LSU Mailbag: Lowell Narcisse’s health, new hires and instant impact freshmen
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 Lowell Narcisse’s health,
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How is Narcisse doing? Will he be ready for spring practice? (@HectorS85466375)
Lowell Narcisse is already enrolled at LSU and is nearing full strength. That’s the good news.
Narcisse tore his left ACL on Aug. 25 during St. James (La.) High’s jamboree. The injury occurred in the final minutes.
Narcisse remained ahead of schedule throughout the fall and into the winter, which bodes well for his chances of participating in spring practice this time next month. He was able to jog and put pressure on his knee as early as November. More importantly, it’s crucial to note he was cautious with the injury in order not to suffer a setback heading into his time at LSU.
His 6-month recovery timetable puts Narcisse on schedule to be cleared at the end of February. Assuming Narcisse is at full strength, he should be able to take part of LSU’s spring football practices, which begin March 11.
There is reason to believe the coaching staff and medical personnel will ease Narcisse back into action. However, Narcisse should be able to give it a full go soon into spring practices. That means Narcisse should be running plays with the offense and participating in position drills with offensive coordinator Matt Canada right away.
The important thing is that Narcisse does not suffer a setback at this stage in his recovery. He returned to the field quickly after his first ACL tear in May 2015. All things considered, he is on pace to do the same with his latest injury. His long-term health, however, remains paramount.
Out of all the quarterbacks, who has the best chance to take the starting spot from Etling? (@iamnotjerome)
My pick is Lindsey Scott Jr.
Despite concerns about his height (5-foot-11), this former 3-star dual-threat prospect should be considered the biggest challenge to Danny Etling this spring.
Scott is not only among LSU’s hardest-working quarterbacks, but tops in tenacity on the roster. He is exceptionally smart, which doesn’t hurt his case and could factor in how quickly he absorbs Canada’s offense.
It’s also important to note that Canada is not particular to pro-style or dual-threat quarterbacks; it’s about which player under center gives the Tigers the best chance to win football games. Scott’s arm strength, athleticism, ability to move in the pocket and his ability to create plays with his legs give LSU an added weapon on offense. That is significant with a rather thin backfield behind Derrius Guice.
LSU’s quarterback competition will come down to whether Canada and coach Ed Orgeron feel more comfortable with experienced starter Etling leading the way or gambling on a player with a higher ceiling with Scott. Even if it’s Etling, Canada could insert Scott into games for certain packages. And if Etling struggles out of the gate, I don’t believe it would take much before Scott gets an opportunity.
Etling is the safer choice because of the 2016 season. Scott, although unproven, would give an edge to the offense.
What kind of effect do you think the new hires for LSU will have on recruiting the state of Louisiana? (@phil5060)
Well, of the 2 new assistants on LSU’s coaching staff, the addition of Mickey Joseph is the one to focus on here, Phil.
As I detailed late last week, new running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tommie Robinson will handle Texas and Alabama area recruiting. Robinson will also give LSU a presence on the Pacific Coast and continue one in Florida.
Joseph will replace Jabbar Juluke as LSU’s New Orleans area recruiter. He also will spend a good chunk of his time in the River Parishes and Tangipahoa Parish, which produced significant talent in recent decades. Think about it … all-time greats LaRon Landry, Alfred Blue and Jarvis Landry hail from the River Parishes. In recent years, Tangipahoa Parish yielded Shyheim Carter and DeVonta Smith, and there are more elite prospects on the way.
Joseph will recruit those areas and try to build off what Frank Wilson did for years. That won’t be easy, but it’s a must. In 2019, Amite (La.) High boasts two 5-star recruits: WR Devonta Lee and DL Ishmael Sopsher. Destrehan (La.) has a 2019 RB John Emery, who entering his junior year holds offers from LSU, UGA and Arkansas.
Like Juluke and Wilson, Joseph’s greatest trait will be ability to relate to the recruits in New Orleans and the neighboring areas. With all of the drama swirling about LSU’s ability to recruit Northern Louisiana, the Crescent City remained a consistent pipeline to Baton Rouge the past 10-plus years. Ensuring that it continues is of the utmost importance.
In addition to Joseph, expect Robinson to be a part of several of these prospects’ recruitment. That includes the aforementioned tailback, Emery, but also 2018 running backs such as Tony St. Julien and AJ Carter. There isn’t a wealth of talent in the state at that position, so LSU must ensure it can keep the best in-state.
Which prospects from the 2017 signing class do you think can make an immediate impact? (@M0NTESAN0)
I went pretty in-depth on this same topic a bit earlier this month, but let me give it another go.
Austin Deculus will have a chance to compete for a spot on the LSU offensive line, which is losing 2 interior players. Will Clapp should shift over to center, giving Deculus an opportunity to make a play for the newly vacant left guard spot. Of course, the Under Armour All-American is being groomed to take over for K.J. Malone at left tackle, but guard will provide him with a chance for early playing time. Because he’s an early enrollee, Deculus has been in the weight room and will learn the offense this spring. Now, it’s a matter of beating out other qualified hopefuls. Among them: Maea Teuhema, a potential guard or tackle; Garrett Brumfield and Donavaughn Campbell.
LSU has only so many linebackers on scholarship heading into the spring. Devin White has likely secured his starting spot, leaving Donnie Alexander (expected to miss spring practice), Devin Voorhies and former walk-on Layton Garnett to round out the depth chart.
That opens the door for 2017 signee Jacob Phillips to make an instant splash during fall camp. At 6-foot-3.5, 230 pounds, Phillips showed he was SEC-ready with his performance at the U.S. Army All-American Game. He trains rigorously and is a student of the game, and if he learns Dave Aranda’s scheme quickly, he could easily earn a starting job beside White heading into the BYU game.
Additionally, the Tigers are losing 2016 starting safeties fJamal Adams and Rickey Jefferson, leaving only John Battle returning with starting experience. That opens the door for playing time for enrollees JaCoby Stevens and Grant Delpit. These highly touted safeties will both vie for playing time, and both All-Americans are capable of getting some.
This will boil down to whether defensive backs coach Corey Raymond will feel comfortable handing the reins of his secondary to freshmen. He rarely does, which should give Battle the inside track, leaving Stevens and Delpit to compete in spring practice into fall camp. I’d count on at least one of them to secure the job.
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