Evaluating the explosive strengths of LSU football’s two newest commits
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we discuss new commits, new responsibilities, new seasons and much, much more. Enjoy!
Leading off Briefing with recruiting news, the LSU football team secured two commitments for the Class of 2018 Thursday, one from 3-star defensive tackle Nelson Jenkins and the other from junior college defensive end Travez Moore.
Moore and Jenkins became the sixth and seventh LSU football commits for the Class of 2018, the first of which at both of their respective positions. With almost a full year to go before either of these prospects can sign with LSU, there’s still plenty that can happen on the recruiting trail to sway Moore or Jenkins elsewhere.
But, in the meantime, let’s get to know these guys a little better by looking at some game film, starting with Jenkins.
Two things immediately stand out watching Jenkins play. First, he has great hands. Hand play is often a technical oversight on the defensive interior, but Jenkins has made it the cornerstone of his game. Most of his great plays come from either shucking a lineman to the side or ripping through him. This is a sign of maturity, given he has superior size, but isn’t using this to overpower people as many high school linemen do.
That said, there’s a flaw in Jenkins’ game: He plays high. Perhaps it’s because of his active hands or perhaps it’s related to his natural instincts as a pursuer. But Jenkins doesn’t use his leverage all that well, or at least he doesn’t on these highlights. Instead, he plays in a reactionary capacity. He stands up, sees where the ball is going and heads that way. Which works in high school. But it’ll get him flattened in the SEC.
If he can learn to shoot out lower, Jenkins has the potential to be an above-average recruit. But improving his technique is paramount.
Sadly, Moore’s tape is significantly shorter than Jenkins’. At only two plays long, there’s not much to ascertain. But there are two key observations you can make, especially when comparing these highlights against his high school film.
One, as SEC Country’s Sam Spiegelman noted Thursday, Moore has grown quite a bit since high school. He measures in at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, which would make him LSU’s biggest edge rusher. But he doesn’t seem to have lost the quick-twitch explosiveness that made him dangerous when he was smaller.
Size and speed don’t make a player. You need to have technique and field awareness. And I’d like to see more from Moore before I make a judgment on his ability in those categories. But with limited exposure, I can see why he’s a top 10 JUCO prospect in this class and a prize commit for LSU at a vital position.
What can’t this man do?
Danny Etling is just your average, run-of-the-mill, American-Sign-Language-speaking, Eagle Scout quarterback. You know, one of those people. Well, as of Thursday, the starting quarterback for the LSU football team can also add vice-chairman of the leadership council to his résumé.
Etling was voted the vice-chair of the SEC football leadership council on Thursday, working as the No. 2 underneath council chair Greg Hart, a tight end from Kentucky. The council, which is in its second year of existence, works alongside the SEC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council as go-betweens connecting players to campus and conference administrators.
Etling’s responsibilities include attending the SEC’s Athletics Directors meeting in March as well as the SEC spring meetings in May and June. Topics discussed at last year’s spring meetings included everything from time constraints on athletes to instant replay protocol and concussion research.
If this is how Etling has to spend his last spring break as a college student, that’s a bit of a bummer. But he’ll be making some pretty sweet connections. And it’s never bad to schmooze the commissioner and the officials. Just saying.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 5
We’ve made it. Friday marks the start of college baseball season. LSU takes the field Friday night at 7 p.m. CT in a matchup against the Air Force Academy.
To celebrate the start of baseball season, I’ve been using the Bayou Bengal Briefing this week to count down my 5 favorite baseball movies. Today, we come to No. 1. But before I discuss my choice, a quick recap of Nos. 2-5.
No. 5: The Sandlot
No. 4: Everybody Wants Some!!
No. 3: The Pride of the Yankees
No. 2: The Natural
Now, my No. 1 pick. Grab your tissue boxes.
No. 1: Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams isn’t a perfect movie. I know there are some people out there who think it’s terrible, like NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra. I get the critiques. Its plot is thin and it relies far too heavily on nostalgia and emotion to drive an anachronistic and flawed message that feels more dated every time you watch it.
But I don’t think the goal of Field of Dreams was to tell a great story. I think the point of this movie is to make people feel things that everyday life makes them ignore. And if you grade the movie on this goal, Field of Dreams is among the most effective sports movies in the history of the genre.
Field of Dreams tells the story of Ray Kinsella, an Iowa corn farmer who embarks on a journey to build a baseball field at the behest of a magical voice in the sky. Along the way, he meets the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson, his favorite author and, eventually, his deceased father.
Maybe I’m biased. When I was in middle school, before I ever saw this movie beginning to end, I read the book this movie is based on, “Shoeless Joe.” A couple months before that, I read “Eight Men Out,” the story of Jackson’s 1919 Chicago White Sox. I was obsessed with the Black Sox scandal. To this day, I can name all eight of the eight men out off the top of my head for no reason other than to show off.
So, yeah, this movie was up my alley. But it also embodies all the themes that baseball is supposed to. It’s about how the past informs the future, how choices fuel great moments and regrettable ones. And it’s about loving baseball.
So what if the rest of the message isn’t perfect. If your movie is about loving baseball, I can get behind it.
Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports update
Baseball is starting up this weekend, but that isn’t the only LSU sporting event going on. Here’s a rundown of the schedule of events this weekend.
- For those of you interested in the baseball action, LSU plays at 7 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. There’ll also be a game at noon Friday between Army and Air Force.
- This weekend is a busy one for the No. 2 LSU gymnastics team. Friday night, the squad competes against No. 1 Oklahoma and SEC foes Georgia and Missouri in St. Charles, Miss., in a podium meet not far from where the national championship will be held this season. Then, in a quick turnaround, the squad returns home Sunday for a meet against George Washington and Iowa.
- Softball hosts the Purple & Gold Challenge this weekend. This means two matchups apiece against Georgia Southern (Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m.) and Central Arkansas (Saturday at 5 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.).
- The SEC Swimming and Diving Championships are this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. The event begins Friday at 10 a.m. You can follow live stats here.
- The indoor track and field season continues with the LSU Twilight meet, beginning Friday at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, another segment of LSU’s squad heads to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational.
- LSU’s women’s tennis team faces off against South Florida Friday at 4 p.m., then squares off against Houston on Sunday at 11 a.m.
- The beach volleyball team is holding the Purple vs. Gold scrimmage Saturday at 10 a.m.
- At 2 p.m. Sunday, the men’s tennis team hosts Rice.
- Finally, LSU’s basketball teams both hit the road this weekend. The women’s team heads to Athens on Sunday to meet the Georgia Bulldogs, and the men’s team visits Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. That game can be seen on the SEC Network.
LSU in the NBA
Since we last updated you last week, a good bit of NBA action has gone down. Here’s what former LSU basketball players contributed to that action over the last seven days:
- Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton played in two of the Nets’ three games this week, amassing 31 minutes, scoring 9 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.
- Los Angeles Clippers forward Brandon Bass played six minutes in the Clippers’ Wednesday win against the Atlanta Hawks, scoring 4 points and notching a rebound and a steal in the process.
- Tim Quarterman saw the court for the first time in 2017 for the Portland Trail Blazers, logging four minutes and 3 points in the Blazers’ Wednesday loss to the Utah Jazz.
- Boston Celtics forward Jordan Mickey played one minute and grabbed 1 rebound in four games.
LSU out of the NBA
One of the greatest and most beloved players in LSU basketball history, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, resurfaced in the news Thursday.
Davis was the guest on Chris Broussard’s podcast this week and the big man used the platform to go off on Doc Rivers, his former NBA coach.
In effect, Davis’ argument is that Rivers got lucky in winning his 2008 NBA Championship ring, riding the coattails of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to a title and then coasting through his career from there on out.
Davis even recalled occasions of Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge telling Rivers to leave the players alone and just let them play the way they want because he was interfering too much.
In a way, Davis is biting the hand that fed him. Rivers was Davis’ coach on the ’08 NBA championship-winning Celtics team, as well as in 2014-15 with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Given that Davis is a free agent right now, it’s probably not wise to criticize the coach with whom he has the longest working relationship. Regardless of if what he’s saying is true, which I would completely believe, it’s not going to be easy to break back into the Association if you’re out there bad-mouthing coaches for being overrated.
That’s not the attitude you want to display. You just look like a (bad pun coming) big baby.
LSU football workout warriors
Another day, another LSU football workout weight lifting leaderboard from strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt. Here’s Thursday’s edition:
— Tommy Moffitt (@TommyMoffitt) February 17, 2017
Moffitt trimmed down on the hashtags, limiting himself to one. But more importantly, we got some fresh names on the board.
Etling was ousted by wide receiver Stephen Sullivan, Nick Brossette popped up out of the running backs room and Jakori Savage and Glen Logan dominated the lineman ranks.
Plus, where else are you going to see “BONESAW” written in all-caps on a white board? This is good stuff.
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