Tag Archives: #LSU

‘They all broke into tears': Tommy Moffitt’s son, Aaron, commits to LSU

Aaron Moffitt with Bradley Dale Peveto during a visit to LSU in February.

Aaron Moffitt with Bradley Dale Peveto during a visit to LSU in February.

Tommy Moffitt is an intimidating figure.

He’s like most college strength and conditioning coaches, a tall, brawny frame with a grizzled mug.

On Monday, he cried.

Catholic High defensive end Aaron Moffitt brought his father to tears by committing to LSU, pledging to his dad’s employer in a somewhat surprising move. Aaron delivered the message to his parents after swimming with his brother in the family’s backyard pool Monday afternoon.

“They all broke into tears,” Moffitt said.

Even your dad?

“Yeah,” he answered. “My dad was excited. He never knew where I’d commit, and he never tried to push me in committing somewhere. I’m sure it was one of the things … he’s always wished to see his son play for him.”

Aaron Moffitt – all 6-foot-4, 255 pounds of him – continued LSU’s streak of commitments. He’s the fourth player to give the Tigers a non-binding, verbal pledge in the last four days, and his commitment pushed the program’s 2017 commitment class to No. 5 in the 247Sports.com’s composite team rankings.

The class could get another addition Tuesday.

Mississippi offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles, choosing between the Tigers and Mississippi State, is scheduled to announce his commitment on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, he said Monday.

Moffitt is a three-star prospect and the No. 41 defensive end in the nation, according to 247Sports. He received an offer from LSU in February and carries offers from Nebraska, Cal and South Carolina, to name a few.

Moffitt says TCU was “as close to getting me as any other college,” but the Horned Frogs never offered him a scholarship.

“They never pulled the trigger on me,” he said. “I was kind of done with recruiting and wanted to get it over with.”

His brother Clay sparked the timing of the commitment. While swimming in the family pool, Clay told Aaron he should commit to LSU.

“I was like, ‘OK,’” Aaron said. “I texted Coach Cam (Cameron). I said, ‘Coach Cam, I’m ready to commit.’”

He told his father next.

Tommy Moffitt, a Tennessee native, is in his 16th season as LSU’s head strength and conditioning coach. Former head coach Nick Saban hired Moffitt away from Miami in 2000.

“It’s going to be so much fun,” Tommy said in a text to The Advocate Monday after his son’s commitment.

Moffitt is the 11th player in LSU’s 2017 commitment class and fourth in this torrid four-day span. Texas tackle Austin Deculus started the steak Friday. Mississippi junior college receiver Stephen Guidry and Georgia fullback Tory Carter committed during the program’s Bayou Picnic event Saturday, moving the Tigers’ 2017 commit class into the top 10 nationally.

Moffitt landed on The Advocate’s All-Metro 4A-5A team as a junior last season, recording 54 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in helping Catholic to its first state title. He played every snap at defensive end and is scheduled to begin his career at LSU at that position, but he won’t be limited to that spot. After all, he’s still growing despite his 6-4 height.

Tight end, tackle and center are all potential options, he said.

“I just turned 17,” he said. “The doctor said I’ll grow at least two more inches.”

LSU’s 2017 commitment class

  • RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Catholic (Baton Rouge)
  • QB Jontre Kirklin, Lutcher (Lutcher)
  • DT Tyler Shelvin, Northside (Lafayette)
  • OLB Patrick Queen, Livonia (Livonia)
  • QB Lowell Narcisse, Saint James (Saint James)
  • QB Myles Brennan, St. Stanislaus (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi)
  • OG Edward Ingram, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)
  • OT Austin Deculus, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)
  • WR Stephen Guidry, Livonia (Morganza)
  • FB Tory Carter, Lee County (Leesburg, Georgia)
  • DE Aaron Moffitt, Catholic High (Baton Rouge)

LSU’s 2018 commitment class

  • DB Kelvin Joseph, Scotlandville (Baton Rouge)
  • DB Corione Harris, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)
  • QB Zadock Dinkelmann, Somerset (Somerset, Texas)
  • WR Devonta Jason, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)

Four star Texas tackle Austin Deculus commits to LSU

Austin Deculus joins what is now an eight-member 2017 commitment class. (247Sports)

Austin Deculus joins what is now an eight-member 2017 commitment class. (247Sports)

Over the last few months, a wave of major college scholarship offers poured in for Austin Deculus.

He chose to pick the one he received more than a year ago.

Deculus, a four star offensive tackle from Texas, committed to LSU on Friday, he posted on Twitter. He pledged to the Tigers over recent offers from Texas A&M, Florida, Nebraska and Notre Dame. The 6-foot-6, 323-pounder is ranked nationally as the No. 10 offensive tackle in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

The Cy-Fair High standout is the first tackle commitment in LSU’s now eight-member 2017 group and the second offensive line pledge, joining fellow Texan Edward Ingram of DeSoto, Texas. Deculus unofficially visited LSU two weeks ago, and he’s one of several players attending the school’s Bayou Picnic, an invitation-only recruiting function, on Saturday.

The Tigers offered Deculus last May before a host of other programs jumped on the native of Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb. Special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes are listed as Deculus’ primary and secondary recruiters, according to 247Sports.

LSU’s 2017 commitment class

  • RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Catholic (Baton Rouge)
  • QB Jontre Kirklin, Lutcher (Lutcher)
  • DT Tyler Shelvin, Northside (Lafayette)
  • OLB Patrick Queen, Livonia (Livonia)
  • QB Lowell Narcisse, Saint James (Saint James)
  • QB Myles Brennan, St. Stanislaus (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi)
  • OG Edward Ingram, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)
  • OT Austin Deculus, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)

LSU’s 2018 commitment class

  • DB Kelvin Joseph, Scotlandville (Baton Rouge)
  • DB Corione Harris, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)
  • QB Zadock Dinkelmann, Somerset (Somerset, Texas)
  • WR Devonta Jason, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)

LSU DE Sione Teuhema remains with team – for now

Sione Teuhema battles OL Chidi Okeke during LSU spring practice.

Sione Teuhema battles OL Chidi Okeke during LSU spring practice.

LSU defensive end Sione Teuhema remains on the football team and will take a class over the summer that could determine his future, coach Les Miles said Tuesday.

Teuhema was suspended a month into spring practice for unknown reasons. Miles said then that he’s unsure “the suspension will conclude ever.”  The coach on Tuesday said he hasn’t made a decision on the rising junior’s future. Teuhema will “make” the decision for himself, Miles said.

“He’s going to take a class (over the summer),” the coach said.

Teuhema had participated in the first month of spring drills before Miles announced the suspension on April 9. It’s Teuhema’s second suspension in the calendar year. He missed the final three regular season games last year and did not travel with the Tigers to the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech. He was withheld for what Miles termed as a “coach’s decision.”

During spring practice, Teuhema was moved to the Buck position, an outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid role in LSU’s new 3-4 defense. He was playing behind starter Arden Key, along with Isaiah Washington. It’s a “natural position” for Teuhema, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said before his suspension.

Sione is the brother to LSU starting offensive lineman Maea Teuhema. The Texas natives signed with LSU a year apart. Maea is a 2015 signee who started as a true freshman last year. Sione signed as part of the 2014 class.

Under defensive coordinator John Chavis, Sione was mostly used his freshman season as a rushing defensive lineman in Chavis’ passing defense, Mustang. He played sparingly through the first seven regular season games last year.

Pocic on Rimington watch list

Center Ethan Pocic, a rising senior, is one of eight SEC centers and dozens nationally on the Rimington Award watch list.

The award is given to the nation’s best center. Pocic bypassed entering the NFL draft this year, remaining in school after undergoing hip surgery in January. He’s expected to anchor an offensive line returning two other starters.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982.

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LSU, Les Miles keeping it close: Tigers holding satellite camps in Texas, Louisiana – without Tulane

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LSU and coach Les Miles are keeping satellite camps simple. The Tigers are staying in their known recruiting grounds of Louisiana and Texas.

LSU is hosting satellite camps with nine in-state schools in Bossier City and New Orleans, and the program is partnering with others for two satellite camps in Texas, the coach announced Tuesday.

The Tigers are partnering with former assistant Frank Wilson, now head coach at Texas-San Antonio, for a satellite camp in the Dallas area at DeSoto High on June 13. They’re partnering with a pair of high schools for satellite camps in the Houston area on June 14.

“We look forward to get on the road and going,” Miles said. “It’s going to be fun.”

As previously reported, Miles and the Tigers are hosting a camp in New Orleans at the Saints practice facility on June 4. They’ll host a camp at Freedom Field in Bossier City on June 2, kicking off this satellite camp summer tour – a hot-button issue in college football over the last several months.

The NCAA reversed a decision outlawing satellite camps earlier this spring, lifting a rule that would have restricted teams’ summer recruiting camps to their campuses. The reversal went against the SEC’s wishes and fired up dozens of college head coaches.

Miles is one.

LSU will participate in five satellite camps – including a youth satellite camp in New Orleans on June 7 – in addition to five other on-campus camps the program’s held for years.

The coach called for the NCAA to add another full-time assistant to the current nine-member staffs to combat the extra workload regarding satellite camps and the NCAA’s new rule allowing coaches to text prospects on an unlimited basis.

“What you’ve done is added man hours to your calendar. You’re going to be on the road for satellite camps. You’re going to text a little more significantly,” he said. “I think there’s a need for 10 (staff members).”

Meanwhile, Miles continued his subtle shots at Tulane, a program that’s not participating in camps hosted by LSU. The Green Wave is partnering for a Louisiana-based satellite camp with Texas A&M, LSU’s Southeastern Conference Western Division rival.

Tulane will host A&M and Houston coaches on its campus for two campus (June 17 and July 23), and the teams will participate in camps in Shreveport and in Monroe on June 15.

Miles suggested the Aggies could poach talent from Tulane.

“I don’t know that they’re going to get out of that what they want,” he said when asked about in-state schools partnering with out-of-state SEC schools. “If you’re an in-state school, you want that prospect that might fall out of the view of that SEC (team). If there’s a bunch of SEC schools in here, there’s likelihood that, at some point in time, they take one of their prospects. Again, I don’t see that as being good for the great number of schools in the state.”

Asked specifically about Tulane joining LSU’s camps, Miles said, “They didn’t necessarily want to participate.”

Nine schools will join LSU during the satellite camps in Bossier City and in New Orleans, and they’ll be invited to attend LSU’s yearly on-campus camps, Miles said. They include Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese, Southeastern, Southern, Grambling, Nicholls State, Northwestern State and Louisiana College.

“The schools that I mentioned have a vested interest in the state of Louisiana,” Miles said. “Where they get their prospects is in Louisiana.”

LSU turned down requests to partner with schools in satellite camps outside of the country, Miles said. Why?

“I just could not take myself away from Louisiana,” he said. “You have to do the things important to you and to your program.”

Miles warned, though, that LSU’s camp schedule is not finalized and more could be added. Specifically, he said, a camp in Florida may be added in July. 247Sports reported last month that LSU would participate in Sound Mind Sound body showcases in Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa and Houston, but Miles confirmed Tuesday that will not happen.

LSU’s focus remains on its on-campus camps, Miles insisted during a 20-minute news conference Tuesday. LSU holds two high school camps (June 9 and June 21-23) in Baton Rouge, a 7-on-7/linemen camp (June 16), youth camp (June 5-6) and a specialist camp (June 3).

“The thing you don’t want to do is have a satellite camp in lieu of visiting Baton Rouge,” he said. “When they come to Baton Rouge, there’s more information given to a camper once he shows up on our campus, especially if that kid sees himself attending college here. We don’t want to change that.”

LSU satellite camp schedule

  • June 2, Bossier City (Freedom Field)
  • June 4, New Orleans (New Orleans Saints Practice Facility)
  • June 7, New Orleans (Joe Brown Park)
  • June 13, Dallas (DeSoto High, DeSoto, Texas)
  • June 14, Houston (Episcopal and Northshore high schools)

LSU’s yearly on-campus camp schedule

  • June 3: Specialist camp
  • June 5-6: Youth camp
  • June 9: High school camp
  • July 16: 7-on-7/lineman camp
  • July 21-23: High school camp

LSU, Wisconsin set for 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Lambeau Field

Lambeau Field. (AP)

Lambeau Field. (AP)

LSU and Wisconsin won’t be playing under the lights of Lambeau Field.

The Tigers’ season opener against the Badgers at the Packers’ home field kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC, ESPN announced on Tuesday. It’s the first college game at Lambeau since 1983.

The Sept. 3 game is part of ESPN and ABC’s season-opening tripleheader on each network. Here’s the schedule:

  • Oklahoma vs. Houston, 11 a.m., ABC (NRG Stadium, Houston)
  • Hawaii at Michigan, 11 a.m., ESPN
  • LSU vs. Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m., ABC (Lambeau Field)
  • Georgia vs. North Carolina, 4:30, ESPN (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)
  • Southern Cal vs. Alabama, 7 p.m., ABC (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
  • Clemson at Auburn, 8 p.m., ESPN

Report: LSU running back Leonard Fournette insured for $10 million

Leonard Fournette may one day make millions of dollars as a star NFL running back.

(HILARY SCHEINUK)

(HILARY SCHEINUK)

But what if he doesn’t make it or gets hurt? He’s insured for $10 million, CBSSports.com reported Thursday in a wide-ranging story about athlete insurance policies.

Fournette and his family took out loans to purchase two $10 million insurance policies through Kaymore Sports Risk Management and Consulting. The policies cover him for $10 million in total disability in the event of a career-ending injury and $10 million for circumstances that would lead to him falling from his projected NFL draft spot, the site reported.

Premiums for these policies run about $8,000 for every $1 million of coverage, according to the story. The policies kicked in before LSU’s spring practice this year.

Fournette, a rising junior expected to be a first round NFL draft pick next year, has declined to discuss his insurance policies with local reporters, and coach Les Miles has only said that his star running back is covered in some way.

Fournette cracked a host of school records last season, rushing for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. He enters the 2016 season as one of the top favorites to win the Heisman Trophy and at least one draft analyst said during last season that Fournette would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft if he were eligible.

Highly rated NFL prospects acquiring large insurance policies is nothing new. Just two years ago, former LSU left tackle La’el Collins said he was covered through a $5 million insurance policy, and, according to that story from CBSSports.com, ex-LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell had a $20 million policy while with the Tigers.

More on Leonard Fournette

Jerald Hawkins set to sign with Steelers on Thursday; Tigers set to hold Texas camps, report says

Jerald Hawkins at the Steelers rookie mini camp. (AP)

Jerald Hawkins at the Steelers rookie mini camp. (AP)

The final LSU drafted player is schedule to sign with his team Thursday.

Jerald Hawkins is set to ink with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, he said. Hawkins, a three-year starter at LSU who manned the left tackle position last season, is expected to receive a signing bonus around $580,000 and a four-year contract worth $2.8 million, according to overthecap,com.

The Steelers chose Hawkins in the fourth round of the NFL draft two weeks ago. He competed in the team’s three-day rookie mini camp last weekend.

Hawkins will become the fifth and final former LSU player drafted this year to sign with his squad. He joins linebacker Deion Jones (second round, Falcons), defensive back Jalen Mills (seventh round, Eagles), offensive lineman Vadal Alexander (seventh round, Raiders) and defensive back Rashard Robinson (fourth round, 49ers).

Several more ex-LSU players signed undrafted free agent contracts, including  linebacker Lamar Louis (Cardinals), tight end Dillon Gordon (Eagles) and snapper Reid Ferguson (Bills).

LSU satellite camp coming together

Frank Wilson will partner with LSU for a satellite camp, according to 247Sports. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Frank Wilson will partner with LSU for a satellite camp, according to 247Sports. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Les Miles confirmed last week that LSU will host satellite camps in the Shreveport area and New Orleans, but the Tigers will also travel to Texas for a pair of camps, according to 247Sports.com.

The site reported that LSU will hold camps in Houston at East Houston Football Showcase on June 14 and Dallas at Desoto High on June 13. At the Dallas camp, the Tigers will partner with Texas-San Antonio and coach Frank Wilson, LSU’s former longtime recruiting coordinator who left for UTSA in January.

The Tigers’ camp in north Louisiana is on June 2 and will be held at First Baptist’s Freedom Field in Bossier City, the site reported. The school has not released a camp schedule, but Miles said LSU will host a joint camp with the Saints in New Orleans along with a youth clinic in the Crescent City.

The national 247Sports site reported last week that LSU coaches would attend four showcases in Detroit, Tampa, Atlanta and Houston, but the school has not confirmed those trips.

Keehn to tryout for Carolina

Former LSU punter Jamie Keehn is scheduled to leave for Carolina on Thursday for a tryout at the Panthers’ mini camp this weekend, he said.

Keehn, an Aussie and a second team All-SEC selection as a junior in 2014, averaged at least 40 yards a punt during each of his three seasons as LSU’s starting punter. He hoped to be one of a small handful of punters to sign an undrafted free agent deal, but Keehn will instead participate in a tryout.

Vadal Alexander inks $2.4M deal with Raiders, source says

Former LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander signed a four-year contract with the Oakland Raiders worth $2.4 million, including a signing bonus of $76,844, a source told The Advocate.

Vadal Alexander spent four years at LSU after attending an LSU camp as a child.

Vadal Alexander spent four years at LSU after attending an LSU camp as a child.

Alexander, a four-year starter at LSU and seventh-round draft pick earlier this month, will make an average of more than $600,000 over the duration of the deal. The Raiders announced Alexander’s signing Monday but did not release contract details.

Alexander becomes the fourth LSU draftee to sign with his team. Deion Jones, a second-round pick, signed a four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Falcons. Jalen Mills, a seventh-round selection, signed a four-year, $2.4 million contract with the Eagles, according to PhillyVoice.com. Rashard Robinson, dismissed from LSU’s team after the 2014 season, signed with the San Francisco 49ers, according to a tweet from the team.

Jerald Hawkins, a fourth-round pick with the Steelers, has yet to sign. Several others have signed undrafted free agent deals, including linebacker Lamar Louis (Cardinals), tight end Dillon Gordon (Eagles) and snapper Reid Ferguson (Bills).

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Spring Review: SEC West

(boneheadpicks.com)

(boneheadpicks.com)

This is Part 1 of a two-part Spring Review series. On Tuesday, we’ll post spring reviews for the SEC East.

LSU

Big Story: For once, LSU’s top storyline during spring wasn’t quarterbacks. Well, maybe it was, but we chose to focus on new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s defensive overhaul. He’s installing the 3-4, moving players like safety Corey Thompson to outside linebacker, end Tashawn Bower to OLB and tackle Davon Godchaux to nose tackle. A busy summer awaits. Aranda only installed three packages during spring.

Leonard Fournette signs autographs after LSU's student day at spring practice. (Patrick Dennis)

Leonard Fournette signs autographs after LSU’s student day at spring practice. (Patrick Dennis)

Side Story: It’s the quarterbacks, of course. For the first time since 2013, LSU will have an upperclassman starting at QB (presumably Brandon Harris). Coaches believe a more mature Harris is ready to improve on last year’s completion percentage of 53.8 and 180-yard average, but Purdue transfer Danny Etling is waiting if Harris falters.

Rising Star: OLB/DE Arden Key. This rangy sophomore will only get better in his new spot, coaches and players say. He’s shifted into a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role in the 3-4, standing up at the snap. As a rookie, he led the team in QB hurries (9).

Eagerly Awaiting: DT Rashard Lawrence. The Monroe native is one of two five-star signees. He’s a 305-pound versatile talent who could play at several spots on the line.

Kickoff: vs. Wisconsin (at Lambeau Field), Sept. 3


MISSISSIPPI STATE

Big Story: Coach-turned-broadcaster Jon Gruden called Dak Prescott the best dual-threat QB in the 2016 draft. That’s the guy Mississippi State must replace. The two leaders after spring appear to be redshirt sophomore Nick Fitzgerald, a triple-option high school QB, and junior Damian Williams, a Metairie native and 2015’s backup to Prescott. A preseason camp battle is expected to unfold between the two.

Dak Prescott is done giving LSU trouble. (Bill Feig)

Dak Prescott is done giving LSU trouble. (Bill Feig)

Side story: Just like LSU, a new defensive coordinator installed his new 3-4 defense during spring practice. Peter Sirmon replaced Manny Diaz after he left for Miami, and he’s overhauling State’s D into a 3-4, equipped with a Viper position (a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker that Will Coleman is expected to man).

Rising Star: DT Nick James. Somebody has to replace the 6-6, 300-pound Chris Jones, the 37th pick in the draft. James, a top 10 defensive tackle out of Long Beach, Mississippi, appears ready as a redshirt junior.

Eagerly Awaiting: DE Jeffery Simmons. The five-star prospect’s future is uncertain after an arrest on simple assault charges in March, but he’s talented (No. 3 strong-side DE).

Kickoff: vs. South Alabama, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Sept. 17 at Tiger Stadium


OLE MISS

Big Story: Much of Ole Miss’ spring was spent trying to figure out who will start where on an offensive line that returns just four starters. No loss is bigger than Laremy Tunsil’s departure at left tackle. Redshirt freshman Alex Givens and senior Jeremy Liggins, the ex-LSU QB signee-turned-lineman, worked there. Junior Roderick Taylor, backup left tackle last year, is a wild card. He was arrested this spring and charged with shoplifting.

Side story: Senior Chad Kelly is the Rebels’ starting quarterback in 2016, but Ole Miss got a glimpse of its potential starter in 2017 this spring. Kelly missed the latter half of spring after having sports hernia surgery. True freshman Shea Patterson, a five star signee, and redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin battled in a preview to next spring.

Rising Star: DE Marquis Haynes. Some might say Hayes has already risen, but he was overshadowed by tackle Robert Nkemdiche. Haynes led the team last year with 10 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. The junior is a potential high-round draft pick.

Eagerly Awaiting: OL Greg Little. The No. 1-ranked offensive tackle in the nation arrives this summer. The Texas native is expected to compete on the line immediately.

Kickoff: at Florida State, Sept. 5

Vs. LSU: Oct. 22 at Tiger Stadium


ARKANSAS

Bret  Bielema has beat LSU and Les Miles the last two years. (Bill Feig)

Bret Bielema has beat LSU and Les Miles the last two years. (Bill Feig)

Big Story: Alex Collins – his 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns – are gone. It’s up to senior Kody Walker and sophomore Rawleigh Williams to fill the void. Walker, 394 yards last season, missed the second half of spring after breaking his foot. Williams did not face any contact in the spring because of a neck injury he suffered last season. As summer workouts crank up in Fayetteville, the running back position is most uncertain.

Side story: The quarterback name on the back of the jersey will be the same, “Allen,” but the quarterback is Austin Allen, brother to former Hogs starter Brandon Allen. Austin’s only thrown 19 passes during his college career, but easily won the starting quarterback job during spring practice – a good sign for Razorback fans.

Rising Star: DE McTelvin Agim. The Hope, Arkansas, native is the first consensus five star product to sign with the Hogs since 2009. He enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, already a projected rotating player at defensive end.

Eagerly Awaiting: RB Devwah Whaley. The third-ranked running back in the 2016 class should add much-needed depth to a critical position.

Kickoff: vs. Louisiana Tech, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Nov. 12, at Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Arkansas)


TEXAS A&M

Big Story: Preseason camp is normally the time for raging quarterback battles and dramatic starting QB announcements. A&M coach Kevin Sumlin took care of things during spring practice. He named Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight the starter following Knight’s spring competition with Jake Hubenak. Knight will run new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s tempo-centric offense.

Side story: A&M’s linebackers are a work in progress, and their best one, sophomore Richard Moore, missed spring with injury. The Aggies allowed 213 rushing yards a game last season, 108th nationally, stunning for a John Chavis unit. Another sophomore, Otaro Alaka, made strides in spring, and JUCO transfer Claude George is expected to help.

Rising Star: WR/PR Christian Kirk. As a freshman last year, Kirk led the team in receptions (80), yards (1,009) and TDs (7), and he returned two of 14 punts for touchdowns, averaging more than 24 yards a return.

Eagerly Awaiting: DE Justin Madubuike. A top-50 player nationally and the 5th-ranked DE in the class, Madubuike spurned offers from Auburn, Bama, Ohio State and Florida.

Kickoff: vs. UCLA, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Nov. 24, at Kyle Field (College Station, Texas)


ALABAMA

Big Story: Losing Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry is bad enough, but the Tide also lost his speedy counterpart, Kenyan Drake. Naturally, the running back situation took center stage during drills, especially when sophomore running back Ronnie Clark tore his Achilles tendon midway through spring. He’s out for the season. The depth behind Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris includes walk-ons and true freshmen.

Cooper Bateman, here during Bama's spring game, has the lead in the QB race. (AP)

Cooper Bateman, here during Bama’s spring game, has the lead in the QB race. (AP)

Side story: QB Cooper Bateman appears to have the edge in what seems to be a three-way battle to replace Jake Coker. Bateman’s spring resembled that of Coker last year and starter Blake Sims the year before. He didn’t do anything to lose the edge he’s got over redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and sophomore David Cornwell.

Rising Star: DE Da’Shawn Hand. Hand, the nation’s No. 1 strong-side DE in the 2014 recruiting class, worked on the first string during spring. A’Shawn Robinson and Jerran Reed’s departures have opened the door for the 6-4, 280-pounder fro Virginia.

Eagerly Awaiting: WR Gehrig Dieter. The Bowling Green graduate transfer will arrive this summer. He caught 94 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 TD as a junior last year.

Kickoff: vs. Southern California, Sept. 3 (Arlington, Texas)

Vs. LSU: Nov. 5, at Tiger Stadium


AUBURN

Big Story: Maybe the most wide open quarterback race in the SEC unfolded on the Plains this spring. Junior college transfer John Franklin battled Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, a pair of QBs who rotated during Auburn’s disappointing 7-6 season in 2015. The result: a tossup. Many think Franklin – all 6-1, 174 pounds of him – has the edge. He was the most accurate of the group in the spring game, completing 7 of 11 attempts.

Side story: AU’s defense held its counterpart to a 1-for-22 third-down clip during the spring game. That’s probably more of a critique on Gus Malzahn’s offense, but don’t sleep on this D. The Tigers’ D-line lost zero guys from last year’s two-deep depth chart.

Rising Star: DB Carlton Davis. An SEC all-freshman honoree last season, Davis rolled up 56 tackles and picked off three passes as a rookie. The Miami native’s three picks were the most of any freshman in the league.

Eagerly Awaiting: DT Derrick Brown. This five star from Georgia is ranked as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the 2016 class.

Kickoff: vs. Clemson, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Sept. 24, at Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Alabama)


 

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Ex-LSU LB Deion Jones signs four-year, $4.5M contract with Falcons

Deion Jones, his father Cal to his left, gets the call from the Atlanta Falcons notifying him that they plan to draft him with the next pick.

Deion Jones, his father Cal to his left, gets the call from the Atlanta Falcons notifying him that they plan to draft him with the next pick.

Cal Jones won’t be driving cabs anymore.

Former LSU linebacker and Jesuit star Deion Jones signed a four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, he confirmed to The Advocate. Jones’ signing bonus was expected to be for about $1.5 million, according to overthecap.com.

Jones’ father, Cal, drove a taxi cab in New Orleans for more than a decade, and his mother, Tahonas, is a restaurant manager at Subway.

Jones becomes the second of five LSU drafted players to sign a deal with his team. Defensive back Jalen Mills, a second-round pick, signed a four-year, $2.4 million contract with the Eagles, according to PhillyVoice.com.

Jalen Mills signed his deal Wednesday. (BRIANNA PACIORKA)

Jalen Mills signed his deal Wednesday. (BRIANNA PACIORKA)

Atlanta selected Jones with the 52nd overall pick and 21st pick in the second round, sending family and friends into an outburst at a watch part in Harvey. A three-year reserve and special teams star, Jones only moved into a starting role as a senior last year. His stock climbed over the last four months, including an impressive showing at the senior bowl, a solid NFL combine and an LSU pro day in which he ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash.

Three drafted LSU players have not yet signed: offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins (fourth round, Steelers), defensive back Rashard Robinson (fourth round, 49ers) and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander (seventh round, Raiders).

Several others have signed undrafted free agent deals, including linebacker Lamar Louis (Cardinals), tight end Dillon Gordon (Eagles) and snapper Reid Ferguson (Bills).

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