Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between the readers and LSU team and recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman.
In this edition, we touch on some of the best Tigers of all time, how LSU’s wide receiver board looks after Stephen Guidry’s de-commitment and whether “Survivor: Game Changes” has been a bit disappointing thus far.
To submit a question for Spiegelman, send a message to @SamSpiegs on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know there are many LSU greats. The list goes on and on, but if you had to name a favorite, who would it be? (@RyanMicklin61)
Great point, Ryan. There are a ton of LSU football alumni, so this is not an easy decision.
The two that come to mind are Leonard Fournette and Tyrann Mathieu. For one, both are from New Orleans — like yours truly — and St. Augustine (La.) High School.
Fournette was the nation’s No. 1 recruit coming out of high school in 2013-14. Watching him play on Friday nights was a unique opportunity. You always got the feeling that you were seeing something special.
The thing about Fournette is that he’s an even better person off the field. Dealing with him in interviews, hearing how grounded he is and how much he cares for his family, most notably his children, is a rare thing.
Fournette had a record-setting career at LSU, though the fact the Tigers underachieved in 2014-16 and he was injured in his final season makes you wonder if he could have gone out in even more unchartered territory. His achievements are notable and nobody questioned the talent that No. 7 had, but because he was such a special player it’s a bit disappointing that the team couldn’t perform better.
Unlike Fournette, Mathieu was not the 5-star athlete or highly sought-after recruit. LSU was his biggest offer among a pool that included Tulane, Southern Miss and other in-state schools. Only Frank Wilson and Tennessee took a swing with an offer back then.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder from New Orleans turned out to be a dynamic player in the Tigers secondary. He gave opposing quarterbacks nightmares and lived up to his billing as “The Honey Badger” with game-changing plays each and every Saturday.
Mathieu’s dismissal from LSU was a disappointing end to his college career, but he rebounded with the Arizona Cardinals. What I admire most about Mathieu is that he inspires so many recruits in New Orleans and across Louisiana today because he persevered despite not having elite size and measurables. He proved that heart and football instinct can be more significant than height, weight and 40 times.
How does Stephen Guidry’s de-commitment affect LSU’s WR search for 2018? (phil5060)
Phil, let’s get one thing straight here: Once Guidry did not sign his letter of intent with LSU on National Signing Day 2017, the coaching staff did not continue to recruit him.
Sources close to the situation insist there was disappointment that Guidry, a junior college recruit, twice failed to receive academic qualification. Remember that Guidry had his scholarship pulled in October for poor grades, and then was re-offered in December.
In other words, LSU was not counting on Guidry being a part of its 2018 recruiting class. That’s why five is the ideal haul of wide receivers in the next recruiting cycle.
The Tigers hold a commitment from 3-star wideout Jaray Jenkins, who is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and has the versatility to play outside or in the slot. The coaching staff is courting a number of receivers in-state and across the country.
Here’s how the receiver board is shaping up.
- Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star (Bossier City, La.)
- Joshua Moore, 4-star (Bradenton, Fla.)
- Jalen Preston, 4-star (Manvel, Texas)
- Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star (New Orleans)
- Miles Battle, 4-star (Houston)
- Kenan Jones, 4-star (Berwick, La.)
- Brennan Eagles, 4-star (Houston)
- Sam Pinckney, 3-star (Greenwood, S.C.)
- Malik Heath, 4-star (Jackson, Miss.) *Mississippi State commit
- Devonta Jason, 4-star (New Orleans) *Kansas commit
- Al’vonte Woodard, 4-star (Houston)
- Tommy Bush, 4-star (Schertz, Texas)
- Lawrence Keys III, 4-star (New Orleans)
- Jammal Houston, 3-star (Marrero, La.)
- Jaylen Waddle, 4-star (Bellaire, Texas)
- Anthony Schwartz, 3-star (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Yes, there are a lot of names to keep track of. With Jenkins locked in, expect LSU to take one more slot receiver that can be used inside and on jet sweeps. That leaves three slots available to wide receivers that can play on the outside and be physical, jump ball-type players.
Who are the top running backs in Louisiana for 2019? (@JrBrunious)
The two that have emerged as the best in the state are John Emery and Tyrion Davis.
Emery split time in the Destrehan (La.) High School backfield a year ago but saw his role increase as the season went on. Come the playoffs, this 4-star sophomore was a three-down player for the Wildcats.
Emery has the ideal combination of finesse and power, with the ability to run over and around defenders. His highlight reel is impressive — particularly for a sophomore back. More time in the weight room will only add to Emery’s ceiling as a three-down workhorse that can excel in both the run and passing games.
He’s easily the top running back in Louisiana for 2019 and he is already high on LSU, for what it’s worth.
Right behind Emery is Davis, who became a household name last December during Southern Lab (La.) High School’s march to the Superdome. Davis was the young starter in the backfield that had many fans asking, “Who’s that?” during the state championship route against Ascension Catholic.
At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Davis is a 4-star prospect and should see his recruitment spike when spring football begins or into the fall. He’s a solid downhill runner with impressive speed to get to the edge. Expect LSU running backs coach Tommie Robinson to evaluate him closer at some point.
Have you been disappointed in how this season of ‘Survivor’ has gone so far, given how the best players have all been voted out? (@Kconnorriley)
Connor … you know how to cut me to the core.
To be perfectly fair here, I have enjoyed this season of “Survivor.” Jeff Probst is, well, Jeff Probst. The twists and turns are a little much, but they have been entertaining. Exile Island was interesting, to say the least, and the constant mixing and matching of tribes has kept the game fluid.
I was absolutely devastated to see Tony leave the game so early. He brings an uncanny level of humor and strategy to the game, so to be voted off so early on was a bit of a gash.
I was none too pleased to see Caleb and Malcolm go either, and then unanimous favorite Sandra left us last week, which certainly was dramatic and took me by surprise. I was not rooting for Sandra after she engineered the ousting of Tony, but I did respect her game and the way she dominated so early. She was the obvious pick for a three-peat.
While I’m disappointed not to be able to root for Tony’s antics to work or good guys such as Malcolm or a proven winner like Sandra, there are still quality players left in the game that have me interested. I’ve grown to root for Brad Culpepper and challenge wiz Ozzy. As I mentioned in the season preview, I’m still a huge fan of Zeke despite his lack of experience.
There are also frustrating players such as Tai and Debbie that irk me time to time, but that’s also what makes the show great. While the field has been watered down rather quickly in the first month or so, this season has the potential to be a good one. We shall see, though.
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