Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Former LSU GM Austin Thomas' deal with Tennessee has apparently fallen through.

Former LSU GM Austin Thomas yet another victim of Tennessee’s offseason drama

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Drama alert

The LSU recruiting department took a huge hit last week when Tigers GM Austin Thomas reportedly left the program to accept a similar job at Tennessee, his alma mater. But according to reports from Sports Illustrated on Sunday, Thomas might just be another victim of Tennessee’s tumultuous offseason.

According to SI’s Bruce Feldman, Thomas and new Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt couldn’t agree on Thomas’ “title and responsibilities,” leading to the deal falling through. Of course, Thomas resigned from his job at LSU to take the Tennessee gig. So, if he were to return to LSU, he’d likely have to renegotiate a new contract, and potentially position.

If Thomas returns to LSU, that might be the best-case scenario. As a recruiter, Thomas was instrumental in bringing athletes such as JaCoby Stevens and Jacob Phillips to Baton Rouge in 2017 and played a major administrative role in organizing LSU’s recruiting plan for 2018.

That said, there’s no guarantee this happens. Ed Orgeron and Co. might pull out the stops to get Thomas back into the fold. But if they don’t, Thomas will certainly prove his value with whichever program snatches him up.

Did they fix it?

2017 was one of the worst kicking seasons in LSU history. Sure, Connor Culp saved the day with a couple of game-sealing kicks versus Auburn. But Culp and Jack Gonsoulin combined to go 15 of 24 on field goal attempts on the season. LSU’s made kicks percentage of 62.5 ranked 103rd in the nation and 12th in the SEC, ahead of only Vanderbilt and South Carolina.

The Tigers took a step to rectify this on Sunday, receiving a commitment from Division II graduate transfer Cole Tracy. Kicking for Assumption College in Massachusetts, Tracy went 67 of 67 on extra points and 27 of 29 on field goals. For his efforts, Tracy was awarded with the Fred Mitchell Award, handed out to the nation’s top top kicker across the FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and the NJCAA.

There’s no guarantee Tracy will come in and start for LSU next season. But his track record speaks for itself. And as an added bonus, Tracy won’t hurt against LSU’s scholarship limit in 2018. So, the Tigers have a full recruiting class ahead of itself and the nation’s best small-school kicker. Win-win.

Speaking of recruits

The early signing period is fast approaching, beginning this Wednesday and extending through Friday. As a result, there’s plenty of LSU recruiting news you may’ve missed. In case you did, here’s a quick recap of the weekend:

Your weekly NFLSU update

As is the case every Sunday, former LSU stars balled out in NFL action this week. Here’s a recap of some of the most notable performances:

  • Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White continued his rookie-of-the-year-caliber campaign Sunday versus the Miami Dolphins. White made 7 tackles, broke up 3 passes and came down with a game-sealing interception. As Pro Football Focus pointed out, Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler would’ve been more productive throwing the ball at the ground than throwing at White. Also, White has some sick dance moves.

  • Also in that game: Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 10 passes for 99 yards.
  • Making his triumphant return to Louisiana, New York Jets safety Jamal Adams had a productive day, making 8 tackles to lead the team. Adams’ Jets still lost to the New Orleans Saints.

LSU players react to NFL

One of the headline moments of NFL action Sunday was the controversial no-catch ruling to end the New England Patriots’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Replay review ruled Steelers tight end Jesse James didn’t catch a pass that logic seemed to dictate was an obvious catch.

No strangers to the rules, a few LSU football players, including running back Derrius Guice, provided some thoughts about the play.

In LSU hoops news

Football season is winding to an end, but basketball season is just hitting its stride. LSU’s men’s and women’s teams both played this weekend to differing results.

The men’s team lost a heartbreaker to Stephen F. Austin, dropping to 6-3 on the season and giving Will Wade his first loss at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU took a lead with 18 seconds left, but Stephen F. Austin moved the ball down the court and made a go-ahead layup with 6 seconds remaining. LSU positioned itself to make a layup as time expired, but the ball rattled out of the rim.

The women’s team defeated UL-Lafayette 60-45 Sunday. It was the Tigers’ fourth win in a row, improving the team’s record to 6-3 with two more games before SEC play begins.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Dec. 18 is National Answer the Telephone Like Buddy the Elf Day. In case you’re one of the six people on the planet who hasn’t seen Elf, allow me to explain.

In the 2003 film Elf, Will Ferrell plays a grown man who was raised in the North Pole believing he was one of Santa’s elves. But he wasn’t. He was Will Ferrell. So, he traveled to New York to meet his real family. And upon meeting his father, zaniness ensued.

There’s a scene in the film where Buddy answers the phone and says, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” That’s what you’re supposed to do today, apparently. Except with your own name, not Buddy the Elf.

That’s the whole thing. If you get a phone call today, do that. I guess. If you don’t, that’s OK, too.

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