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Todd McShay to LSU DE Danielle Hunter: Stay in school (also talks Jalen Collins, Kwon Alexander)

If LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter was seeking his advice, Todd McShay, ESPN’s draft analyst, would tell him to stay in school, McShay said Tuesday

Danielle Hunter's draft decision is unclear. (Bill Feig)

Danielle Hunter’s draft decision is unclear. (Bill Feig)

Hunter’s decision – to stay or go – made headlines throughout the day Monday. It’s still unclear what the junior plans to do, but McShay has some words of advice.

“He’s a player who has a lot of talent, but I also think he’s not ready,” McShay said. “If he was asking my advice, I’d tell him he needs to go back to school and continue to develop. I know he’s freakish, great in the weight room. I see flashes of it. I never thought this year that he developed.”

McShay says Hunter needs to work on game-planning and using his hands better.

“Those are things he can work on and improve,” McShay said. “Even though he’s really productive, I think he can get better. He can put himself in better position when he does enter the league.”

Cornerback Jalen Collins and linebacker Kwon Alexander are the only two LSU underclassmen who have announced any kind of decision – both players are bypassing their senior years for the NFL draft.

The deadline for players to decide is Jan. 15.

Kwon Alexander declared for the draft. (ANGELA MAJOR)

Kwon Alexander declared for the draft. (ANGELA MAJOR)

McShay said Collins, Alexander and Hunter are guys he expects to fall in the second to third-round range. Collins and Alexander became the 18th and 19th players to leave LSU early for the draft over the previous three seasons.

Said McShay: “Unless you’re a first round pick it’s always in my opinion a good idea to go back and continue to develop. Every situation is different.”

Of the 17 in 2012 and 2013, three were picked in the first round.

McShay called Collins “talented but inconsistent” and said he had a “much” better year than last season. He called Alexander’s season good and said the junior developed into the team’s leader defensively.

“Alexander had a good year as well. I had LSU early in the season against Wisconsin. He became more instinctive. He kind of became one of the leaders on the defense,” McShay said. “He was diagnosing plays quicker than he had previously. He’s around the ball a lot. Led the team in tackles. He’s got some athleticism. I can’t say it’s a bad idea for him to leave.”

Did Brad Kragthorpe score a touchdown on LSU’s fake field goal?

On fourth down from the 3-yard line, LSU faked a field goal.

Holder Brad Kragthorpe kept the snap and ran off left tackle, but fell short of breaking the goal line with his extension of the ball, according to the referees’ on the field.

The play was reviewed and not overturned. LSU trailed 21-14 at halftime.

Here are some shots of the play.

LSU-Notre Dame have hot chicken eating contest

LSU and Notre Dame took part in a hot chicken eating contest during the Music City Bowl’s welcome party on a riverboat Saturday night, and the winner might surprise you.

The Fighting Irish won 25-19, according to the school’s Twitter account. The individual award, though, went to LSU redshirt freshman offensive lineman Alex Cheramie, a Texas native.

LSU LB Lamar Louis tweeted this photo of individual winner Alex Cheramie.

LSU LB Lamar Louis tweeted this photo of individual winner Alex Cheramie.


LSU arrives in Nashville


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – LSU arrived at the Opryland Hotel on Saturday afternoon to begin the team’s five-day stay in Nashville for the Music City Bowl.

Opryland is an expansive resort – including shops, restaurants, a hotel and convention center – on the northeast corner of the city.

“It’s gigantic,” running back Terrence Magee said.

Coach Les Miles called the hotel “spectacular.” Several dozen purple-and-gold clad LSU fans lined a walkway as players funneled into one of the many atriums of the Opryland.

  • LSU center Elliott Porter did not travel with the team and will not play in the Music City Bowl against Notre Dame, an expected move. Porter fractured his ankle in the loss at Arkansas. Ethan Pocic will start at center, one of many changes to the Tigers’ shuffled depth chart ahead of the bowl.

    Anthony Jennings interviews with reporters Saturday.

    Anthony Jennings interviews with reporters Saturday.

  • LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings said he’s receiving all of the No. 1 reps in bowl practice. Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris split No. 1 reps in practice throughout the season: “I’m getting all of the 1s reps right now. That’s been going on for this bowl practice. I expect to start and play well,” Jennings said.

LSU shuffles depth chart ahead of Music City Bowl

Ethan Pocic is listed as LSU's starting center, as expected. (Travis Spradling)

Ethan Pocic is listed as LSU’s starting center, as expected. (Travis Spradling)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – LSU has a new starting receiver, center and right guard on its Music City Bowl game depth chart. A tight end and new defensive back position has been added, too.

Here’s the full list of changes to the Tigers’ depth chart ahead of the Music City Bowl against Notre Dame:

  • Travin Dural and John Diarse are listed as the starting receivers. The previous depth chart had Dural and Trey Quinn OR Malachi Dupre as starters at receiver. Dural has been moved from the Z receiver to the X and is backed up by Quinn and Dupre.
  • As expected Ethan Pocic is listed as the starting center. Eliott Porter is out with a fracture ankle. Evan Washington is listed as the starter in place of Pocic at right guard, also an expected move. Porter did not travel on the team’s charter flight, but he’s expected to later meet the team in Nashville.
  • Colin Jeter, who has played quite a bit this season, has finally been added to LSU’s depth chart at tight end. The Tigers now have five tight ends on their depth chart.
  • Leonard Fournette and Terrence Magee are listed as co-starters at running back. On the previous depth chart, Fournette, Magee and Kenny Hilliard were listed as co-starters. Hilliard is expected to play in the bowl game, but he missed the final two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury.
  • At Jalen Mills’ safety position, freshman Devin Voorhies has been removed from the depth chart. At Tre’Davious White’s cornerback position, freshman Russell Gage has been removed from the depth chart.
  • A nickel position has been added to LSU’s depth chart. Jamal Adams is the only person listed in the spot. Worth a note: Mills, it appeared during the season, served as LSU’s nickelback while Adams aligned at safety in the nickel package.


Les Miles: LSU sells out allotment; Draft grades are in

NASHVILLE – LSU coach Les Miles said the school sold its complete allotment of 8,000 tickets to the Music City Bowl, something that was expected.

The school had sold all but about 200 tickets before Christmas. The bowl has sold more than 55,000 tickets to the game, held at 68,000-seat LP Field.

Miles spoke on his final radio show of the 2014 season Friday night from Baton Rouge. The team arrives in Nashville on Saturday.

  • Draft grades for LSU’s underclassmen are all in, Miles said. He declined to reveal anymore about the grades and the decisions of the underclassmen. “All of the grades are in. I’m kind of letting you know that it’s not something I’m going to share – how many first and second rounds. We have a very talented underclass crop. They’re going to have to give view to the fact that … I think that there’s a great number of our juniors that by coming back will be drafted higher.”
  • Miles said his favorite memory of this season was the Tigers beating then-No. 3 Ole Miss the day after his mother died. “I have to say that the Ole Miss game and all of the things that surrounded it would be a lifetime memory for me. The Friday night before and the game that ensued was pretty special,” he said.
  • Asked by host Jim Hawthorne about players leaving early, Miles said this LSU team could be playing for a national title this year had underclassmen returned for this season. “If we have a junior class stay last year, very probable (have) a chance for national championship right now,” he said. “Majority of the junior stay this year, it would certainly give us 18 that have experience across the board and allow us to vie for a lot of honors.”
  • Miles said the team doesn’t “anticipate” playing Travonte Valentine in the bowl game, but LB Clifton Garrett has “the potential” to play in the game. Valentine hasn’t played this season as he was never ruled eligible by the Southeastern Conference. ” Miles suggested that Valentine remains ineligible through the SEC: “He has some things to get in place so we can get him on the field.”
  • Miles on bowl practices: “We kind of segmented it in two different times. (The players) started very fast in pre-Christmas. We practiced every day. Went hard and went light, went hard and went light. Today (Friday) was that practice right after the break … it was a really good practice. A lot of speed, a lot of freshness.”
  • Mike VI didn’t come out of his cage this season for his pregame ritual tour around the field because he’s got it made in his cage, the coach said. “Food delivers in. A lot of people want to stop by and say hello yet keep their distance”
  • The radio show would have been disappointing, of course, had Miles not touched on Christmas, right? He did. “You put all of the Mileses in the same house, it’s a quality event,” he said. Miles said his favorite Christmas memory was taking Smacker, his oldest child, on a sleigh ride on her first Christmas.

Florida QB Caleb Lewis enrolling early at LSU as preferred walk-on

LSU will add a quarterback in 2015 after all.

Caleb Lewis, a Lakeland, Florida, native, will enroll early in January as a preferred walk-on for the Tigers.

Caleb Lewis will join LSU as a preferred walk-on. (The Ledger)

Caleb Lewis will join LSU as a preferred walk-on. (The Ledger)

Lewis, the Class 2A player of the year in Florida, is a pro-style quarterback who completed 353 of 632 passes for 5,647 yards with 60 touchdowns and just 21 interceptions in leading Victory Christian to the Class 2A state championship this year.

Lewis had scholarship offers from Albany State, Buffalo, Florida International, Princeton and Ohio. North Carolina State, South Florida and Central Florida pursued Lewis but ultimately didn’t offer him a scholarship, his father and high school coach, Tommy Lewis, said.

LSU has six quarterbacks on its roster, but only two of them are on scholarship: sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris. The Tigers have one quarterback committed in the 2015 class, Justin McMillan, who is set to enroll early in January along with, at least, cornerback Kevin Toliver II and tight end Hanner Shipley.

The Tigers’ QB position has been a point of contention this year. Jennings and Harris struggled this season, and it was thought that LSU might bring in another quarterback in 2015 – possibly a junior college player. The Tigers flirted with former Clemson and then-East Mississippi Community College quarterback Chad Kelly, who eventually signed with Ole Miss and was arrested last week.

Cameron told Lewis that he’ll have a shot to compete.

“He made it clear that everyone gets a chance to compete,” Lewis said. “After that, it’s up to me to prove myself that I deserve a scholarship and then be ready if the opportunity comes along to play.”

“He’s excited about whatever he can do to help the program,” Tommy Lewis said. “I think the attitude is to get to school, get enrolled, get a hold of the playbook and start learning and growing. He’s a competitor to begin with so he’s going to compete.”

Lewis went to two camps at LSU over the summer, but the Tigers chose to offer a scholarship to McMillian instead of Lewis. Both competed at the camps.

Tommy Lewis called LSU Caleb’s “dream school.”

“I’ve been a  fan since I was 7, since that national championship in 2003,” Caleb Lewis said Friday. “I’ve achieved my dream of being an LSU Tiger.”

Many of the schools that offered Lewis had found a quarterback before his senior season began. His search for a scholarship spot ended the day before Christmas when NC State decided not to extend an offer, his father said.

LSU offered Lewis a spot as a preferred walk-on in November, and Lewis called Cameron on Christmas Day to officially commit to the program.

Lewis was raised in Hilton Head, South Carolina, before the family moved to Lakeland two years ago. Lewis, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, has quarterbacked four straight teams to state championship games.

He started for his father at Hilton Head Christian Academy in South Carolina as a freshman and sophomore. Victory Christian lost in the state title game last year before winning it all this season.

LSU to wear bowl patch during Music City Bowl

LSU players will wear a patch on their breast during the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 against Notre Dame, according to a tweet from an account belonging to the LSU football equipment staff.