Top Louisiana LB prospect commits to LSU

After a long run of out-of-state prospects over the last month and a half, the LSU Tigers dipped back into Louisiana on Friday and picked up a commitment from the state’s top linebacker prospect: Melvin Jones from Lake Charles Washington-Marion.

Jones (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) gives LSU 17 commitments for the Class of 2013, 10 from within the state.

A four-star prospect according to Rivals, Scout and 24/7 Sports, Jones is ranked No. 148 on the 24/7 Sports Top 247 and No. 174 on the Scout 300. Jones is ranked as the nation’s fourth-best inside linebacker prospect by 24/7 Sports, No. 8 middle linebacker by Scout and No. 15 inside linebacker by Rivals.

ESPN is less definitive on Jones, ranking him with three stars as the No. 67 athlete prospect nationally and No. 21 in the state overall. Rivals ranks Jones No. 15 among Louisiana prospects, while 24/7 Sports rates him as the state’s seventh-best prospect.

Jones’ commitment is the Tigers first for 2013 at the linebacker position. This follows a concerted effort to shore up the linebacker position with six signees in the Class of 2012: Kwon Alexander, Trey Granier, Deion Jones, Lamar Louis, Lorenzo Phillips and Ronnie Feist.

If he signs with LSU, Jones would be the Tigers’ first prospect from Washington-Marion since offensive guard Nate Livings, who lettered from 2003-05.

2013 COMMITMENTS (17)

Chuck Baker, WR, 6-1, 190, Slidell Salmen

Josh Boutte, OG, 6-4, 305, New Iberia Westgate

Jeryl Brazil, ATH, 5-9, 180, Loranger (HS)

Jeremy Cutrer, S, 6-2, 180, Kentwood Jewel Sumner

John Diarse, ATH, 6-0, 210, Monroe Neville

Frank Herron, DE, 6-4, 245, Memphis (Tenn.) Central

Anthony Jennings, QB, 6-2, 205, Marrietta, Ga. (HS)

Melvin Jones, LB, 6-3, 245, Lake Charles Washington-Marion

Tevin Lawson, DT, 6-4, 275, Denham Springs (HS)

Quantavius Leslie, WR, 6-3, 185, Hinds (Miss.) Community College

K.J. Malone, OG, 6-4, 290, Ruston Cedar Creek

Michael Patterson, DE, 6-3, 235, Winnfield (HS)

Ethan Pocic, OT, 6-6, 285, Lemont, Ill. (HS)

Hayden Rettig, QB, 6-4, 222, Los Angeles Cathedral

Logan Stokes, TE, 6-4, 240, Northeast Mississippi Community College

Kennard Swanson, FB, 6-0, 250, Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson

Tre’Davious White, ATH, 5-11, 170, Shreveport Green Oaks

LSU’s Baker signs with Steelers

Former LSU linebacker Ryan Baker has found a new home.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday that they have added Baker to their active roster, making room for him by releasing former University of Pittsburgh linebacker Brandon Lindsey.

Former LSU player Ryan Baker

Baker, a second-team All-SEC pick as a senior, originally signed as an undrafted free agent with Tampa Bay following April’s NFL draft, but the Buccaneers released him on May 7.

Baker still has a ways to go to make the Steelers’ opening day roster. NFL clubs’ current rosters are hovering right around the 90-player mark.

Other former LSU players with the Steelers include 11-year veteran safety Ryan Clark and defensive end Al Woods, who has spent part of the previous two seasons with Tampa Bay, Seattle and now Pittsburgh.

 

Miles to participate in inaugural SEC BeachFest

When you think of sand, sun and surf you don’t usually think about college football coaches, especially on the eve of the regular season.

But LSU coach Les Miles, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Auburn coach Gene Chizik are scheduled to take time out of their busy preseason schedules to participate in the inaugural SEC BeachFest, to be held Aug. 23-26 in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala.

The event is scheduled for the final weekend before the regular season begins. The SEC schedule kicks off Thursday, Aug. 30 with Texas A&M versus Louisiana Tech in Shreveport and South Carolina at Vanderbilt.

Alabama coach Nick Saban and LSU coach Les Miles will enjoy some time on the beach.


LSU opens Sept. 1 at home against North Texas.

In addition to the three BCS championship coaches, former SEC coaches and players will make appearances throughout the festival and take part in an interactive Q&A with fans leading up to the new season.

Former coaches Pat Dye of Auburn, Gene Stallings of Alabama, Vince Dooley of Georgia and Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee are all scheduled to attend.

ESPNU will host an SEC preview show from Gulf Shores. There will also be live music a golf scramble, 5K run, a Fanfest area and a display of the BCS coaches’ trophy.

Though some information, like a daily schedule, remains to be announced, fans can check out the event website at www.secbeachfest.com.

Two backup DBs leave Tigers

Cornerback David Jenkins has decided to leave LSU.

Two more backup defensive backs — sophomore Sam Gibson and redshirt freshman David Jenkins — have left the LSU football program, sports information director Michael Bonnette confirmed Tuesday.

Gibson, who’s from Prattville, Ala., played in five games as a backup last season, making one unassisted tackle and two assisted tackles. He redshirted as a freshman in 2010. Jenkins, who’s from Jena. La., and played high school football in Carrollton, Texas, did not play for LSU.

Both were expected to remain at backups on perhaps the deepest area of the Tigers team next season. It was immediately where the players were headed.

Another defensive back, Ronnie Vinson, transferred to Southeastern Louisiana in May.

 

3 p.m. UPDATE: Following Les Miles through the ESPN ‘car wash’

LSU football coach Les Miles is going through the “car wash” with a series of appearances on a variety of ESPN platforms that we’re monitoring throughout the day Tuesday.

On his afternoon SportsCenter appearance on ESPNews, Miles is asked if there is hate involved in the Alabama series …

“Not really. What we’ve tried to do at LSU is elevate our opponent and the need to play better than our opponent. If you treat the game that way it doesn’t have to become an emotional blood bath.”

Miles, as earlier, is asked about having the inscription “#2 NATIONALLY” on the side of LSU’s SEC championship rings …

“Let me tell you what they say first: they say SEC champion. The idea that we carried the No. 1 tag for 11 straight weeks and the best record in all of college football, we needed to put something on there that said the reality of that on the ring and said we didn’t get it all done. I don’t think anyone has to remind them any more fully than that montage that introduced us (of Alabama beating LSU in BCS title game).”

Another question for Miles about the “#2 NATIONALLY” on the championship rings, this time on an ESPN.com chat, and whose decision that was …

“I think it was really a number of people. I think we understand that it’s a season where a lot was accomplished and we fell short. I think the guys recognize what it all means.”

On Scott Van Pelt Show, Miles is asked if he ever fears losing a game because of some of the risky decision he’s made …

“No. I have fun with ‘The Hat’ and the grass eating, etc., but the reality is every high school coach worth his salt, every college coach, is trying to make decisions to give his team the best shot at victory.”

On whether LSU has a chance to be an even better team in 2012 than it had in 2011, especially with Zach Mettenberger at quarterback …

“I think it would be premature to say that we would be better than last year. We’re not picking up where last year left off. We have to put together a brand new team. If you come towork every day and look to improve segment by segment and game by game, they can achieve a lot.

“Mettenberger is that kind of guy. If he comes in and gets after it one game at a time and one week at a time and improves, I think he can be as good as we’ve had.”

On Gunner Kiel’s decision to go to Notre Dame instead of honoring his commitment to LSU …

“There are reasons for guys not wanting to accept that challenge. There are reasons for wanting to stay home and play in front of friends and family. To step into our stadium and play on our team takes a different breed of cat. I wish Gunner Kiel all the best – I mean that very honestly. I’m excited about the guys choosing to accept the challenge at Louisiana State, and I’m not worried about the other guys.”

Miles was asked about hanging out with Tom Cruise recently when the movie star was in Baton Rouge working on his upcoming sci-fi film “Oblivion” …

“I need to be the guy sitting next to the guy on the spaceship, eating popcorn, having fun. ‘Go left here. Let’s see that star.’”

Or, it was suggested, Miles could play a villain …

“I have the ability to flip the switch.”

Here are some comments by Miles on his morning appearances on “SportsCenter” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” …

On what he would like to see in a BCS playoff format …

“You’ve got to have the best teams in there, however that works. Rankings have to play a part. I’d hate to have the best team standing in the wings and everyone saying in a year, ‘They didn’t get the best teams in there.’ ”

On having played Alabama in the BCS championship game …

“We wanted to play the best. Frankly, we would have picked them and would look forward to playing them again.”

How has your team gotten over that loss?

“I think our team has done it very well. They understand we didn’t play our best. We had the finest record in college football and played an extra game. Our team took an edge to the field in the spring. I recognize that in the program still.”

Was there a message to your team?

“There was a straight message, an honesty. We don’t like finishing second. Certainly it’s something our team will respond to. I think we will look forward to taking the field again.”

On Zach Mettenberger …

“He can really throw it. We expect he would progress a little at a time. He doesn’t need to be the best quarterback in the country. He needs to develop leadership as he goes. I like how he’s done in the spring, but I don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse. He has a lot of work to do.”

On whether LSU will throw the ball more in 2012 …

“In nine games (last year) we didn’t need to throw it. We were up by two touchdowns. The fundamental piece is to always secure victory. That we did. We have the opportunity to move the football best with a veteran receiver corps. I think you’ll find we’ll throw it efficiently and more often.”

On the SEC championship rings that have caused an internet stir with the inscription “#2 NATIONALLY” on one side …

“It’s fundamental. You document the achievement of 13 victories, the finest record in college football. We won the (SEC) West, won the conference championship. You accomplished quite a lot.

“I think our team looks forward to being challenged. Even in the national championship year (in 2007) we had two losses. We’d like to go back and replay those as well. It’s an honesty. I think there’s a lot of teams that would love to have No. 2 on their rings.”

On the recent Twitter war of words between Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron …

“I recognize you want to compete in everything you do. When someone challenges you verbally, you want to answer the challenge verbally. It will all be decided in play. It will all be earned. But there’s a lot going on before we play in November. Let’s start with the first game in September.”

On whether it would be tougher on coaches to add another layer of pressure with a BCS playoff …

“I don’t feel added pressure. Pressure will not come down on the players or coaches. It’ll be on the people making the decisions (of who is in the playoff). They’re going to catch it and catch it hard. They’ve just added another variable.”

Colin Cowherd asked Miles about the #2 on the side of LSU’s SEC championship rings …

“The front end says SEC champs. That’s the only reason for the ring. What also needed to be said is we finished second. We didn’t quite get it done.

“(Finishing) number two isn’t any fun.”

UPDATE: Liggins future up in the air

LSU starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger

Apparently, Jeremy Liggins is hedging his bets for this fall.

The lone quarterback signed by LSU in its 2012 recruiting class, Liggins has signed to play this fall with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

However, Liggins could still qualify to play at LSU.

“Nothing is decided yet,” LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette said. “He’s taking a class there (at Mississippi Gulf Coast), but there’s nothing preventing him from coming to school here (at LSU) in August.”

The Biloxi Sun-Herald quoted Liggins’ high school coach, Anthony Hart of Lafayette County High in Oxford, Miss., as saying that Liggins took the ACT last week and is awaiting his test scores. Hart told the paper that Liggins met with MGCCC coach Steven Campbell last Tuesday and signed with the school.

“If he doesn’t qualify, Gulf Coast is a great option,” Hart said. “It was a family decision. Gulf Coast has a great plan academically.”

Campbell told the Sun-Herald that Liggins will enroll at MGCCC for second-term summer school. Multiple attempts to reach Campbell for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

MGCCC’s main campus is in Perkinston, Miss., just north of Gulfport.

Liggins (6-foot-3, 270 pounds) led Lafayette County to back-to-back Class 4A state championships and 32 straight wins to finish his career. Though hardly a prototypical quarterback in terms of size, Liggins ranked No. 93 on the 24/7 Sports Top 247 and No. 118 on the ESPNU 150.

If Liggins can’t enroll at LSU this fall it would leave the Tigers with just three scholarship quarterbacks: junior Zach Mettenberger and redshirt freshmen Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall.

LSU has two quarterback commitments for 2013: Hayden Rettig (6-4, 222) of Los Angeles Cathedral and Anthony Jennings (6-2, 205) of Marrietta, Ga.

 

Miles surprise speaker at his high school

Yet another example of how LSU coach Les Miles, no matter what else your opinion might be of him, is a pretty down to earth guy.

Miles was a surprise commencement speaker at his high school graduation on Saturday, June 9. The reason Miles was there in the first place? To attend his 40th anniversary reunion at Elyria High School.

“You’ve got to live life like someone’s stealing it from you,” Miles told the Elyria class of 2012. “Do it with passion.”

“It was a big surprise,” Elyria Schools Superintendent Paul Rigda said of Miles’ talk. “It was great.”

To see a full copy of the story on Miles’ visit, click here.

 

LSU-Alabama to play at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium

The LSU-Alabama football game Nov. 3 in Tiger Stadium will kick off at 7 p.m., the Southeastern Conference officially announced Wednesday.

The kickoff times had been agreed to last season when the Tigers agreed to that meeting in Tuscaloosa to be moved from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate CBS.

The Tigers won that game 9-6 in overtime in what was the second-highest rated regular season game on CBS since September of 1987.

LSU currently has one other game selected for CBS and that’s the Friday, Nov. 23 contest against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The Tigers did not play an SEC home game at night last season as all four were played in the daytime to accommodate TV.

 

SEC adopts 6-1-1 football schedule format

DESTIN, Fla. – As expected, the Southeastern Conference has voted to adopt a 6-1-1 football scheduling format beginning with the 2013 season.

The format calls for a team to play six teams within its division, one permanent opponent and one rotating opponent from the opposite division.

LSU’s permanent opponent will remain Florida. The Tigers other annual games will be against Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M in the SEC West.

LSU representatives fought the plan, trying to eliminate the permanent opponent but to no avail.

In addition, the SEC announced the conference will distribute about $20.1 million per school, up more than $1 million from last year. Texas A&M and Missouri do not participate in revenue sharing until 2013.