Tiger Bites Sept. 16: Inside Everything LSU

Come inside another edition of Tiger Bites: Inside Everything LSU with updates on new football offers, a hoops target and more on the Tigers defending the zone-read this weekend.

Four-star receiver impressed with LSU churning out NFL WRs

By: Billy Embody

2018 Armwood (Fla.) wide receiver Warren J. Thompson has had an LSU offer for a while now, but just didn't know it. 

"The coach was telling me to come up to the school for the game and I know the receiver coach was talking to me a while back. I wanted to know if they were going to offer me," Thompson said. "I checked with my coach at Armwood and found out I did. I didn't know that."

Lead player personnel analyst Brian Squeglia has been pushing for a visit.

"He's a cool dude. He really wants me to come up to LSU," Thompson said. "I'm trying to. It's tough trying to get up there, but I'm going to get up there this spring."

http://www.scout.com/player/204619-warren-j-thompson

Thompson wasn't sure if LSU was coming through with an offer or yet if he was going to take time to visit, but that was cleared up quickly once he talked to Coach Callahan at Armwood.

"I was wondering if they were going to offer me because I know their defense is the main part of their team, but there's been a lot of receivers like Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry that have come out of there that are some of the guys I look up to," Thompson said. "It's a big deal. Now they're in the NFL and I know that their program with Leonard Fournette is another example of them doing a good job with their players and everything like that."

Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, North Carolina and LSU are all standing out to the four-star receiver early on.

"Everybody kind of has an equal chance and opportunity."

Thompson picked up a Florida State offer after camping and the Noles watching two routes that Thompson ran. The No. 88 ranked player in the 2018 Scout 100 is high on all the Florida schools.

"Just growing up a Florida State fan is a great opportunity that a dream could come true. I would say that it's my dream school, but I want everyone to have an equal chance. With Miami, they're close to home and I like the way they play. For Florida, I like the pro-style offense, they spread the ball around, I love the atmosphere and all the coaches. They all text me."

Being sure-handed, going vertical and making plays after the catch are what Thompson loves doing the most. The No. 4 receiver in Florida will visit Florida this weekend.

LSU offers another IMG prospect

By: Billy Embody

2019 IMG Academy (Fla.) offensive guard Evan Neal is already one of the higher profile sophomores in the country and with LSU jumping in the mix with an offer this past week, he's truly arrived.

"We were in Shreveport and our O-line coach came up to me and he told me that I had an offer from LSU," Neal said. "Multiple players on our team got offered by LSU that same day so I didn't ask him too much about specifics."

The 6-7, 340-pound offensive guard was born in Louisiana and could return to play for his birth state's team down the line.

"I was born in Louisiana. I got a sister that still lives there. Les Miles is a great coach and LSU is a great football team," Neal said. "My dad went to Tulane and then they moved up to Louisiana after being in Florida. When I was two, we left."

http://www.scout.com/player/206351-evan-neal

Neal went through a personal loss the night before picking up the LSU offer and that means even more because of that.

"It means a lot. Because even though I grew up in Florida, Louisiana will always be a part of me because I was born there so that was a really big offer for me. It brightened up my day because I lost my grandfather the night before."

His family would love to see Neal head back to LSU and the state where his older sister still lives.

"My sister that lives in Louisiana would go nuts. My brother was getting recruited there. Some things didn't fall in the right place with him, but it would mean a lot if I were to go to LSU."

Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State and others have also jumped in the mix with offers. South Carolina, Alabama, Southern Miss and Clemson got visits this summer for camps.

"All the schools that have offered me (I will consider). They're all in it. I like all the schools. I like the SEC, but I also like a lot of the ACC," Neal said.

At IMG, Neal's days are packed with school and football, but he says that'll only make him a better player.

"It's a grind. It'll definitely prepare me for the next level. All the players that have played at top Division I colleges, it's not really a different for the schedule and how things are done. I think it'll be a pretty smooth transition.

Neal caught the eye of plenty of schools following his freshman year, but his sophomore year and more exposure are doing his recruiting well.

"I developed a lot since last year, coming in as a freshman. I got a little older, got a little stronger and physically stronger in the game. I got a lot better."

LSU going to have to be ready for young, dual-threat quarterback
Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

By: Billy Embody

Last time Mississippi State came into Tiger Stadium, the Bulldogs walked away with a win and LSU players aren't prepared to let that happen again.

"We don't like to lose at home. We don't like to lose ever. We're just trying to get that game out of our minds and get a win," defensive back Tre'Davious White said. 

Kendell Beckwith gave praise to Dak Prescott for what the former Mississippi State quarterback could do, but it wasn't pretty for LSU to give up as many yards as the Tigers did.

"That was a rough night. That was a bad night."

Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is getting his second start after serving as the primary backup to Prescott last year. Fitzgerald is another big, dual-threat quarterback for Mississippi State and White says the ability he has to run and use the run-pass option will mean the LSU defense has to be as disciplined as ever. 

"We just have to keep our eyes on our man. We got a guy that can make plays with his feet. We have to stick with our man so he can't find them wide-open," White said. "We can't break to the quarterback. Not at all. If we stay on our man, he's going to run or give it to the back."

Fitzgerald is still developing as a passer and stared down a couple receivers against South Carolina in the Bulldogs' win, but his ability to run the option is what LSU is most concerned with.

The redshirt sophomore quarterback for Mississippi State showed burst through the hole in the zone-read, a staple in Dan Mullen's offense, and also picked apart South Carolina at times off the run-pass option.

"Every play we have keys. Your eyes can't be bad. That's something we've been working on since the spring. Gotta have great eyes. That one time you get out of your gap, you don't have great eyes," Beckwith said. "As long as everyone is doing our job, we'll be good."

Against Jacksonville State, Beckwith lost gap contain and Eli Jenkins went up the middle for a big gain. In the film room, Beckwith knew his moment was coming.

"They got me. I can't let that happen again. Like I said, bad eyes. Just starting down something else."

The Gamecocks pushed the pace offensively against LSU when they could. White says that the similarities between the two opponents are there, but this is SEC play and LSU will have to rise to the occasion.

"Any opportunity to go against a fast offense, you've just got to be in shape," White said. "Their quarterback was quite similar to the guy we're going to face Saturday, but not as big. We're going to have our work cut out for us."

With the young quarterback the Tigers are facing, White does have big expectations.

"I got a pick-six in the future I've already told the guys. I've also got a fumble in the future. Those are my goals for this week."

White is 2-for-2 in games this season with a touchdown. The Tigers sure could use another on Saturday night.

2017 linebacker talks LSU interest
Chad Simmons

By: Billy Embody

2017 three-star Madison (Ala.) James Clemens linebacker Monty Rice has been hearing from LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda consistently and is planning to get over for a visit when he's able to.

"He's a nice guy and I really like LSU. He told me they really need me and Les Miles does too. It's awesome. It shows they want me."

Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia, FSU, LSU and Tennessee are all on Rice to visit and are near the top of his list. LSU sees Rice at the Mike and is looking to take a few more linebackers in its 2017 class.

"I can keep up with the faster backs and receivers. I can tackle pretty good in space as well," Rice said. "They kind of see me at the Mike linebacker. It's kind of like my defense and the defense has played good. It's just like you can read plays and get off blocks to make plays."

For Rice's Clemens team, like LSU, it's been a struggle offensively, but Rice has really improved his ability to affect a ball game.

"We've struggled on offense. We've had three turnovers in two games. Defensively, it's going good. I'm just getting off blocks and reading while getting my hands up to block balls. I focused on hand quickness drills this summer."

Rice is visiting Ole Miss this Saturday for the Alabama game. Later this year, Rice will be at Auburn more, Georgia-Tennessee and at Florida State-Clemson. He doesn't have a date to visit an LSU game. The 6-1, 230-pound linebacker doesn't have a timeline.

2018 point guard high on LSU, has an early leader
Billy Embody - SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2018 Memphis (Tenn.) East point guard T.J. Moss had a big summer as he changed from playing out on the wing to more of a point guard for the Memphis Magic and that helped him and his team get better.

"I had a really good summer on the court and recruiting wise. I played with the Memphis Magic with one of my close friends Jaylon Crutcher," Moss said. "We challenged each other and fed off each other a lot. Everybody on the team got good looks from schools."

Kansas and LSU have been sending the most mail and Terrance Moss, Sr. says that his son, T.J. is getting the most love from schools like Iowa State, who is standing out the most right now along with a few others.

"The coaches always call and be at a lot of games. Iowa State is definitely on him. Marquette is on him. Alabama is on him. Tulsa, as of recently, and there's still a lot of interest from UConn," Moss, Sr. said.

Memphis, Ole Miss, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, TCU, SMU, UMass, LSU, Tulsa, UT-Martin, LSU have offered. For the LSU Tigers, having Ben Simmons on their resume is impressive.

"They're great. They're mainly a football school, but him going there really opened up their basketball recruiting," T.J. said. 

Moss, Sr. said that T.J. could go to LSU and play in a system that really helps the player develop his all-around game. Having Robert Kirby lead Moss' recruitment will only help the Tigers as well.

"Letting him go and play freely and how they can produce a No. 1 pick. We're very familiar with him (Kirby) and they want to keep the kids coming in and letting them know that they will treat them good based on how treated Ben," Moss, Sr. said. "One of the best in the business. Got a lot of experience. Definitely developed a relationship with him over the last few years. That's huge."

After spending a lot of time at the wing, it might have been a tough transition to point guard, but Moss has fit in pretty well.

"I got to play more point guard than wing this summer. Being able to help everybody get their game up and not just mine," the 6-4, 178-pound guard said. "I ran the point a lot and just different because I can see over the defense better and find the open man a little bit better."

T.J. and his dad will take visits in the spring. His dad says while T.J. needs to be more vocal as a point guard, he's certainly breaking out of the box of being just a shooter. 

"Coach put the ball in his hands to make plays. He did that for himself and for others. Penny took it in his hands this summer and I think he led the city in assists. That's huge for him to show that he's got that game and to not put him in a box just as a shooter. Not that being a shooter is bad, but he can go out and make plays for others."

2019 center picks up LSU offer
Scout.com

By: Billy Embody

Early 2019 four-star Rock Hill (S.C.) York Prep center D.J. Burns grabbed an LSU offer this past week and his recruitment has begun to blow up. 

"My coach told me yesterday. They're just talking to my coach right now." 

For Burns, without talking to LSU's coaches, it's about LSU's impressive list of players having come out of there for now.

"I know that Shaq went there and Ben Simmons went there, the No. 1 pick in the draft," the 6-9, 240-pound center said. "That's pretty big. It shows you can develop."

This summer, Burns really took it upon himself to round out his game and extend his range.

"Playing in the post and being able to work down there. I'm working on my conditioning and extending my range," Burns said. "I'm best with my back to the basket and playing in the post though."

Winthrop, Davidson, Tulane, Western Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and North Florida have all offered. Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Winthrop, Davidson, North Florida and Alabama all got visits from the big man this summer.

It's early, but Burns knows what he's looking for in a college as of now.

"People that can develop my post game and help me take it further out there than just the post."

2019 wide receiver talks relationship with LSU
Billy Embody - SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2019 Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab wide receiver Christian Harris couldn't do much this summer with his hand injured, but did make the short trip over to LSU to hang out with the staff and is building a good relationship with Les Miles and Cam Cameron.

"They (Miles and Cameron) says he was glad to see me there and is looking forward to watching me and my teammates this season," Harris said.

It's been a childhood dream for the Baton Rouge native to play for LSU.

"I've always wanted to go to LSU. I go to a lot of the games and love the fans. It's just loud and I really want to play there," the 6-1, 220-pound receiver said.

Harris plays a few different positions for University Lab, but he's mainly focused on receiver for the next level.

"They've got me at running back just this week, at receiver and defensive back too. I've got to improve on being aggressive at receiver and not letting the defensive backs get their hands on me."

Harris does need to improve on his physicality, but when the ball's in his hands, he's explosive and going to be a big target as a tight end if he continues to grow and his frame fills out.

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