BATON ROUGE, La. — Leonard Fournette’s career as a member of the LSU football team is over. But it’s looking increasingly possible that Fournette’s foil on the LSU defense might return for a senior season after all.
Junior safety Jamal Adams is ranked among the top 10 prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft by nearly every reputable draft site. Coming off an All-American-caliber season where he made 70 tackles — 6.5 for losses — broke up three passes, forced and recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, Adams would be justified in embarking on his NFL journey a year early.
But Adams has been coy on the topic. He hasn’t directly declared that he plans to stay for his senior season, but he’s done everything short of it. On Friday afternoon, he explained that his No. 1 goal for 2017 is to become the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy since Charles Woodson in 1997.
And Sunday night, Adams reiterated the goal. Adams retweeted seven fans in a matter of minutes, all of whom had tweeted something along the lines of “Adams is going to wear No. 7 and win the Heisman Trophy.”
Jamal Adams is wearing wear #7 next year ? @TheAdams_era
— Dylan Denmark (@dylan_denmark) December 19, 2016
No. 7, of course, belongs to Fournette right now, and before him a host of Tigers legends such as Bert Jones, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu sported 7. And Mathieu might be the likeliest player Adams is attempting to emulate; until Jabrill Peppers this season, Mathieu was the most recent defensive back to be invited to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
If you’re willing to indulge my opinion, I still think it would be foolish for Adams to stay for his senior season. He’s going to be the first safety picked in the NFL Draft this year. His stock can only go down, and that’s a lot of money and prestige he’s risking.
But if he does want to come back, if winning a Heisman and helping a less-talented LSU squad compete for an SEC title is truly his aspiration, I respect the heck out of him for it.
We’ll see what his intentions truly are after the bowl game. But if he does in fact choose to return, Christmas will be coming late for LSU fans, and that’s a gift you should be willing to wait for.
Monday LSU football poll
As I mentioned at the outset, Fournette will not be playing in LSU’s bowl game on Dec. 31 against Louisville.
When Fournette announced his decision on Friday, a decision he said he made with coach Ed Orgeron’s guidance, I tweeted out a video of the announcement and was shocked to see how split LSU fans are with Fournette’s choice.
— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) December 16, 2016
At first, there were a lot of positive replies. Plenty of tweets expressing gratitude and wishing him luck in his future endeavors. But as the day went on, a chorus of people came out arguing that Fournette was being selfish, putting his health and future above the success of the team.
While I disagree with that belief, I completely see where those people are coming from. If he thought he was healthy enough to play when there was something on the line, why is he taking time off in a less-important game if not for himself?
So, what do you think? Voice your opinions in the poll below. I’ll recap your votes in Bayou Bengal Briefing on Tuesday.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 1
This is our last week of Bayou Bengal Briefings before Christmas, and I would feel awfully grinch-like if I didn’t do a Christmas edition of Arbitrary Analysis to round out 2016.
This time of year every schmuck is counting down their list of their favorite Christmas songs, movies and traditions. But everyone forgets another time-honored tradition: Christmas sitcom specials.
I’m an admitted sitcom addict and I have a long catalog of my favorite holiday-themed episodes. So, this week in the Briefing, I’ll be giving you my picks for my five favorite Christmas TV episodes, and hopefully you’ll join me in a big, festive watch-along.
Today, I reveal my pick for No. 5. Be sure to return to the Briefing on Tuesday as this Christmas spirit continues.
No. 5: Where There’s a Will — Cheers
While not explicitly about Christmas, “Where There’s a Will” is one of the best illustrations of the Christmas spirit ever put to film. The episode follows the story of Mr. Malcolm Kramer, a patron who reveals to Sam and Diane he has six months to live.
Sam, Diane and the whole Cheers gang regale Mr. Kramer with a good time, such a good time that he amends his will to leave the folks at Cheers $100,000. For the rest of the episode, the cast squabbles over who deserves the biggest cut, before the in-fighting tears everyone apart.
At the end, though, Sam makes the right decision. Plus, Diane uses one of her greatest insults of all time, referring to Sam as an “avaricious, unrepentant degenerate.”
The episode is on Netflix. It’s required viewing. It’ll make your heart grow three sizes. Watch it and report back to me.
LSU football banquet recap
The LSU football team held its annual team banquet Sunday night, and some people might’ve been caught by surprise by who the players selected as LSU’s 2016 team MVP.
Congratulations to Duke Riley for being named the team's Most Valuable Player. pic.twitter.com/KJ0EnnNFYO
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) December 19, 2016
That’s right. Senior linebacker Duke Riley took the cake. Now, it could easily be argued Riley wasn’t even LSU’s best senior linebacker. But given the way his teammates speak about him, this very well could’ve been an honor based on his leadership as much as it was based on his play on the field.
For what it’s worth, Riley had a great season. He made 85 tackles, 9 of which were for losses and recorded 1.5 sacks, 1 interception and 1 pass breakup. In his first three seasons at LSU, Riley made a total of 51 tackles.
He’s vaulted his draft stock from nonexistent to possibly being a Day 2 selection, which was an impressive feat. And he steadied the LSU defense when Kendell Beckwith went down with his knee injury against Florida.
I congratulate Riley for the honor. He’s not my pick (stay tuned to SEC Country over the next two weeks for more on that), but he played himself into consideration. And he was certainly one of the bright spots of LSU’s season.
Your weekly NFLSU update
It’s that time of year when the NFL spreads out and claims Saturday nights as well as Sunday nights. So, here’s a recap of two days’ worth of LSU in the NFL action:
— TAB (@tabcomau) December 18, 2016
- As we do every week, let’s start with Odell Beckham Jr. and his magic fingers. Beckham caught 6 passes for 64 yards, including this game-sealing, one-handed grab that kept he and his New York Giants in playoff contention. This is Beckham’s third consecutive 10-touchdown, 1,000-yard season to start his career. Beckham is just the third player in NFL history to achieve this to start his career, joining John Jefferson and future Hall of Fame inductee Randy Moss.
- Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries in the Chiefs’ upset loss to the Tennessee Titans.
- Defensive tackle Kyle Williams wreaked havoc on the Cleveland Browns offense, notching 1.5 sacks, 2 TFLs and 2 quarterback hits as his Bills routed the winless Browns.
- The Cincinnati Bengals duo of Jeremy Hill and Brandon LaFell put together two good performances. Hill rushed 20 times for 43 yards and a touchdown, while LaFell caught 7 passes for 91 yards filling in for superstar receiver A.J. Green. The Bengals lost to the Steelers, 24-20.
- Mathieu, Peterson, Kevin Minter and the Arizona Cardinals defense got torched by Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints. The Saints put up 48 points, but the trio managed 21 combined tackles and 2 passes defended by Minter.
- Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Deion Jones made 8 more tackles for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Falcons blew out the 49ers.
- Finally, LSU fans must’ve felt a little deja vu watching Jarvis Landry tear up grass on a Saturday night. Landry caught 3 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown Saturday night as the Dolphins beat the Jets. Landry has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.
This weekend in non-revenue LSU sports
It wasn’t a busy weekend for LSU athletics, but it was a successful one. Here’s a recap:
- The LSU men’s basketball team outlasted Texas Southern, 88-80, Saturday night. Junior college transfer Duop Reath led the way in scoring with a 21-point performance and junior forward Craig Victor notched his first double-double of the season.
- More impressively, the LSU women’s basketball team throttled UNC on Sunday, winning 70-43. The Tigers are 9-2 on the season, just one win shy of their overall win total last season.
- The swimming and diving teams are two days into their three-day meet against Auburn. Click here for stats and updates on how that is going.
Oh yeah, isn’t there a bowl game coming up?
The LSU football team still has to prepare for a Citrus Bowl matchup against Louisville. And since the game is still far enough away that we don’t want to get too bogged down with matchup previews, here’s a quick best-case/worst-case breakdown for what could happen:
Best case: Derrius Guice uses his elusiveness and power to gash through Louisville’s stout run defense and LSU is afforded the opportunity to get some younger players playing time heading into 2017.
Worst case: Louisville’s run defense steps up and shuts down Guice, exposing LSU’s reliance on the run game and forcing Danny Etling into making turnovers.
Likely case: LSU will run the ball well, but Louisville’s opportunistic defense will force a turnover or two, and some sacks, keeping the game close.
Best case: Lamar Jackson is a nonfactor, thanks to Jamal Adams and Duke Riley’s contain skills and Arden Key’s ability to collapse the pocket. With Jackson reduced to a shell of himself, none of Louisville’s other skill players are able to step up.
Worst case: Jackson treats LSU’s defense like he did Florida State’s. Kendell Beckwith’s injury leaves LSU without its surest tackler, making Louisville’s rushing attack too much for LSU to handle.
Likely case: Louisville will be able to run the ball, but Jackson’s passing attack is rendered useless by a combination of Key’s pass rushing skills and the sideline coverage of Tre’Davious White and Donte Jackson.