All posts by Scott Rabalais

Scott Rabalais is a sports columnist and sports writer for The Advocate. A Baton Rouge native, he began working at the paper in 1991 and has covered LSU athletics since 1992.

Anthony Jennings discovers Periscope, but offers few insights

Late Sunday night, LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings made his first foray onto Periscope, a popular live video streaming app.

In his brief appearance, Jennings offered few insights, other than to say he though the Tigers would have a great season.

“I think we will be tremendous – SEC champions,” Jennings said. “I believe that.”

The Tigers junior took a few questions, none pertaining to his current legal situation or suspension from the LSU team. Jennings has been suspended since his arrest in late June with two other Tigers for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling.

The brief Periscope session, which lasted only a couple of minutes, was Jennings’ first public statement of any kind since his arrest and suspension, and perhaps a snapshot into his feelings about his future with the start of preseason camp late next week.

LSU coach Les Miles said on ESPN last week that he believed Jennings will eventually be able to return to the team and competition with sophomore Brandon Harris. It’s Harris who has done the work with LSU’s offense during summer seven-on-seven drills.

“This has been cool,” Jennings said just before signing off. “Peace out.” The next time Jennings is heard from is likely to be Aug. 16 at LSU’s media day.

Vadal Alexander on Outland watch list; Beckwith, Mills on Nagurski watch list

The announcement of two more college football award watch lists Friday brought more recognition for three LSU players.

Senior offensive guard Vadal Alexander was named to the Outland Trophy watch list, an award given annually to the nation’s best interior lineman on offense or defense.

Also Friday, junior linebacker Kendell Beckwith and senior safety Jalen Mills were named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, an award for the defensive player of the year.

Beckwith and Mills were named earlier this week to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is also for the defensive player of the year.

LSU WATCH LIST TRACKER

  • Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Maxwell Award (player of the year): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Kendell Beckwith, LB; Jalen Mills, S
  • Rimington Trophy (best center): Ethan Pocic
  • Ray Guy Award (best punter): Jamie Keehn
  • Outland Trophy (best interior lineman): Vadal Alexander, OG
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year): Kendell Beckwith, LB; Jalen Mills, S

2015 WATCH LIST RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • Monday: Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete)
  • Tuesday: Maxwell Award (player of the year), Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)
  • Wednesday: John Mackey Award (best tight end), Rimington Trophy (best center)
  • Thursday: Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker), Ray Guy Award (best punter)
  • Friday: Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
  • July 13: Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
  • July 14: Butkus Award (best linebacker), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year)
  • July 15: Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), Wuerffel Trophy (community service, athletic and academic achievement)
  • July 16: Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Doak Walker Award (best running back)
  • July 17: Walter Camp Award (player of the year)

NOTE: There is no watch list for the Heisman Trophy

Punter Jamie Keehn named to Ray Guy Award watch list

Jamie Keehn will earn some hang time on the Ray Guy Award watch list this summer.

The LSU senior punter was one of 25 players named Thursday to the award’s watch list by the Augusta (Georgia) Sports Council.

A native of Queensland, Australia, Keehn ranked second in the Southeastern Conference last season with 44.9 yards per punt and earned second-team All-SEC honors. His season average was the third-highest in school history.

Keehn had 27 of his 71 punts (38 percent) downed inside the 20-yard line and had 17 punts of 50 yards or more. He had a career-high five punts downed inside the 20 against Wisconsin in the season opener.

His 43.4-yard career average is third in LSU history only behind fellow Aussie Brad Wing (44.6) and Patrick Fisher (44.1).

Keehn is the fifth LSU player this week to be named to a preseason award watch list. He joins Kendell Beckwith (Bednarik Award), Leonard Fournette (Hornung Award, Maxwell Award), Jalen Mills (Bednarik Award) and Ethan Pocic (Rimington Trophy).

This is the third time in the last 10 years an LSU punter has been named to the Ray Guy Award watch list. Chris Jackson made the list in 2006 and Wing made it in 2012. Wing was a Ray Guy semifinalist in 2011 and 2012.

The candidate list for the Ray Guy Award will grow to 30 once the season begins, then paired to a list of 10 semifinalists on Nov. 13. Three finalists will be announced Nov. 23, with the winner to be announced Dec. 10 on ESPN.

The watch list for the Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker) was also released Thursday, but no LSU or Louisiana college players were on it.

The watch list releases continue Friday with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year) and the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman).

LSU WATCH LIST TRACKER

  • Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Maxwell Award (player of the year): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Kendell Beckwith, LB; Jalen Mills, S
  • Rimington Trophy (best center): Ethan Pocic
  • Ray Guy Award (best punter): Jamie Keehn

2015 WATCH LIST RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • Monday: Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete)
  • Tuesday: Maxwell Award (player of the year), Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)
  • Wednesday: John Mackey Award (best tight end), Rimington Trophy (best center)
  • Thursday: Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker), Ray Guy Award (best punter)
  • Friday: Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
  • July 13: Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
  • July 14: Butkus Award (best linebacker), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year)
  • July 15: Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), Wuerffel Trophy (community service, athletic and academic achievement)
  • July 16: Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Doak Walker Award (best running back)
  • July 17: Walter Camp Award (player of the year)

NOTE: There is no watch list for the Heisman Trophy

 

LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Kendell Beckwith, Vadal Alexander going to SEC Media Days

Running back Leonard Fournette, middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith and right tackle Vadal Alexander are scheduled to accompany LSU coach Les Miles to SEC Media Days next week in Hoover, Alabama.

LSU’s session at media days will be Thursday, the final day of this year’s activities.

Here’s a complete rundown of players scheduled to attend in Hoover this year:

Alabama
Reggie Ragland, Sr., LB
Kenyan Drake, Sr., RB
Ryan Kelly, Sr., OL

Arkansas
Jonathan Williams, Sr., RB
Brandon Allen, Sr., QB
Keon Hatcher, Sr., WR

Auburn
Jeremy Johnson, Jr., QB
Jonathan Jones, Sr., DB
Kris Frost, Sr., LB

Florida
Jonathan Bullard, Sr., DE
Brandon Powell, So., WR
Vernon Hargreaves III, Jr., DB

Georgia
Malcolm Mitchell, Sr., WR
John Theus, Sr., OT
Jordan Jenkins, Sr., OLB

Kentucky
Melvin Lewis, Sr., NG
Jordan Swindle, Sr., OT
A.J. Stamps, Sr., S

LSU
Leonard Fournette, So., RB
Vadal Alexander, Sr., OT
Kendell Beckwith, Jr., LB

Ole Miss
Evan Engram, Jr., TE
Mike Hilton, Sr., DB
C.J. Johnson, Sr., LB

Mississippi State
Dak Prescott, Sr., QB
Taveze Calhoun, Sr., DB
Ryan Brown, Sr., DE

Missouri
Kenya Dennis, Sr., DB
Maty Mauk, Jr., QB
Evan Boehm, Sr., C

South Carolina
Elliott Fry, Jr., PK
Pharoh Cooper, Jr., WR
Skai Moore, Jr., LB

Tennessee
Joshua Dobbs, Jr., QB
Curt Maggitt, Sr., LB/DL
Cameron Sutton, Jr., DB

Texas A&M
Mike Matthews, Sr., C
Germain Ifedi, Jr., OT
Julien Obioha, Sr., DL

Vanderbilt
Ralph Webb, So., RB
Nigel Bowden, So., LB
Spencer Pulley, Sr., C

 

LSU says he’s a guard, but Ethan Pocic still makes top center watch list

Ethan Pocic ended the spring penciled in as LSU’s starting left guard, but he made such an impression at center last season he’s regarded as one of the nation’s best at that position going into 2015.

Pocic was named Wednesday to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s best center.

Among those also selected were Louisiana Tech senior Kirby Wixson and South Alabama junior Joseph Scelfo, son of former Tulane coach Chris Scelfo.

Pocic started 12 games last season (missing the UL-Monroe game due to injury), nine at right guard and three at center. He ended the year starting at center against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl in place of the injured Elliott Porter.

In all, Pocic played 743 snaps in 2014, on the field for every offensive play in the Tigers’ final five games. He finished third on the team with 72.5 knockdown blocks.

Pocic could still play center, but he finished spring practice expected to start at left guard. Sophomore Andy Dodd was listed as the starter at center.

Pocic joins three LSU teammates named to watch lists earlier this week.

Sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette was named to the Maxwell Award (best player) and Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete) watch lists. Senior safety Jalen Mills and junior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith were named to the Bednarik Award (best defensive player) watch list.

The watch list for the John Mackey Award (best tight end) was also released Wednesday, but no LSU or Louisiana players were selected.

A string of major award watch lists, an early harbinger of the coming football season, continues through July 17. Thursday’s watch lists put the focus on special teams with the Lou Groza (place-kicker) and Ray Guy (punter) watch lists.

LSU WATCH LIST TRACKER

  • Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Maxwell Award (player of the year): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Kendell Beckwith, LB; Jalen Mills, S
  • Rimington Trophy (best center): Ethan Pocic

2015 WATCH LIST RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • Monday: Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete)
  • Tuesday: Maxwell Award (player of the year), Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)
  • Wednesday: John Mackey Award (best tight end), Rimington Trophy (best center)
  • Thursday: Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker), Ray Guy Award (best punter)
  • Friday: Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
  • July 13: Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
  • July 14: Butkus Award (best linebacker), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year)
  • July 15: Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), Wuerffel Trophy (community service, athletic and academic achievement)
  • July 16: Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Doak Walker Award (best running back)
  • July 17: Walter Camp Award (player of the year)

NOTE: There is no watch list for the Heisman Trophy

Kendell Beckwith, Jalen Mills join Leonard Fournette on award watch lists

The honors continued flowing Tuesday for LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

This time, he had company.

Fournette was named Tuesday to the Maxwell Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s best player. This came a day after Fournette was named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list for the best all-around athlete.

Two LSU players were named to the Bednarik Award watch list for defensive player of the year: linebacker Kendell Beckwith and safety Jalen Mills.

Three other players with Louisiana ties were named to the Maxwell Award watch list: UL-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire, Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon and Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott of Haughton.

Fournette rushed for an LSU freshman record 1,034 yards (and 10 touchdowns) last season and led the Southeastern Conference in all-purpose yards with 137.4 per game. He ranked fourth in the SEC with 26.0 yards per kickoff return, and his 1,786 all-purpose yards were the sixth-most in a season at LSU.

Beckwith was second on the team last year and is the Tigers’ top returning tackler with 77 stops, including two sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. He also had an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Mills had 62 tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery.

LSU WATCH LIST TRACKER

  • Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Maxwell Award (player of the year): Leonard Fournette, RB
  • Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Kendell Beckwith, LB; Jalen Mills, S

2015 WATCH LIST RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • Monday: Paul Hornung Award (best all-around athlete)
  • Tuesday: Maxwell Award (player of the year), Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)
  • Wednesday: John Mackey Award (best tight end), Rimington Trophy (best center)
  • Thursday: Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker), Ray Guy Award (best punter)
  • Friday: Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
  • July 13: Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
  • July 14: Butkus Award (best linebacker), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year)
  • July 15: Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), Wuerffel Trophy (community service, athletic and academic achievement)
  • July 16: Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Doak Walker Award (best running back)
  • July 17: Walter Camp Award (player of the year)

NOTE: There is no watch list for the Heisman Trophy

In an upset, U-High and LSU prospect Dylan Moses No. 2 in Rivals 100 for 2017

They called him their “1A,” but Rivals.com declined to list University High star and LSU commitment Dylan Moses as its No. 1 prospect in its initial 2017 Rivals 100 released Monday.

That distinction instead went to defensive tackle Marvin Wilson of Houston Episcopal. Moses (6-2, 225) came in at No. 2, though with Rivals’ Mike Farrell saying it was a close call.

“It’s a strong stop five with Moses essentially 1A right now I believe,” Farrell said. “He’s a dynamic athlete and just dominates at either running back or linebacker, whatever position he chooses to play. If he grows into that edge rusher many predicted, watch out.”

Rivals lists nearly two dozen scholarship offers for Wilson (6-4, 320), including one from LSU.

Moses, who has been committed to LSU since September 2013, still has two seasons left to play at U-High. He is listed as the No. 1 prospect for 2017 by 24/7 Sports and according to Scout.com. ESPN does not yet have prospect rankings for 2017.

Leonard Fournette named to Hornung Award watch list

Let the award speculation season begin for LSU’s Leonard Fournette.

The sophomore tailback was one of 44 players named Monday to the Paul Hornung Award watch list. The award has been given since 2010 to the nation’s most versatile major college player.

Also named to the list are UL-Lafayette’s Elijah McGuire, Carlos Henderson of Louisiana Tech, Rashon Ceaser of UL-Monroe and New Orleans native Speedy Noil of Texas A&M.

Fournette rushed for an LSU freshman record 1,034 yards (and 10 touchdowns) last season and led the Southeastern Conference in all-purpose yards with 137.4 per game. He ranked fourth in the SEC with 26.0 yards per kickoff return, and his 1,786 all-purpose yards were the sixth-most in a season at LSU.

Fournette closed out 2014 with a career-best 264 all-purpose yards against Notre Dame, Hornung’s alma mater, in the Music City Bowl. He rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns and had a 100-yard kickoff return for another score against the Fighting Irish.

Former LSU and current New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won the Hornung Award in 2013.

Hornung won the 1956 Heisman Trophy and was also an announcer on LSU’s former pay-per-view network TigerVision in the 1980s.

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)

 

Spring Practice Observations, Day 11: Big Cat and ball security

Tuesday marked Day 11 of LSU spring practice, the Tigers’ second-to-last workout before spring break.

The Tigers worked out in shoulder pads, helmets and short pants under warm, sunny skies at the Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

After a brief warm up in position groups, the Tigers gathered for their regular Big Cat drill. A matchup between improving sophomore wide receiver D.J. Chark and sophomore cornerback Ed Paris drew an, “Oooooh!” from LSU coach Les Miles.

At first, middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith playfully stepped in to square off with Chark. After Miles waved him off, Paris took his stance. He and Chark battled to a standoff, after which Paris leaped up and kicked the air with delight.

Only a few more minutes of individual practice drills were open to the media. Quarterbacks worked on ball security drills, as players tried to tug the ball out of each other’s grasp. Wide receivers worked on agility drills as they navigated an obstacle course of pads under the watch of new position coach Tony Ball.

The Tigers will practice again Thursday before taking a 12-day break. LSU will have two more practice sessions before the annual Spring Game, April 18 in Tiger Stadium.