Bayou Bengal Briefing: Which former LSU football players are standing out at the Senior Bowl?
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we discuss seniors who bowl, recruits who roll, coaches on patrol and much, much more. Enjoy!
A handful of the LSU football team’s most prominent graduating seniors began practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday. The group included potential early round draft picks Tre’Davious White and Ethan Pocic, as well as possible mid-round gems Duke Riley and Travin Dural.
So, what is there to make from one day of practices? Let’s see what the national media thinks:
- NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked White as one of the most impressive cornerbacks in Mobile on Tuesday. The most impressive part about White, who led the FBS in pass breakups in 2016 and was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, to Jeremiah was how he was never out of position.
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked White and Pocic as two of the top 10 players at the Senior Bowl this week. Kiper’s main concern with White is his lack of interceptions in his career, but views his punt returning experience as a plus. As for Pocic, Kiper grades him as the top center in this year’s draft class but could see him bumping inside as an athletic guard.
Reading is one thing. But seeing is believing. Here are some clips from practice, headlined by Pocic pounding a fellow Louisiana alum into submission:
— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 24, 2017
How about a little LSU vs. LSU action? Here’s a clip of White covering Dural, shot by NOLA.com’s Jim Kleinpeter:
— Jim Kleinpeter (@JimKleinpeter) January 24, 2017
The Senior Bowl is this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT in Mobile, Ala. It’ll be broadcast on the NFL Network.
Where in the world was Ed Orgeron?
We’re now just one week away from National Signing Day. As such, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron and his staff are traversing the country looking for recruits. So, where was Orgeron on Tuesday?
Well, he started off the day in Mobile with his seniors.
Incredibly happy to catch up with our guys in Mobile. What great examples for The Tiger Family. Best of luck Duke, Travin, Ethan and Tre! pic.twitter.com/ClzB5yABwh
— Coach Ed Orgeron (@Coach_EdOrgeron) January 24, 2017
But after a sun-kissed break at practice, Orgeron returned to the grind. Late Tuesday night, a photo surfaced of Orgeron hanging out with 4-star LSU target Markaviest Bryant.
Home visit #2 went GREAT with LSU??‼ pic.twitter.com/2WWpDnhISX
— Coach Shelton Felton (@shelton_felton) January 25, 2017
Bryant, a defensive end from Crisp County, Ga., took his official visit to LSU last weekend. Bryant is expected to end up staying in-state at UGA, but LSU is making a significant push in the final weeks to court the edge rusher who, potentially, could end up menacing passers opposite Arden Key in a dangerous LSU pass rush.
After Houston product K’Lavon Chaisson, Bryant is probably LSU’s highest-ranked uncommitted edge-rushing target. And given that Orgeron has now seen him twice in a week, it’s safe to say LSU is pushing pretty hard to flip his interest.
Speaking of LSU football recruiting …
In Bayou Bengal Briefing on Tuesday, we talked about 4-star Baton Rouge linebacker and priority LSU target Christopher Allen.
Well, it’s looking like he’s going to stick to his commitment. Unless something changes drastically, expect Allen to follow through on his commitment to Alabama.
Allen told 247 Sports on Tuesday that his recruitment is “pretty much shut down” at this point and that he informed Orgeron of this when he spoke to him on his official visit two weekends ago.
With regards to the photo Allen tweeted of himself wearing an LSU jersey on Monday, he laughed it off, saying he didn’t expect an innocuous Twitter edit would create the storm it did.
For LSU, it’s on to the next linebackers. This puts Jacob Phillips and Willie Gay into the spotlight. Watch out for those names, if you weren’t already.
Three things: LSU basketball vs. Florida edition
The LSU basketball team faces off against Florida on Wednesday night in the PMAC. Here are some thoughts:
Thing 1: LSU is finally gonna play a ranked team
Florida barely slid into the AP Top 25 this week at No. 25. This makes the Gators the first AP ranked team LSU has faced in the 2016-17 season. In the Johnny Jones era, LSU is 6-10 versus ranked teams.
Thing 2: Antonio Blakeney has history
Blakeney, LSU’s leading scorer in 16-17, played the best offensive game of his career against Florida last season, putting up 32 points in LSU’s home win. Blakeney fired up a season-high 17 shots in that game, making 12 of them.
Thing 3: Duop loses with grace
Over LSU’s five-game losing streak, forward Duop Reath has still produced at a high level. The junior college transfer has averaged 14 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in LSU’s five losses, compared to his 14 points and 5 rebounds per game in LSU’s previous five games.
One more Senior Bowl note
New Orleans Saints beat reporter Sean Fazende asked Saints GM Mickey Loomis at Senior Bowl practices why the Saints have passed on so many LSU players in recent years.
Loomis said there have been plenty of Tigers the Saints have coveted, but it’s just been “the luck of the draw.”
Here are some examples from recent memory the Saints just barely missing out on LSU prospects:
- 2016: Vadal Alexander and Jalen Mills were picked three and four selections, respectively, before the Saints picked running back Daniel Lasco.
- 2015: Jalen Collins was picked two selections before the Saints grabbed Hau’oli Kikaha.
- 2014: WR Odell Beckham Jr. went eight picks before the Saints picked a wide receiver of their own, Brandin Cooks. One round later, running back Jeremy Hill went three picks before the Saints were on the clock.
- 2013: Cardinals All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu got picked six selections before the Saints took Terron Armstead. Also, defensive end Lavar Edwards was drafted two slots before the Saints’ fifth-round pick.
- 2011: Former LSU football linebacker Kelvin Sheppard got snatched up by the Bills four picks before the Saints picked linebacker Martez Wilson.
So, yeah, it happens a lot. Coincidence? Maybe. Unfortunate? Depends on if you’re a Saints fan or not.
Are you counting down?
LSU announced its dates for spring practice and its annual Spring Game on Tuesday. Practices begin on March 11, culminating in the spring scrimmage on April 22.
For those of you counting along at home, that means its 45 days until spring practice begins and 87 days until the Spring Game.
I can’t decide if that sounds like it’s far away or just around the corner. I’m leaning toward the latter.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, Wednesday is “National Opposite Day.”
I know this can be tricky. I’m informing you that it’s Opposite Day. But paradoxically, that is the truth. So, should I be saying that it’s not Opposite Day? Or that it’s not today? I’m giving myself a headache.
Anyway, if there ever was a day to reflect on your childhood hijinks and confuse your friends by saying the opposite of what you mean, take advantage of it today.
Here are some LSU football-themed suggestions that you can use:
- I’m nervous about Derrius Guice’s potential.
- I don’t think coach Orgeron will be able to recruit Louisiana well.
- It was such a bummer that Clemson beat Alabama. Roll Tide.
- Guys, I don’t think National Signing Day is that interesting.
- Put money down: The LSU basketball team is going to win Wednesday night.
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