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Summer Scouting: Auburn

Jeremy Johnson is poised to lead Auburn's offense. (auburntigers.com)

Jeremy Johnson is poised to lead Auburn’s offense. (auburntigers.com)

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2015 season. From McNeese State (June 29) to Texas A&M (July 11), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: 2:30 p.m., Sept. 19
  • Where: Tiger Stadium
  • Early spread: LSU -4
  • Who’s before and after: at Mississippi State and at Syracuse

Auburn at a glance

  • Coach (year): Gus Malzahn (3rd)
  • 2014 record: 8-5 (4-4, t4th in SEC West)
  • 2014 postseason: Lost in Outback Bowl, 34-31 (OT) to Wisconsin
  • Returning starters: 13 (5 offense, 8 defense)
  • Preseason prediction: 4th nationally, 2nd SEC West

SPRING STORYLINE

Jeremy Johnson’s time and a switch of philosophy: The Nick Marshall Era in Auburn is over, and the highly anticipated Jeremy Johnson Era will begin this season in an offense that could show some new things. Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior and a top 15-ranked QB nationally in the 2013 class, has a better and stronger arm than Marshall. AU’s run-heavy zone read attack might see a few more doses of pass this year with Johnson running things.

BIGGEST THREAT

WR D’haquille Williams: Auburn returns its best receiver in 2014 in the 6-2, 225-pound LaPlace native. Williams had more receiving yards (730), more receiving touchdowns (5) and more catches (45) than all of Auburn’s receivers. He offers a big target for new QB Johnson. Williams and Johnson began building chemistry during the spring. They connected for a 36-yard touchdown in the spring game.

WEAK SPOT

Defensive tackle: Like LSU is thin at linebacker, Auburn is thin at defensive tackle. AU has just five DTs on scholarship, according to this story from AL.com. Auburn lost four of its five rotating defensive tackles from last season, including Gabe Wright, Angelo Blackson, Ben Bradley and Jeff Whitaker. That trio combined for 15 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2014. Montravius Adams is the lone returner in coach Rodney Garner’s rotation. Dontavius Russell, a four star prospect from Georgia, seems to have the edge in replacing one of the rotation guys.

Previous posts and coming posts

  • Monday: McNeese State
  • Tuesday: Mississippi State
  • Wednesday: Auburn
  • Thursday: Syracuse
  • Friday: Eastern Michigan
  • Saturday: South Carolina
  • Monday: Florida
  • Tuesday: Western Kentucky
  • Wednesday: Alabama
  • Thursday: Arkansas
  • Friday: Ole Miss
  • Saturday: Texas A&M

Former Ohio State RB Maurice Clarett on LSU’s campus, spoke to football players

Troubled footballer turned educational speaker Maurice Clarett is on LSU’s campus Tuesday and spoke to members of the football team, a school spokesman confirmed.

Clarett, a former Ohio State running back who was dismissed from OSU and then had a host of off-the-field issues, has been traveling the nation speaking to college and high school football teams. It’s unclear exactly how many players Clarett spoke to, but we know at least one – safety Jamal Adams.

maurice

Clarett tweeted Tuesday afternoon that a thunderstorm stopped him from getting a complete tour of LSU’s campus.

Clarett, 31, helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship as the team’s star freshman running back. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year that season before his life took a turn. He eventually served three and a half years in prison.

Clarett was dismissed from OSU in 2003 after a variety of offenses. He was part of an academic scandal, was spotted yelling at his position coach and publicly chided OSU administrators. Also, Clarett, a former five star recruit from Warren, Ohio, was charged with filing a false police report and later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

He might be best known for challenging the NFL’s rule in 2004 that a player must wait three years after graduating from high school to declare for the draft. He initially won the challenge in court before that ruling was reversed.

Clarett was drafted in 2005 by the Broncos and lasted just a few months with the team. He was arrested the next year on robbery charges. He pleaded guilty and served three and a half years in jail before his release in April 2010.

LSU has seen a string of arrests of late. The school has had five football players arrested over the last month: OL Jevonte Domond, QB Anthony Jennings, DB Dwayne Thomas, DL Maquedius Bain and DT Trey Lealaimatafao, who was dismissed from the team Monday.

Before visiting LSU, Clarett visited a couple of high school teams, according to his Instagram account.

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Summer Scouting: Mississippi State

(AP)

(AP)

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2015 season. From McNeese State (June 29) to Texas A&M (July 11), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: 8:15 p.m., Sept. 12
  • Where: Scott Field, Starkville, Mississippi
  • Early spread: LSU -3
  • Who’s before and after: vs. McNeese State and vs. Auburn

Mississippi State at a glance

  • Coach (year): Dan Mullen (7th year)
  • 2014 record: 10-3 (6-2, 2nd in SEC West)
  • 2014 postseason: Lost in the Orange Bowl, 49-34 to Ga. Tech
  • Returning starters: 8 (4 offense, 4 defense)

SPRING STORYLINE

Replacing Robinson: RB Josh Robinson and his 1,203 yards and 11 touchdowns are gone. He left early for the NFL draft, where he was picked by the Colts in the sixth round. Dontavian Lee, a redshirt freshman and three-star prospect from Hattiesburg, shined brightly among running backs during the spring. It doesn’t mean Lee will get the starting gig, of course. In fact, junior Ashton Shumpert (274 yards, 2 touchdowns in 2014) and Aeris Williams, another redshirt freshman, entered spring as the favorites to take the job. It might be more running back-by-committee for the Bulldogs.

BIGGEST THREAT

QB Dak Prescott: Prescott enters this season as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The dual-threat QB from Louisiana shattered records during a breakout 2014 season. He threw for 3,449 yards, ran for another 986 and scored a combined 41 touchdowns. He carved up LSU in State’s 34-29 win, scoring three times and rolling up 373 yards. Prescott made off-season news a few months ago, when he was attacked during a spring break trip to Florida.

WEAK SPOT

Front 7: Mississippi State lost five of its front seven on defense. That includes LB Benardrick McKinney (team leader in tackles at 71) and DE Preston Smith (team leader in TFL with 15 and sacks with 9). The Bulldogs will be young and inexperience defensively and will, even, have a new guy at the helm in DC Manny Diaz. Diaz begins his second stint in charge of State’s D. He left Starkville for Texas, where he was fired in 2013. He spent last season as DC at Louisiana Tech, where the Bulldogs finished 34th nationally in total D.

Previous posts and coming posts

  • Monday: McNeese State
  • Tuesday: Mississippi State
  • Wednesday: Auburn
  • Thursday: Syracuse
  • Friday: Eastern Michigan
  • Saturday: South Carolina
  • Monday: Florida
  • Tuesday: Western Kentucky
  • Wednesday: Alabama
  • Thursday: Arkansas
  • Friday: Ole Miss
  • Saturday: Texas A&M

Summer Scouting: McNeese State

McNeese QB Daniel Sams transferred to the school last year after a two-season stay at Kansas State. (salinapost.com)

McNeese QB Daniel Sams transferred to the school last year after a two-season stay at Kansas State. (salinapost.com)

Summer Scouting is a daily post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2015 season. From McNeese State (June 29) to Texas A&M (July 11), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule each day (excluding Sunday) until SEC media days begins.

Game reset

  • When: 6:30 p.m., Sept. 5
  • Where: Tiger Stadium
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: No one and at Mississippi State

McNeese State at a glance

  • Coach (year): Matt Viator (10th)
  • 2014 record: 6-5 (4-4, 6th in Southland Conference)
  • 2014 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 16 (9 offense, 7 defense)

SPRING STORYLINE

Rushing returners: McNeese’s offense last season was built around running the ball, and there’s no reason to think the Cowboys won’t do the same this season with a host of rushers returning.  A foursome of running backs return from a squad that averaged 220 yards on the ground a game: Ryan Ross (599 yards, 7 touchdowns), Mississippi State transfer Derrick Milton (387, 6), Kelvin Bennett (354, 2) and Dylan Long (346, 10) – three of whom are seniors. That’s not including the team’s leading rusher, QB Daniel Sams.

BIGGEST THREAT

QB Daniel Sams: The former Kansas State QB is expected to guide McNeese State’s offense. Sams led the team in rushing last season (711 yards) despite missing most of the last two games of the season with an injured thumb. The dual-threat QB completed 47 percent of his passes last year for 624 yards, tossing seven scores and four interceptions. Tyler Bolfing led the team in passing in 2014, but he moved positions to tight end during the spring. Sams, 6-2, 207 pounds, played in all 13 games at Kansas State as a sophomore in 2013, rushing for 807 yards that season. The former three-star prospect out of Slidell transferred in the spring of 2014 after a move to receiver didn’t go as planed.

WEAK SPOT

Defensive line: The Cowboys lost three of four defensive linemen, and all three were first team all-conference guys last season in Kevin Dorn, Sean Brown and Everett Ellefsen. The trio combined for 8 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss during the season, and McNeese held opponents to 112.5 yards rushing per game. Senior defensive end Brian Hine (9.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks last year) returns as the lone starter on the line. McNeese also added former four-star recruit Isaiah Golden, a transfer from Texas A&M.

Previous posts and coming posts

  • Monday: vs. McNeese State
  • Tuesday: at Mississippi State
  • Wednesday: vs. Auburn
  • Thursday: at Syracuse
  • Friday: vs. Eastern Michigan
  • Saturday: at South Carolina
  • Monday: vs. Florida
  • Tuesday: vs. Western Kentucky
  • Wednesday: at Alabama
  • Thursday: vs. Arkansas
  • Friday: at Ole Miss
  • Saturday: vs. Texas A&M

LSU signee DE Arden Key not on campus, along with DB Jeremy Cutrer

 

Arden Key with family and coach Ed Orgeron during a visit to LSU. (247Sports)

Arden Key with family and coach Ed Orgeron during a visit to LSU. (247Sports)

Four star defensive end signee Arden Key has not enrolled in summer classes and neither has defensive back signee Jeremy Cutrer.

LSU strength coach Tommy Moffitt said on a radio interview with Ben Love earlier this week that Key was not yet on campus. The school said two weeks ago that all but two signees had enrolled in summer classes – Cutrer and offensive tackle Chidi Valentine-Okeke.

Cutrer, a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College player originally from Kentwood, has not enrolled in classes and isn’t expected to enroll until late in the summer, if at all, a source said.

Team spokesman Michael Bonnette did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

Key is one of the most highly-sought after recruits to a signing class in 2015 ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation. Key was ranked as the No. 5 weak-side defensive end prospect in the nation and is expected to be an immediate impact player for a team that lost starting defensive end Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco.

The school has said that all other 22 signees are enrolled, including four who enrolled early and participated in spring practice.

Kickoff times set for first two LSU games

The Southeastern Conference on Thursday released kickoff times for the first three weeks of the season, setting times for LSU’s games with McNeese State and Mississippi State.

LSU will host McNeese State at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in Tiger Stadium. The game will be on the SEC Network.

The Tigers will then travel to Mississippi State for an 8:15 p.m. game Sept. 12. That game will be on ESPN.

LSU’s Sept. 19 home game against Auburn was previously announced as being a 2:30 p.m. game on CBS.

No other kickoff times for LSU games have been set, though it’s assumed the Tigers’ Oct. 3 home game with Eastern Michigan and Oct. 24 home game with Western Kentucky will both be at night.

In addition, CBS has set its annual day time/prime time doubleheader for Nov. 7, the week of LSU’s game at Alabama, with kickoffs at 2:30 and 7 p.m. CBS has shown the LSU-Bama game in prime time since 2011.

Kickoff times were also set for two other games involving in-state schools.

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Sept. 5 game at Kentucky will be at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Louisiana-Monroe’s Sept. 5 game at Georgia will be at noon on the SEC Network.

2015 LSU FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 5  McNeese State  6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

Sept. 12  at Mississippi State  8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Sept. 19  Auburn  2:30 p.m. (CBS)

Sept. 26  at Syracuse (TBA)

Oct. 3  Eastern Michigan (TBA)

Oct. 10  at South Carolina (TBA)

Oct. 17  Florida (TBA)

Oct. 24  Western Kentucky (TBA)

Nov. 7  at Alabama (TBA)

Nov. 14  Arkansas (TBA)

Nov. 21  at Ole Miss (TBA)

Nov.  28  Texas A&M (TBA)

 

LSU nabs Texas safety, linebacker 

LSU is on quite the roll.

Houston safety Eric Monroe, ranked No. 1 at his position nationally, and linebacker Rahssan Thornton, a three-star prospect also from Texas, both committed to the Tigers on Wednesday.

They became the seventh and eighth commitments for the Tigers in the last 18 days. Thornton is the second straight Texas linebacker to offer a non-binding, verbal pledge to the school, joining four star linebacker Erick Fowler, who committed last week.

Thornton and Monroe are the 16th and 17th commits to LSU’s 2016. It is now ranked No. 1 in 247Sports’ team rankings.

“It’s just the fact that I always wanted to go there, and I have family there,” Thornton told 247Sports. “I liked the campus and like the coaching staff there. It was just a great fit for me. My whole family is excited about it.”

Thornton’s commitment helps boost the Tigers linebacker depth. Clifton Garrett, a former five star recruit, left the program, the school announced Friday. It left the Tigers with just eight scholarship linebackers on the roster for the 2015 season. LSU will lose, likely, three of those eight after next season.

Thornton, rated as the 34th best weakside defensive end in the nation, is expected to be an outside linebacker for the Tigers as new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele continues to recruit towards a 3-4 scheme.

Thornton had offers from Michigan, Texas and TCU.

Monroe is the No. 15 ranked prospect overall nationally, according to 247Sports. Monroe chose the Tigers over his other finalist, Texas A&M.

2016 LSU commits

  • CB Savion Smith | Bradenton, Florida | 2
  • S Eric Monroe | Houston | 1
  • DT Edwin Alexander | Hammond | 7
  • QB Feleipe Franks | Crawfordville, Fla. | 1
  • WR Dee Anderson | Mesquite, Texas | 11
  • WR Stephen Sullivan | Donaldsonville, La. | 12
  • LB Erick Fowler | Manor, Texas | 6
  • LB Rahssan Thornton | Killeen, Texas | 34
  • OL Donavaughn Campbell | Pontchatoula | 3
  • TE Jamal Pettigrew | New Orleans | 6
  • CB Andraez Williams | Shreveport | 22
  • DT Glenn Logan | Destrehan | 25
  • S Cameron Lewis | Monroe | 14
  • DE Andre Anthony | New Orleans | 27
  • S Clifford Chattman | New Orleans | 31
  • DE Caleb Roddy | Denham Spring | 30
  • OL Jakori Savage | Bay Minette, Ala. | 106

Four-star Texas LB Erick Fowler commits to LSU

A day after LSU lost sophomore linebacker Clifton Garrett, the Tigers reeled in a commitment from another highly ranked linebacker prospect.

Erick Fowler, a 2016 four-star linebacker from Texas, committed to the Tigers, according to 247Sports, continuing LSU’s recent commitment surge. The team has received six commitments over the last 14 days.

Fowler, a 6-foot-1, 230-pounder, is listed as an outside linebacker or defensive end. He’s ranked as the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the nation, according to 247Sports. He’s expected to be used as an outside linebacker for the Tigers.

“I was the top linebacker on their board right now,” Fowler told 247Sports. “They had been telling me that for a while. I see the opportunity and liked everything about LSU, so I went ahead and made my commitment to them.”

Garrett, a former five star recruit, left the program, the school announced Friday. It left the Tigers with just eight scholarship linebackers on the roster for the 2015 season.

Fowler chose LSU over Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and several other major college offers. He’s the 15th commit of the 2016 class. National signing day is in February. These are non-binding commits.

2016 LSU commits

  • CB Savion Smith | Bradenton, Florida | 2
  • DT Edwin Alexander | Hammond | 7
  • QB Feleipe Franks | Crawfordville, Fla. | 1
  • WR Dee Anderson | Mesquite, Texas | 11
  • WR Stephen Sullivan | Donaldsonville, La. | 12
  • LB Erick Fowler | Manor, Texas | 6
  • OL Donavaughn Campbell | Pontchatoula | 3
  • TE Jamal Pettigrew | New Orleans | 6
  • CB Andraez Williams | Shreveport | 22
  • DT Glenn Logan | Destrehan | 25
  • S Cameron Lewis | Monroe | 14
  • DE Andre Anthony | New Orleans | 27
  • S Clifford Chattman | New Orleans | 31
  • DE Caleb Roddy | Denham Spring | 30
  • OL Jakori Savage | Bay Minette, Ala. | 106

Calvary Baptist CB ‘Greedy’ Williams commits to LSU

By Scott Rabalais

LSU is getting Greedy with the highly regarded defensive back recruits for 2016.

The Tigers, hosting a number of top prospects this weekend for their Bayou Picnic event, picked up a commitment from Shreveport Calvary Baptist cornerback Andraez “Greedy” Williams Saturday, according to a tweet from the prospect.

Greedy

LSU now has 10 commitments for 2016, seven from Louisiana. Williams (6-foot-2, 166 pounds) is ranked No. 133 nationally by Scout and No. 148 nationally by 24/7 Sports, with four stars from both.

Williams also has four stars from ESPN but isn’t nationally ranked. He has three stars from Rivals.

Williams joins five star cornerback Savion Smith and safeties Cameron Lewis and Clifford Chattman as defensive back commitments in the Tigers’ class.

Les Miles’ son, Manny, commits to play football at North Carolina

Manny Miles, the former U-High quarterback and the son of LSU coach Les Miles, has committed to play football at North Carolina.

It’s unclear if Miles will play baseball, too.

Manny Miles is heading to North Carolina. (April Buffington)

Manny Miles is heading to North Carolina. (April Buffington)

Manny, a two-sport athlete at U-High, had discussed the possibility of walking on at LSU for football and baseball, but he’s decided to leave Baton Rouge for a spot with the Tarheels.

Manny’s Twitter account on Friday was flooded with retweets of friends and teammates tweeting him congratulations for the decision.

Manny, a three star rated pro-style quarterback and a pitcher in baseball, was first team all-district in football and led the Cubs to the Division II selection state championship.

Manny completed 126 of 179 passes for 1,952 yards and 23 touchdowns last year.