseball draft.  Most importantly, the entire team is playing with confidence again.  Could the team be hitting their stride at the most important part of the season?   It certainly appears so. 

The 16 host Regional sites were announced on Sunday, and Baton Rouge was not included.  Therefore, LSU will have to go on the road in the post-season.   The 16 host schools are:

Arizona State
Cal State Fullerton
Coastal Carolina
Georgia Tech
South Carolina

LSU will almost certainly be a #2 seed at one of those regional sites.  Some sites are preferable to others.  The NCAA likes to keep things relatively regionally, so it'd doubtful that LSU will go to a place like UCONN or UCLA.  It would be in LSU's best interest to end up at a place like TCU or Louisville as opposed to Texas or Virginia.  The entire tournament will be announced tomorrow at 11:30, and I'll update the site and the Twitter account once the announcement is made. 

The Slant will preview LSU's regional heading into next weekend and also preview the Major League Baseball draft, which begins June 7th. 


LSU hosted a "Family Day" on Saturday for current commitments and other in-state prospects.  The goal of the weekend was for the recruits to bring their families to campus and for everyone to get to know each other.  It looks like the weekend was a success as most of LSU's commitments were able to make it. 

Some uncommitted prospects also attended, including St. Paul's HS DT Mickey Johnson, St. Helena Central ATH Ryan Byrd, and Pineville RB Derek Milton, who now plays for Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. 

South Plaquemines HS WR Bradley Sylve also attended, despite being a verbal commitment to Alabama. 

It seems that the weekend had the desired effect. 

It wasn't all good news however. 

Thibodaux HS OL Greg Robinson, arguably the top uncommitted prospect in the state, chose to attend Auburn's "Big Cat Weekend" rather than LSU's Family Day.  Robinson's former high school teammate, Trovon Reed, signed with Auburn in February over LSU.  Most consider Robinson a lean to LSU, but his actions are starting to indicate otherwise.  At this point last year, most considered Trovon Reed a lean to LSU as well. 

Newman ATH Odell Beckham Jr. and Evangel DE Jermauria Rasco were unable to attend which is a little disappointing. 

Benton high school safety T.K. Fleming was apparently arrested recently.  He was also recently offered by LSU.  It's unclear how his arrest will affect his offer, but I have to believe it will. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recruiting Recap; Summer Camp Circuit Approaching



The summer camp circut is about to get cranked up, and I thought it would be a good time to take a look at LSU's recruiting class and what prospects may earn offers soon.  In recent years, LSU's coaches have issued offers to little known prospects who have performed well at camp.  Guys like J.D. Lott, Josh Williford, Sam Gibson, and Dexter Blackmon came out of nowhere to end up as LSU commitments.

It's still a bit early to know who is going to attend camp at LSU, but this recap should paint a clear picture of guys that could potentially earn offers if they show up and perform well. 

While LSU continues to chase some high profile national recruits such as C.J. Uzomah, Jacoby Brissett, Marquise Williams, and Justin Worley, they'll have to make a decision on in-state quarterbacks that are likely to camp at LSU. 

Catholic High's Zack Oliver looks like the most likely to earn an LSU offer at camp.  The 6'4" 215 pound prospect completed 62% of his passes as a junior with 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.  He also rushed for around 400 yards.   My bet is that Oliver leaves camp with an offer. 

Clinton's Stevie Douglas is another in-state signal caller that will be competing for an offer.  Douglas has a good frame at 6'4" and 190 pounds.   Douglas plays in a small classification so a strong camp performance is very important for him.  Thus far, Douglas has an offer from Memphis. 

Hahnville's Brian Ensminger has not attracted a ton of interest thus far, but I wouldn't be surprised if he performs well at a few camps and earns a lot more attention.  Thus far, Ensminger only has a Tulane offer.  It's unclear whether he is attending LSU's camp. 

LSU has three running backs committed, and they aren't looking for any others.  Kenny Hilliard and Terrance Magree are both solid in their commitments to LSU.  Jeremy Hill is not as solid and is considering taking visits to other schools. 

The Tigers do have a couple of offers out there for fullbacks.  Illinois prospect Nick Lifka may attend LSU's camp, but he already holds an offer. 

I don't anticipate the camps having a big impact at the wide receiver position either.  LSU currently has two commitments at receiver, and they have their sights set on Odell Beckham Jr. and Joseph Morrow, who both hold offers, for the third spot.  LSU will continue to recruit Bradley Sylve who recently gave a verbal commitment to Alabama.  Would the Tigers take all five guys?  Would Beckham be willing to play cornerback?  If Sylve sticks with the Tide, will a new name will emerge?  Perhaps that new name will come up at camp. 

LSU was a finalist for Max Stevenson who ultimately chose Oklahoma.  Otherwise, it does not appear that the Tigers are recruiting the tight-end position too hard this year.   A pair of in-state guys could make an impact at camp and raise some eyebrows however. 

Rayville's Quinton Griffin and Christian Life's Johnny Banks are both athletic receiving tight-ends.  I'm not sure if they intend on attending LSU's camp but if so, it will certainly be worth keeping an eye on their performance. 

LSU has three offensive line commitments thus far, and it's very clear that Thibodaux's Greg Robinson is the biggest remaining target.  In fact, he may be the most important in-state prospect left on LSU's board at any position.   If LSU lands Robinson, would they consider taking a fifth offensive lineman? 

If so, one in-state guy to watch would be Destrehan's Ethan Hutson.  Hutson was the MVP of the Baton Rouge Nike camp at the offensive line position, but LSU's coaches were not allowed to attend that event.  If he can duplicate that performance in front of the coaching staff, then he could potentially earn an offer.  Hutson projects as a center in college, a position of need for LSU. 

Mississippi's James Maiden is another possibility as a fifth offensive lineman.  Maiden already received an offer from LSU, but is that offer still valid?

With one defensive tackle committed, LSU has their sights set on St. Paul's High School's Mickey Johnson.  Johnson already holds an offer from LSU.  If Johnson decides to go elsewhere or if LSU looks for a third defensive tackle in this class, then a trio of in-state guys could be fighting for that spot. 

West Monroe's Chuck Hunter is the most familiar name.  Hunter holds offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and TCU.  His height is apparently a concern for LSU's coaches. 

Rayville's Gerrand Johnson reports offers from Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Alabama.  It's unclear whether Johnson is going to camp at LSU, but I'm hopeful that he does.  He looks like a very good prospect. 

Neville's Demarcus Hodge is another guy to watch.  Arkansas, Tennessee, and TCU have already offered the 6'1" 295 pound standout. 

If either of the three tackles mentioned above have an interest in earning an offer from the Tigers, then camping at LSU is in their best interest. 

At defensive end, LSU has Quentin Thomas on board and is looking for at least one more guy.  Evangel's Jermauria Rasco is the clear #1 target for the staff.   But are they interested in another defensive end after Rasco? 

The state of Louisiana doesn't appear to offer any additional prospects, and the Tigers will have to look out of state for another defensive end. 

With just one commitment at linebacker, the Tigers will be looking to add at least one more. 

South Plaquemine's Beau Fitte could be a guy that earns a strong look from LSU with a good camp.  Currently, he holds an offer from Louisiana Tech. 

Otherwise, LSU will look out of state for linebackers. 

It will be very interesting to see how the cornerback position shakes out for this recruiting class.

Vandebilt Catholic's Darren Kitchen may have the most to gain from camping at LSU.  He drew rave reviews from his performance at the Baton Rouge Nike camp, but he still does not hold an LSU offer at this point.  He does have offers from Nebraska and Stanford. 

Bastrop's Jevante Watson is another SEC caliber defensive back in the state.  Watson looks the part of a corner with good size at 6'0" 180 pounds.  He recently reported offered by Ole Miss and Alabama. 

A guy like West Monroe's Paul Turner (pictured) looks great on film as an offensive player, but he probably projects as a defensive back in college.  Could a good camp on defense put him in the discussion for LSU?  I think so.   Turner holds offers from TCU and Louisiana Tech.

South Carolina's Ronnie Martin recently earned an offer from LSU, but he may camp at LSU anyway.  Martin is very high on LSU, and it's possible that he leaves campus as a commitment.  Martin is 5'11" 185 pounds and has serious speed. 

East St. John's Floyd Raven and Houston, TX athlete Nick Shepard (Russell Shepard's brother) are in the conversation as well. 

LSU recently offered Benton High's T.K. Fleming, who has to be considered an LSU lean at this point. 

A prospect I'm very interested in is St. Helena Central's Ryan Byrd.  Byrd is likely a Top 20 player in the state of Louisiana, but his position at the next level is a bit uncertain.  Some like Byrd as a wide receiver and some like him as a safety.  As a receiver, Byrd is down the list for LSU.  But as a safety, I can easily see Byrd earning an offer.  I'm hopeful that Byrd works out at safety at camp so the coaches can evaluate him.  He's the kind of player that you want to find a spot for because you'd hate to see him go somewhere else.  He holds offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Memphis, Kansas, Kansas State, and Minnesota. 

Deridder's Deshazor Everett has offers from Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Memphis.  He'll need a strong camp to get onto the radar of the LSU staff. 

Leesville's Levander Liggins is a great looking prospect who probably projects as an offensive player in college.  Thus far, he only has offers from Miami of Ohio and Louisiana Tech.   In my opinion, Liggins' best chance at earning an SEC offer would be at defensive back, but I have not seen him on that side of that ball. 

Looking out of state, South Carolina's Pat Martin is a guy that has the attention of the LSU coaching staff.  He holds offers from LSU, Arkansas, Maryland, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  Martin is high on LSU and a visit to campus this summer could certainly help LSU's position. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Rare Summer Look At LSU Basketball


Football is not producing much news right now and if you’re like me, you don’t even want to think about LSU Baseball. Frankly, since the baseball team is, in my opinion, not investing much effort on the field, I’m not investing much effort in writing about them. So instead, I’m doing a rare summer breakdown of LSU basketball.

After a really disappointing 2009-2010 season, Trent Johnson’s guys hope to improve upon their 11-20 record which saw them win just two conference games. However, that may be a task that is easier said than done.

LSU will likely be without their two leading scorers from a season ago. Tasmin Mitchell graduated and will try to catch on with an NBA team. He was often LSU’s lone bright spot last year. Senior guard Bo Spencer is currently suspended from the team for academic reasons, and his future is very uncertain. It’s a strong possibility that Spencer will not return to the team next year. Therefore, LSU will rely heavily on the improvement of their returning players as well as contributions from the new guys.

To start, here is a breakdown of the returning players.

Returning Players:

F Storm Warren Jr - Warren (pictured) improved tremendously from his freshman season when he was a little used reserve. He turned into a very dependable SEC forward, averaging 11.8 points 7.2 rebounds and shooting an impressive .536 from the field. He’ll be counted on to be LSU’s veteran presence in the front court.

F/C Dennis Harris So – The skinny 6’11” post player did fairly well in his first season on the court.  He averaged 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting .505 from the field. He showed good athleticism and the ability to find the ball both as a rebounder and shot blocker. Due to his frail build, he lacks a physical presence in the paint and was often a defensive liability. If he can make an improvement from Year #1 to Year #2 similar to what Storm Warren did, then LSU will have a solid contributor with Harris.

G Chris Bass Jr – In his first season at LSU, Bass played more and more as the season progressed. He looked the part of a true point guard, dishing out a team-leading 3.1 assists per game. He’s not much of a scorer though, averaging only 2.3 PPG. With a pair of incoming point guards, Bass will be fighting for playing time again in 2010-2011.

G Aaron Dotson So – Dotson was a bit of a disappointment as a true freshman, averaging just 3.2 points and 1 assist per game, despite starting for most of the year. Shooting guards are expected to be scorers, and Dotson had an alarmingly bad .152 3-point shooting percentage. Dotson would have likely been better served with a redshirt season.

F Eddie Ludwig So – Ludwig did not produce much with only 2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a true freshman. However, he did show some flashes of possessing some good skills. He has a decent shot, and he also led the team in free throw percentage at .867. With a year under his belt, the hope is that he steps up as a sophomore and produces a bit more.

F/C Garrett Green Jr – Green is a big body who can provide an inside presence for LSU. However, he has been battling a lower back injury for a couple of years and it’s unclear just how much he’ll be able to contribute. His minutes were very limited towards the end of last season.

As you can tell, LSU will rely heavily on their new players. The good news is that this recruiting class, along with one transfer, is poised to make a huge impact on the court. Help is coming at the right positions.

Incoming Players:

F Malcolm White Jr – White averaged 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for Ole Miss in 2008-2009 season before transferring and sitting out last year. At Ole Miss, White showed flashes of big-time ability.  He had one game with 20 points and 9 rebounds and had another game with 18 rebounds.

F Jalen Courtney Fr – Courtney comes from Jackson, MS and has good size at 6’8” 210 pounds. He chose LSU over offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Missouri. Courtney averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds as a senior.

F Matt Derenbecker Fr – Derenbecker is a versatile wing player who many considered the top prospect in the state of Louisiana. He is 6’7” 185 pounds and was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state as a senior. He averaged 20.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 6 assists and 3 steals per game. Derenbecker also held offers from Ole Miss and Oklahoma State.

G Ralston Turner Fr – Turner is a wing player that knows how to put the ball in the basket. He’s listed at 6’5” 200 pounds. He averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds per game as a senior. He could play either shooting guard or small forward at the next level. He also averaged 4.3 blocks and 4 steals per game. Turner chose LSU over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Notre Dame. 

G Andre Stringer Fr – Stringer is an undersized point guard at just 5’9” 170 pounds, but he has all the skills you could want. He was voted Mr. Basketball for the state of Mississippi as a senior. Stringer is very quick and is a very good shooter with great range. Stringer averaged 25 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals per game as a senior.  Here is a little video of Stringer:

G K.C. Ross-Miller – Miller is another small point guard at 6’0” 175 pounds and hails from the Dallas, TX area. Miller was once a commitment to Kentucky, but re-opened his recruitment when former coach Billy Gillespie was fired. He ultimately chose LSU over Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Florida. He averaged 26 points and 11 assists as a senior. He also showed a great shooting touch, making 60% of his shot attempts, and 56% from three-point land. LSU badly needs outside shooting and Ross-Miller could provide that right away.  Here are some highlights of Miller: 

C Justin Hamilton – Hamilton is a 6’11” 230 pound transfer from Iowa State. Hamilton averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore for Iowa State last season. He also led the Big-12 in offensive rebounds. As a transfer, he will have to sit out the 2010-2011 season for LSU after which he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.  Here is one highlight of Hamilton from Iowa Sate.

All in all, I think LSU will be much improved but I'd be surprised if they compete for an SEC championship.  Trent Johnson is building this program his way, with four-year program players who are high character team guys.  That recipe has led to plenty of success at programs like Duke, Vanderbilt, and even Stanford where Johnson last coached.  A lot of freshmen will get valuable experience in their first year in the program and that will pay dividends in years to come. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

LSU Baseball On Life Support; LSU adds St. Aug OL



Kentucky swept LSU this weekend, putting LSU's post-season hopes on life support.  LSU has now lost 11 of their last 12 SEC games, with the only win coming in extra innings.  The wheels have totally come off this season, and it doesn't look like the Tigers are going to rebound.  It's impossible to explain what happened to this team.  It's easy to see that some injuries have affected them, but the team's mental focus and toughness is gone.  Completely gone.  When the team gets a lead, the mindset is one of trying to hold on and survive rather than to go for the kill. 

LSU's SEC record is now 12-15, and the Tigers are in serious trouble of not even making the SEC Tournament.  Luckily for the Tigers, they play cellar dweller Mississippi State next weekend who is currently in last place in the SEC West.  The Tigers will need to win two of three in order to have a chance at making it to Hoover. 


In case you missed the Twitter update on Friday, St. Augustine offensive lineman Trai Turner committed to LSU.  Turner is a big-time prospect who plays tackle for St. Aug but will likely play guard in college.   Turner is 6'5" 340 pounds and moves extremely well.  He also plays defensive tackle for St. Aug and looks like a legitimate prospect on that side of the ball. 

Turner chose LSU over offers from Nebraska, Florida State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Stanford, Tennessee, and others. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LSU Completes Spring Conditioning



LSU completed their spring conditioning program, and they put up some impressive numbers according to LSU.   That article is definitely worth a read.  Some highlights:

Running back Mike Ford stood out with the team's highest vertical leap (42") and second highest bench press (425 pounds). 

Defensive tackle Drake Nevis (pictured) led the team in bench press (475 pounds), Jerk (396 pounds), and Clean (374 pounds), which was a school record that he tied with P.J. Lonergan.  He was tied for second on the team in squat (535 pounds). 

Cornerback Patrick Peterson stands out, leading the team with a hand-timed 4.20 in the 40 yard dash and surprisingly ranking second on the team in the squat at 535 pounds.  He was also third on the team in the vertical leap at 39" 

Other notables are listed in the article. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bradley Sylve Commits To Alabama; Fleming Gets LSU Offer



South Plaquemines wide receiver Bradley Sylve committed to Alabama on Wednesday.  I have Sylve ranked as the seventh prospect in the state of Louisiana.  Sylve has serious speed in the category of Devery Henderson or Skyler Green and looks like a future impact player as a slot receiver and kick returner. 

For much of the last year, Sylve has thought to be a heavy lean to LSU.  But Alabama recruited him hard and convinced him that he could play earlier at Alabama than he could at LSU.  His commitment Wednesday came as a big surprise.  

While many LSU fans will rationalize this and say that maybe LSU did not want Sylve or that losing him is not a big deal, I can assure you that LSU did want him and that losing him is a serious kick in the man-parts.

LSU lost Trovon Reed out of Thibodaux last year and has, for now, lost a top player from South Plaquemines.  Both are traditionally LSU strong holds and while I hate to say that a trend is is.  Reason to be concerned?  You bet. 

The good news is that Sylve won't sign anywhere until February, and you can bet that Frank Wilson and LSU's staff will continue to recruit him hard.  He'll likely receive quite a bit of local pressure to stay home and play for the Tigers.

In other news, Benton high school safety T.K. Fleming received an offer from LSU.  Fleming has good size at 6'3" 200 pounds and just won the state championship in both long jump and triple jump.  Obviously, Fleming is an outstanding overall athlete.  He also holds offers from Nebraska, Tennessee, UCLA, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, and Louisville among others.  I think LSU moves to the top of his list now that they have offered. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Southern Pigskin: LSU Wide Receiver Tradition In Good Hands


I've got a new piece up on Southern Pigskin about the wide receiver tradition at LSU. 

Check it out here

A Look Into The Future For LSU Baseball



While I made it clear in my last post that I'm not giving up on the 2010 LSU Baseball team, I thought we'd take a quick look ahead to 2011.  Who is leaving?  Who is staying?  What new players can make a difference? 

Obviously, the seniors have to leave so we'll have to say goodbye to Blake Dean, Matt Gaudet, and Paul Bertuccini. 

If a player enrolls in college, they must play three years of college baseball before being eligible for the Major League draft.  Therefore we know that LSU will return the following players: 

Mikie Mahtook (So)
Austin Nola (So)
Tyler Hanover (So)
Trey Watkins (So)
Grant Dozar (So)
Johnny Dishon (So)
Matty Ott (So)
Chris Matulis (So)
Joey Bourgeois (So)
Shane Riedie (So)
Alex Edward (Fr)
Mason Katz (Fr)
Wet Delatte (Fr)
Beau Didier (Fr)
Matt Fury (Fr)
Jordan Rittiner (Fr)
Zach Lasuzzo (Fr)
Forrest Garrett (Fr)
Chris Cotton (Fr)
Michael Reed (Fr)

Some of LSU's juniors are highly regarded by Major League Scouts and may be leaving LSU's team as well.  Heading into the season, Anthony Ranaudo was a candidate to be the #1 overall pick in this summer's draft.  Even though Ranaudo has not had the season we have all hoped for, he'll still be a high first round pick. 

Micah Gibbs and Leon Landry (pictured) are also considered high round draft picks and will most likely not return to LSU's team next year.  If either of them do return, it will be a most pleasant surprise.

Pitcher Austin Ross is another guy that the scouts have their eye on.  Despite the fact that Ross hasn't enjoyed any consistent success at the college level, he's got great "stuff" and can top 90 MPH with his fastball.  For that reason, some team will likely take a chance on him in hopes they can coach up his raw skills.  This site projects Ross as a sixth round draft pick, which is a bit of a surprise to me.  If Ross goes anywhere in the Top 10 rounds, he'll probably leave. 

Other juniors on the team will likely return.  They are:

Daniel Bradshaw (Jr)
Kyle Koeneman (Jr)
Mitch Mormann (Jr)
Ben Alsup (Jr)

LSU has a number of high profile incoming freshmen that will get drafted at some point.  It's obviously in LSU's best interest for them to go as late as possible in order to increase their chances of showing up at LSU.  Here are some to watch in the early rounds:

P Kevin Gausman (CO) - Likely 1st or 2nd Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Doubtful

P Cameron Bedrosian (GA) - Likely Top 5 Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Doubtful

INF Delino Deshields Jr. (GA) - Likely Top 5 Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Doubtful

P Zach Lee (TX) - Likely Top 10 Round Pick - Football could scare teams away
Chances to come to LSU:  Average

OF Austin Southall (University High) - Likely Top 10 Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Average

INF Jacoby Jones (MS) - Likely Top 2 Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Doubtful

INF Garin Cecchini (Barbe HS) - Likely Top 10 Round Pick
Chances to come to LSU:  Average

If any of those guys make it to LSU, they'll likely be in the mix next season.  Here is a list of the remainder of new incoming players:

P Kurt McCune (Destrehan HS)
P Nick Rumbelow (TX)
INF Joe Broussard (Holy Cross HS)
P Josh Burris (Scotlandville HS)
P Mitch Hopkins (LSU Eunice)
INF Ryan Eades (Northshore HS)
INF Kevin Koziol (IL)
OF Marcus Davis (OH)
OF Lucas Leblanc (Delgado)
C Jackson Slaid (Lakeside HS)
C Tyler Ross (FL)

Another guy to consider is incoming freshman running back Spencer Ware, who is an outstanding baseball prospect as well.  Back in July, I wrote a little bit about Ware and his baseball ability. 

Here is one good article about LSU's signing class. 

As the draft approaches, I'll do my best to keep tabs on the draft stock of everyone of interest to LSU.  This post should give us a good starting point.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Slant Gets A New Look; Not Giving Up On Baseball


I'm sure you have noticed that the site has a new look today.  In efforts to continually improve, I've given the old girl a few upgrades.  The new look is a lot cleaner and makes for an overall better impression.  The biggest functional change is that all of the links to the recruiting pages are now along the top of the site rather than on the side. 

You'll also notice some links at the top for "Roster Breakdown By Class" which is a feature I hope to have up and running soon.  I'll of course let you know it's ready. 

In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you think about the new look.  Anyone is always welcome to hit the "Comments" feature on each post and leave some feedback.  Also feel free to let me know if you've got any ideas for any features or articles that the site currently lacks.  You're always welcome to shoot me an e-mail at


LSU lost two of three to Vanderbilt last weekend and has now lost three consecutive series.  As a result, their league record is now a pedestrian 12-12.  The pitching staff is inconsistent.  Staff ace Anthony Ranaudo can't get going.  The hitters leave too many runners on base.  Lastly, the lineup, regardless of who is playing on a particular day, has holes. 

Having said all that, I'm not ready to give up on this LSU Baseball team. Why do I continue to hold out hope?

Left-fielder and leadoff hitter Trey Watkins may return to the lineup this weekend.  His presence will allow Mikie Mahtook to slide back down the batting order.  Mahtook is one of LSU's best players, but he has a big swing and strikes out a bit too much for a leadoff hitter.  Having him back at the 5 or 6 hole again will benefit LSU a great deal, especially if Watkins can pick up where he left off before his injury. 

Over the last two weeks, left fielder Alex Edward has been hitting the ball well and when Watkins returns, he'll reportedly move to third base to try and fill a hole there. 

I still have a feeling that Ranaudo is going to find his groove at this point.  However, he needs to find it soon since only two weekends remain in the regular season. 

Both Jordan Rittiner and Austin Ross had good starts for LSU last weekend. 

Could the dominos start to fall in LSU's favor?  It's a lot of "ifs" but I'm not ruling out the possibility that LSU get hot down the stretch.  16 teams are going to host Regionals and at this point, it doesn't look like LSU will be one of them. But I can promise you that none of the 16 regional hosts want to see LSU in their bracket.


Some rumors are circulating that St. Augustine High School teammates Trai Turner and Renaldo Thomas are planning to commit to LSU soon.  It's not breaking news that LSU leads for both guys, but it would be nice to get them on board.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baseball Hosts Vandy



LSU faces Vanderbilt this weekend in the most pivotal series of the weekend.  The Dores have a solid 10-9 SEC record.  As usual, Vanderbilt has an outstanding pitching staff, and they lead the SEC with a 3.31 ERA.  That compares to 5.40 for LSU.  

Vandy is no slouch at the plate either with a team batting average of .317, good for fourth in the league.  They also lead the league in on base percentage. However, Vanderbilt doesn't hit a lot of home runs.  In fact, they rank last in the SEC in with only 36 round trippers on the season.  So while a lot of people get on base, they stay away from the big inning.  That should prevent Vanderbilt from jumping out to a big lead. 

While LSU and Vanderbilt match up well on paper, I get the sense that this series has everything to do with LSU and how they respond after losing six straight games.  With their backs against the wall and their season on the line, it's gut-check time.  Will LSU fold if they face some adversity?  Or will they respond and come out swinging?  My bet is on the latter. 


As high schools across the country begin their spring practices, college coaches are hitting the road and attending as many as possible to evaluate prospects.  A number of schools will be issuing new offers right now.  Otherwise, recruiting will likely be pretty slow until the summer camp circuit heats up. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

LSU Offers OL Trai Turner



LSU offered St. Augustine high school offensive lineman Trai Turner on Monday, becoming the 26th school to do so.  Turner also holds offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Stanford, and Tennessee among others.   I've got Turner ranked #15 on my state rankings, a couple of spots ahead of current LSU commitment Corey White.  I'm very glad that LSU has offered Turner.  In any other year, he'd be a lock to be a Top-10 player in state. 

Turner plays right tackle for St. Aug, but he could certainly move inside and play guard at the next level and that's where most project him. Turner has huge size at 6'5" 335 pounds but he carries his weight well and is quick on his feet. 

It will be interesting to see how LSU finishes up their OL class.  LSU has two commitments already on board, and it's tough to imagine them taking more than two more.  There is no question that LSU badly wants Thibodaux's Greg Robinson.  LSU has also been heavily recruiting Mississippi's James Maiden, and it seems that Maiden is even favoring the Tigers.  But now with an offer in hand, Turner has to be considered a lean to LSU as well.  It's a good problem to have.  Here is some film of Turner: 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baseball Loses Seventh Straight; Football and Recruiting Notes



Florida swept LSU this weekend, and the Tigers have now lost seven games in a row.  The team is not pitching well.  They are not hitting well.  And they are not running the bases well.  They are in a funk, and I suspect they are going to snap out of it pretty soon.  Paul Maineri's teams typically bounce back from adversity like this.   Unfortunately, this particluar slump has killed any chance LSU had of earning a Top 8 national seed.  If the season ended today, LSU would probably not even host a Regional. 

Coach Maineri tried to shake things up by starting Matty Ott on Sunday, but Ott got roughed up pretty bad.  I suspect Ott will return to the bullpen next weekend. 

So what is wrong with the team?  LSU was very successful in close games earlier in the season.  Lately, the Tigers have been on the wrong end of most of those games.  What has changed? 

Since Trey Watkins went out with an injury, the lineup has been unsettled and just hasn't felt right.  Also, Anthony Ranaudo's injury earlier in the season has set him back and he hasn't been fully comfortable yet.  Those two things stand out as the biggest contributing factors to LSU losing three of their last four SEC series.  The good news is that Watkins should return to the lineup before the end of the season and perhaps his return will spark the offense heading into the post season.  I'm also quite confident that Anthony Ranaudo will soon regain the form of one of the nation's top pitchers. 

LSU now sits at fourth place in the SEC West; however, they are only three games out of first place.  LSU has three SEC series remaining on the schedule.  They play Vanderbilt at home, then travel to Lexington to play Kentucky before returning home to face Mississippi State.  All three teams are behind LSU in the SEC standings.  LSU faces Southeastern at the Box on Tuesday. 


Jackass Season has reared its ugly head.  Backup center T-Bob Hebert was arrested Saturday morning for DWI.  Coach Miles has not made any statements about Hebert's arrest, and it's unclear what his future will be on the team. 

Several sites have reported that incoming freshman Tyrann Mathieu is now fully academically qualfied.  A few other incoming freshmen still have some work to do.  I'm not certain, but I believe that Brandon Worle, Alfred Blue, and Jahkari Gore are still working to be eligible. 


Klein Oak (TX) High school teammates Nathan Hughes and Max Stevenson both announced verbal commitments to Oklahoma over the weekend.  LSU was recruiting both players and had offered both guys. 

According to, LSU has offered West Palm Beach quarterback Jacoby Brissett.  Brissett has great size at 6'5" 235 pounds and is on's 250 Watch List.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Southern Pigskin: 2011 NFL Draft Prospects in the SEC West


I've got a new piece up on Southern Pigskin which discusses the top NFL prospects in the SEC West for next year.  I think you'll enjoy the read.  Check it out here

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can't Make Fun of Ole Miss This Year; Recruiting Tidbits


First off, I apologize for not getting an update out since last Tuesday.  I simply haven't been able to get one done.  So I'm playing a little catch up today. 


LSU unexpectedly got swept this weekend by Ole Miss. Each game was close, and the Tigers battled hard. They simply came up a little short each time. The three losses take LSU out of the driver's seat, and maybe out of the car entirely, in their efforts to earn a National Top-8 seed. LSU now sits with an 11-7 SEC record and a 32-9 overall record. Arkansas leads the SEC West at 13-5 while South Carolina leads the SEC at 14-4.

LSU has another difficult series on the road at Florida this weekend. But after that, the schedule lightens up a bit, and the Tigers could make a run.

Getting swept at Ole Miss is not the end of the world, but the Tigers are going to have to really step up in order to get back into contention to host a Super Regional. Ole Miss had been struggling, and their backs were against the wall in the SEC race. They obviously responded well. LSU now has their backs against the wall, and we'll see how they respond against Florida. 

Incoming freshman safety / wide receiver Tharold Simon (pictured) has reportedly made a qualifying ACT score and will be academically cleared to enroll at LSU in the fall. Simon was one of the stars of LSU's signing class, and he was also one of the bigger academic question marks. It's great news to hear that he'll be in the mix this fall.
LSU hosted a surprise visitor over the weekend when Florida defensive tackle Tim Jernigan was on caompus. Rated the #1 DT and #2 overall player in nation according to, Jernigan hails from Lake City, FL which is just west of Jacksonville.

A group of high profile Louisiana prospects participated in a 7-on-7 tournament in Tuscaloosa, AL over the weekend. The Louisiana team included prospects Odell Beckham, Jr., Ryan Byrd, Darren Kitchen, and quarterback Stevie Douglas. After a very strong showing at the Baton Rouge Nike camp last week, Beckham again impressed everyone in attendance. Some say that he was the best looking player at the entire event. Beckham may project better as a defensive back, but for now he maintains that he prefers receiver. At this point, it appears that Beckham could excel at either position.

Late last week, Texas defensive end Cedric Reed committed to Texas. LSU was recruiting Reed and even though Reed chose the Longhorns, his decision stands to benefit LSU. Texas plans to take just one defensive end in the Class of 2011 and with Reed on board, they won't be recruiting any others. Evangel High standout Jermauria Rasco has recently stated that LSU and Texas stood out as his leaders. Reed's decision should significantly help LSU's chances of signing Rasco. I suspect that Alabama will be a major player for Rasco as well before its all said and done. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baseball Rolls In Shreveport; Football Loses Two



LSU played Northwestern State in Shreveport on Tuesday night and rapped out 15 hits on the way to a 14-3 victory.  LSU took control of the game in the second inning with an Austin Nola home run and never looked back.  Nola was a single short of hitting for the cycle and his his third home run of the season.   Micah Gibbs, Wet Delatte, Johnny Dishon, and Tyler Hanover all had at least a pair of hits in the win. 

With Mikie Mahtook out of the lineup, Matt Gaudet played left field.  Wet Delatte started at third base while Grant Dozar was behind the plate and Micah Gibbs was the designated hitter.  Gibbs is now batting .414. 

Daniel Bradshaw started the game for the Tigers and pitched well.  He pitched five innings, struck our four, and allowed just one earned run.  It's good to see Bradshaw pitch well, and it would be nice if he could get back on track. 

LSU plays Northwestern State again Wednesday night at Alex Box stadium.  The Tigers are now 31-6 on the season. 

FOOTBALL has reported that receiver Jhyrn Taylor and offensive lineman Thomas Parsons will not return to LSU's football team in 2010 due to medical reasons.  It's still rumored that offensive lineman Cordian Hagans may not return as well.  If Hagans is part of the attrition, then LSU will only be one scholarship over the limit if all the freshmen are eligible.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends


I do not have any real news to pass along today.  Instead, I'm going to solicit the help of my readers. 

I started the Saturday Night Slant just over one year ago, and I've seen the site grow faster than I could have imagined.  I've done that without any real campaign to spread the word, but the word just kind of spread.  The next thing I know, over 90 people are signed up to the e-mail service, the number of daily visitors has quadrupled, and I'm a national columnist for Southern Pigskin. 

But now...I want to spread it even more, and I need your help. 

The e-mail subscription service is one of the more popular ways to follow the Slant.  I realize that many of you forward the e-mails to others, and I fully support that.  However I'd like to ask you to encourage those that receive your forwards to sign up for the service themselves.   So by all means, forward THIS update to everyone imaginable.  

Why does that matter to me?  It lets me more easily quantify how many people are reading my stuff, and that information is necessary when I solicit potential sponsors. 

If you're signed up for the e-mail service, you may also want to follow the Slant via Facebook and Twitter.  While the e-mail updates are only once daily, the Facebook and Twitter pages are updated more frequently and you receive the information immediately.   You can hit the Facebook or Twitter icons on the right hand side of the screen or hit the About The Site link to learn more. 

If you're getting this update as a forward, I encourage you to go the site and check things out. 

As always, anyone is welcome to e-mail me at 

Lastly, I sincerely thank all of you, my readers, for the consistent support and encouragement. 


OK, I have a little bit to pass along.  Apparently, Mikie Mahtook has some kind of illness and won't play in either of the mid week games against Northwestern State.  He may not be ready for the weekend series against Ole Miss. 


In case you missed it, Georgia has dismissed redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger from the football team for violation of team rules.  Mettenberger was competing with fellow redshirt freshman Aaron Murray for the starting job, and he really shined in the spring game.  The job now falls to Murray and veteran Logan Gray will be the backup. 


Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel has committed to Florida.  So scracth him off LSU's list.  Driskel is a very good fit for Urban Meyer's offense.


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