Tag Archives: #Les Miles

Summer Scouting: Florida

CB Vernon Hargreaves is a beats in the Gators secondary. (al.com)

CB Vernon Hargreaves is a beats in the Gators secondary. (al.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: TBA, Oct. 17
  • Where: Tiger Stadium
  • Early spread: LSU -14
  • Who’s before & after: at South Carolina and Western Kentucky

Florida at a glance

  • Coach (year): Jim McElwain (1st)
  • 2014 record: 7-5 (4-4, 3rd SEC East)
  • 2014 postseason: Won Birmingham Bowl, 28-20, vs ECU
  • Returning starters: 10 (4 offense, 6 defense)
  • Preseason prediction: 26th nationally, 3rd SEC East (Athlon)

SPRING STORYLINE

New coach: AD Jeremy Foley got another Urban Meyer – or so he hopes. McElwain is an offensive-centric coach who comes from a Mountain West school – just like Meyer. Foley hired Meyer away from Utah in 2005, and he delivered two national titles. McElwain inherits a woeful offense from defensive-centric coach Will Muschamp. The Gators ranked last in the SEC in passing in 2012, last in scoring in 2013 and 12th in total offense in 2014. McElwain, Alabama’s former OC, could very well have a first-year player throwing passes, too. Redshirt freshman and pocket passer Will Grier is ahead of dual-threat QB Treon Harris heading into fall camp.

BIGGEST THREAT

CB Vernon Hargreaves III: Hargreaves exemplifies the term “shutdown corner” and has for his two seasons in Gainesville. He led the SEC with 13 pass breakups last season during an All-American sophomore year. He’s a first-round lock in 2016 and draws comparisons to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Florida’s secondary is led by Hargreaves, but the Gators are stacked at the position, returning all of the 2014 starters and leaving McElwain raving about the talent of the group he took over.

WEAK SPOT

Offensive line: The Gators are losing all but on regular starter from the offensive line – a depthless group. Florida finished spring practice with six – SIX – healthy scholarship offensive linemen. The nation’s No. 1 offensive line recruit, incoming freshman Martez Ivey, could see instant playing time on the line with its current status.

Previous posts and coming posts

Summer Scouting: South Carolina

Marquavius Lewis is expected to boost USC's defensive line. (gogamecocks.com)

Marquavius Lewis is expected to boost USC’s defensive line. (gogamecocks.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: TBA, Oct. 10
  • Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Early spread: LSU -8
  • Who’s before and after: Eastern Michigan and Florida

South Carolina at a glance

  • Coach (year): Steve Spurrier (11th)
  • 2014 record: 7-6 (3-5, t5th SEC East)
  • 2014 postseason: Won the Independence Bowl, 24-21, vs. Miami
  • Returning starters: 12 (8 defense, 4 offense)
  • Preseason prediction: 37th nationally, 5th SEC East (Athlon)

SPRING STORYLINE

Reviving the D: The Gamecocks finished No. 92 in the nation last season in total defense, prompting Spurrier to bring in an old pal, Jon Hoke. Hoke, an NFL DBs coach for the last decade, served as defensive coordinator at Florida in 1999-2001 under Spurrier. He’ll team up with Lorenzo Ward in a co-defensive coordinator situation to revive a defense that just three seasons ago finished 11th in the nation.

BIGGEST THREAT

WR Pharoh Cooper: The 5-foot-11, 208-pound junior led South Carolina in receiving yards (1,136), average per catch (16.5), TDs (9) and catches (69). He’s again expected to be USC’s go-to man in a passing game that’ll have a new QB for a second straight year – likely Connor Mitch, who has thrown just six career passes. Cooper doesn’t just catch passes. He has more than 400 rushing yards in his career. He has five plays of 70-plus yards in his career (two rushing and three receiving).

WEAK SPOT

Defensive line: Remember when we mentioned South Carolina’s defensive woes as the spring storyline? Specifically, the Gamecocks struggled on the line and failed to get pressure. They finished with 14 sacks as a team. That’s 118th nationally. The nation’s top-ranked junior college defensive end signee is expected to help in Marquavius Lewis. He’ll likely snatch a starting spot at end. USC could have another first-year player – freshman Dexter Wideman – start at defensive tackle.

Previous posts and coming posts

Summer Scouting: Eastern Michigan

QB Reggie Bell did it all last year for EMU. (masslive.com)

QB Reggie Bell did it all last year for EMU. (masslive.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: TBA, Oct. 3
  • Where: Tiger Stadium
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: Syracuse and at South Carolina

Eastern Michigan at a glance

  • Coach (year): Chris Creighton (2nd)
  • 2014 record: 2-10 (1-7,  6th MAC West)
  • 2014 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 12 (5 offense, 7 defense)
  • Preseason prediction: 127th nationally, 6th MAC West (Athlon)

SPRING STORYLINE

Turning the corner in Year 2: Creighton enters his second season in charge of a program that’s used to losing. EMU hasn’t had a winning record in 20 years, hasn’t played in a bowl game since 1987 and has won a combined six games the last three seasons. It’s a place used to losing, but the Eagles do return a good chunk of defenders and a QB, in Reggie Bell, who led the team in rushing (562 yards) and passing (1,297) last season.

BIGGEST THREAT

DT Pat O’Connor: O’Connor, a 6-foot-4, 260 pound senior from Chicago, led the MAC in sacks as well as ranking fourth in tackles-for-loss, pushing opponents back a combined 73 yards on 14 tackles-for-loss. O’Connor was among the top-50 sack leaders throughout the country, sitting at No. 44 with 7.5 sacks.

WEAK SPOT

Offensive line: The Eagles must replace a three-year starter and two two-year starters and that doesn’t mention that two of those starters played center and left tackle – arguably the two most important offensive line positions. Those three players – RT Lincoln Hansen, C Campbell Allison and LT Robert McFadden – combined for nearly 90 starts in their careers. That’s also not mentioning this: The depth isn’t great. An injury or two could badly hurt this group.

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: Syracuse

DE Ron Thompson is the Orange's biggest threat. (dailyorange.com)

DE Ron Thompson is the Orange’s biggest threat. (dailyorange.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: TBA, Sept. 26
  • Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York
  • Early spread: LSU -20
  • Who’s before and after: Auburn and Eastern Michigan

Syracuse at a glance

  • Coach (year): Scott Shafer (3rd)
  • 2014 record: 3-9 (1-7, t6th in ACC Atlantic)
  • 2014 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 10 (6 offense, 4 defense)
  • Preseason prediction: 85th nationally, 7th ACC Atlantic (Athlon)

SPRING STORYLINE

Overcoming 2014’s offensive uglyness: Here’s last year in a nutshell for the Syracuse offense: They lost their starting quarterback in the fifth game of the season, used three more QBs and went through two full offensive lines because of injuries, finishing  with the fourth-worst touchdown percentage among Power-5 teams in the last decade. The hot topic this spring has been overcoming that and the health of starting QB Terrell Hunt.

BIGGEST THREAT

DE Ron Thompson: Three of four starters on the line from 2014 are gone. Eric Crume, Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson exhausted their eligibility. They combined for 111 tackles last season, including 22 for loss. Thompson, a 6-3, 255-pound junior who was once a four star tight end prospect, is the lone returning player on the line at defensive end. Thompson had 32 tackles, seven for loss, and 3 sacks last season for the Orange. He seems to be one of Syracuse’s most athletic players.

WEAK SPOT

Quarterback: LSU fans can sympathize here. Hunt, recovered from a broken leg, is expected to be given another shot at leading new OC Tim Lester’s unit. Hunt, though, struggled before fracturing his fibula against Louisville in Game 5 last season. He completed 57 percent of his passes and had four interceptions and four touchdowns. The Orange offense didn’t necessarily show signs of great life during the spring game. It scored one touchdown. Hunt was just 10-for-30 in the game with a host of drops from his receivers.

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: 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.

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