BATON ROUGE, La. — You can disagree all you want, but one thing that you have to admit about the Les Miles era in the LSU football program is that the man was a good recruiter.
Was he a great developer of the talent he brought in? That question is debatable. But Miles brought in a bunch of talent, and perhaps no class was more impressive than the class of 2014, which included consensus 5-star talents Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams and Malachi Dupre, as well as quality starters such as Davon Godchaux and Will Clapp.
But today I want to focus on those 5-star players. Dupre made news Tuesday by announcing that he doesn’t have an announcement about his NFL future. As recently as a couple of months ago, Dupre was forecasted as a potential first-round pick, and there’s no doubt that Fournette and Adams will go in the first round this year, provided Adams declares.
This shouldn’t be too much of a shock. Five-star talents grade out as NFL stars all the time, right? Not in the Miles era, actually.
Since Miles took over at LSU in 2005, the Tigers have recruited 11 consensus 5-star recruits (according to the 247 Sports Composite) who have gone on to complete their college eligibilities or leave early for the draft. From that crew, only one player went on to become a first-round pick. Check out the chart.
|Jarvis Landry||2nd Round|
|Rueben Randle||2nd Round|
|Al Woods||4th Round|
|Patrick Peterson||1st Round|
Of course, this chart is about to change quite a bit. Fournette, Adams and Dupre will all be drafted when they do end up declaring, helping this ratio out quite a bit.
But whether this is an indictment on Miles’ development or the recruiting complex in general, it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than Fournette, Adams and Dupre are special talents for not losing their luster.
Observations from LSU football practice
Maybe it’s because it’s bowl season. Maybe it’s because the temperature has dropped. Or maybe it’s because the pressure of winning for coach O has disappeared. But in the last two weeks, the LSU football team has looked so much looser at practice than it did before.
Want proof? Submitted for your approval:
— Billy Embody (@BillyEmbody) December 20, 2016
No position groups get more animated than the receivers and DBs, who take competition to a new level. As you’d expect, the DBs win more often than they lose. But thanks to his speed, D.J. Chark is one of LSU’s most competitive wide receivers, as was on display there.
But he’s not the only one.
Derrick Dillon caught pass over Jamal Adams. Tre White jokingly asked media not to show it.
Adams: "They will and they'll at me too." #LSU
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 20, 2016
It’s not often that Adams gets beat by anyone. Let alone a teammate in practice. But that’s just how competitive things get out there. It’s a fun time.
NFLSU Update: Snubs edition
The NFL released its 2017 Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday night, and the only LSU alum who made the cut was, of course, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
But I think it can be argued that a handful of former LSU football players got snubbed. Here are my nominations:
- Tampa Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander got robbed. He leads the NFL in tackles with 97. The next-closest player to him is 7 tackles behind. Plus he has 3 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a touchdown. Get him in this game. Now.
- It’s been a great year for wide receivers, but Miami Dolphins pass catcher Jarvis Landry deserves some Pro Bowl consideration. He’s one of 11 NFL players with 1,000 receiving yards, he’s seventh in the NFL in receptions and his 72.6 percent catch rate is the ninth-best among NFL receivers. He’s on the fringe, but he’s deserving.
- He isn’t exactly having a Pro Bowl year, but rookie linebacker Deion Jones deserves some recognition. The Atlanta Falcons defender leads all NFL players in interception return yardage with 165 and is one of four defensive players with 2 touchdowns.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 3
This is the last week of Bayou Bengal Briefings before Christmas, so I’ve been using this week to count down my five favorite sitcom Christmas episodes.
No. 3: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire — The Simpsons
It’s one of the greatest pilot episodes of all time and it’s one of the greatest shows of all time. But “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” also is a pretty great Christmas episode.
It has all the great Simpsons hijinks. Bart gets in trouble. Mr. Burns makes Homer’s life difficult. Homer comes up with a scheme. It fails. Eventually, the family pulls together and makes the best of it.
Nothing against the animated shows that came after it (ahem, “Family Guy,” ahem), but no show has replicated the love and care of The Simpsons in its early seasons. Whereas most comedies play family dysfunction for laughs, The Simpsons plays conflict as conflict and tries to bring us happy endings.
The show started off with this message from the get-go. Try to watch this episode without warming up inside at least a little. I dare you.
Kendell Beckwith thoughts
Reports surfaced Tuesday that confirmed the perceived notion that linebacker Kendell Beckwith’s LSU football career is over, thanks to a torn ACL he suffered versus Florida.
Beckwith won’t play in the Senior Bowl, and he’s questionable for LSU’s Pro Day now. But, if recent history is any indication, Beckwith’s draft stock shouldn’t suffer too much because of the knee injury.
Major knee injuries are becoming easier and easier to rehab from. And if Los Angeles Rams and former Georgia running back Todd Gurley is any indication, players can suffer ACL injuries in November and still be first-round draft picks if they’re talented enough.
But there’s a difference between being drafted and being productive. Just ask the San Francisco 49ers. In the last four years, the 49ers have drafted seven players rehabbing from ACL tears. Coming into this season, only one of them had ever started a game for San Francisco.
It’s a major risk taking a guy like Beckwith and asking him to spend his rookie camp healing. But because the timing of his injury was so early in the draft saga, Beckwith still has a chance. I still expect him to go in the second or third round. What happens after that, we’ll see from there.
An LSU basketball minute
At LSU basketball availability Tuesday, junior forward Craig Victor explained how he’s managed to stay out of foul trouble, and what he plans to do when he encounters SEC refs in a couple of weeks.
“(I’m going to) talk to the refs more, let them understand that I’m here so I won’t foul,” Victor said. “I’m talking to you to move my feet and keep my hands up and let them know that I’m playing more disciplined than I did last year. Even though last year I don’t think I fouled a lot. But this year has been better for me and I’ve been able to keep myself out of foul trouble, and with that I’m able to help my team.”
I asked Victor if talking to the refs actually works to keep him out of foul trouble. He laughed.
“No, it don’t work,” he said. “But still, I’ll let them know what’s going on.”
Today in made-up holidays
According to the people over at NationalDayCalendar.com, today is “Humbug Day,” the only acceptable day to express your frustrations with the holiday season.
Are the Christmas lights in your neighborhood keeping you awake? Do you secretly think eggnog is disgusting but don’t want to admit it? Or are you simply sick of having to hear Paul McCartney’s worst song over and over and over again?
Then just say, “Bah, humbug!” today and get on with your life.
And this doesn’t just have to apply to the Christmas season. Do you have any negative hot takes that you need to get off your chest about the LSU football program? Do it today and just call yourself an LSU football scrooge.
Disagree with the Ed Orgeron hire? Frustrated with Fournette for not playing in the bowl? Think Brandon Harris should be playing more? Embrace your inner Ebenezer, folks.
Today’s the day. And I’m sorry if I got “Wonderful Christmastime” stuck in your head. That really was mean of me.