Devonta Smith (Photo by Chad Simmons)

Tiger Blitz Mailbag: November 30 LSU football, basketball and recruiting questions answered

Tiger Blitz publisher Billy Embody answers all things LSU Tigers for members on football, basketball and recruiting.

Football Team

daShu: What player(s) if any, do you think may not have their scholarship renewed?

This is always a tough question because you never know if they will even need to not renew a scholarship. Two easy ones to look at are Jazz Ferguson with the depth at wide receiver and Travonte Valentine if he's deemed too much trouble for the Tigers.

cfmalloy: What is happening with Jazz Ferguson? (Why was he in trouble near the end of the season?)

Ferguson tweeted last week about some sort of comeback so he appears to be back from the suspension that he was put on this season. No details were revealed at the time, but it took him a while to get back in the good graces of the staff.

cfmalloy: Same question with Travonte Valentine - will he return?

I think so. He's a big-bodied guy that can certainly eat space. The question is does he want to? Is college for him? Seriously, he's been a bit of a headache at times and he might recognize that and try to get to the next level.

cfmalloy: Will Christian LaCouture return on a medical redshirt?

He doesn't have to return as a redshirt senior if he'd like to. LaCouture never redshirted during his time at LSU. Will he return and risk injury again? I think he has to.

cfmalloy: Any other unexpected returns, like discretionary medical redshirt(s) or anticipated early NFL departures that decide to return instead for SR year? Dupre (rough start year), Fournette (injury laden year, something to prove), Godcheaux (up his draft round stock?), Corey Thompson (medical redshirt application status for 6th year), Jamal Adams (not likely here, I know)?

Not really. Malachi Dupre will likely return to the Tigers unless he gets a surprise solid grade from the NFL Draft reviews, but I don't think he will. Corey Thompson will return next year for another season as the team applied for a medical redshirt and expect him to be approved since he missed the whole year.

cfmalloy: Do you think Brandon Harris or any other quarterbacks leave?

I think Harris leaves. Other than that, I don't think so.

cfmalloy: Could Brandon Harris or Lowell Narcisse change positions?

Lowell, maybe. Harris, no. Narcisse is young enough where he could become a project player as an athlete, but with Harris, it wouldn't even be worth it for him to do so. He's way too far down the quarterback road.

Football Recruiting

Olytiger: Noticing any assistants NOT making in home visits? Any smoke there??

Nope! Everyone for the most part is making their rounds. Even Dennis Johnson has been out seeing players, the grad assistant that was elevated to outside linebackers coach. The staff has been hitting the trail in full force. 

daShu: Should I dial down my optimism with regards to signing Wilson, Levi Jones, Akers and D. Smith?

To me, I wouldn't. I like LSU's chances with all of those players right now. Here's where I'd rank them in terms of how optimistic you should be: 1. Levi Jones, 2. Cam Akers, 3. Marvin Wilson, 4. Devonta Smith. All four have real chances to be Tigers. 

cfmalloy: What really happened with Christopher Allen ? (Some Alabama fans are saying he really was not impressed with the Oeaux hire.)

When I texted Allen for a reaction to the Orgeron hire, he said he had no reaction. Now at the time, I took it as Chris being Chris because he really keeps an even head about recruiting and never tips his hand. Didn't realize he was just hours away from committing to Alabama. I don't think he wasn't impressed with it, but Allen has always been a guy who looks at bigger picture. Allen wants to get to the league and even with LSU about to have Kendell Beckwith and potentially Duke Riley drafted, Alabama has the edge there right now with Saban at the helm and Tosh Lupoi at linebackers coach. That's just kind of where it is. He's okay with going through the process to get there, even if it means sitting. He felt more comfortable there. There's still a chance LSU could flip him in the end.

cfmalloy: What's it looking like with Dylan Moses? (He recently made a visit right before Thanksgiving - what was that all about, really?)

I think that was about him seeing his cousin Corey Raymond and catching practice at LSU more than anything. He was in town on Thanksgiving break and stopped by. Moses remains very vocal on Twitter about heading to Alabama and talked with Allen about rooming together in Tuscaloosa. LSU really has about a week and a half to get the flip for Moses because of the dead period. Unless he's just sitting around and gets the idea to flip back to LSU during the dead period, I don't see him in the class.

cfmalloy: Who are the big guys in the LB class that LSU stands a chance to close on? (The guys who can play the Mike/Mack?)

This was interesting with Will Ignont and Jacob Phillips getting visits from Dave Aranda and Austin Thomas respectively in the last couple days. Those are two to watch. If they're taking in-home visits, there's always a chance at this point. Levi Jones is another that they feel can play inside or outside linebacker as well. Shanon Reid is the one that right now seems to have the most momentum behind his name with an official visit coming this weekend. The early enrollee would have a good chance of coming in and pushing right away to start if LSU can fight off Michigan and Tennessee among others for his signature.

cfmalloy: Don't you think LSU takes Mathis if he wants in, even if they ultimately land Marvin Wilson too?

I think so and in that case, maybe a guy like Justin Thomas is told that it'll be very crowded or Isaiah Buggs doesn't get a spot so that LSU can hold out for Wilson. That's me spitballing.

cfmalloy: What are LSU's chances with Nico Collins? (Some evaluators consider him a top 3 WR; he's tall and large bodied and fast, and he's from Alabama looking to get out of Alabama, and LSU did have an OV set up with him. What effect would he have on Smith, Holloman or Netherly?)

If LSU lands him sooner, rather than later, I think it takes Holloman's spot, but Holloman is an early kid anyway and I think LSU still has a bit of ground to make up to land him even with me including him in my class predictions. As far as Smith, I don't think it'd have a huge affect on him.

cfmalloy: Who is/are the backup plan/s to Cam Akers?

I believe LSU is all in on Akers and would be fine taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire as the lone back in the class instead. If they miss on Akers, maybe they can take another offensive tackle or defensive lineman or defensive back.

cfmalloy: Has Isaiah Wilson set his OV to LSU yet?


cfmalloy: Why does LSU not also pursue other top LTs, like Trey Smith (who, if Isaiah Wilson and/or other(s) commit to Alabama instead of LSU, would be crowded out at Alabama, and LSU would be in a position to pick him up, baring a Tennessee commitment, but Tennessee is crowded overall (how many do they take?)

LSU could enter the mix, but they're very far off the pace at this point for Trey Smith and he's a high-priority at Ohio State/Tennessee/Clemson among others. No idea on Tennessee's class size at tackle.

cfmalloy: How many does LSU take?

I think 28 is a safe bet.

cfmalloy: How does Alabama get to take 29 this year, and why wouldn't LSU do the same (can/could they not?), loading up on LBs and extra LTs to fill those glaring holes?

No idea how. They just do. That's how their numbers are working out. Each school has general numbers at positions they like to keep to so you're not in situations where you have to oversign at a position every year. That's why you don't load up on certain positions even if they need to be addressed. 

Basketball Team and Recruiting

daShu: Mays has really impressed me, will he be the starting PG this season?

Right now, he's coming off the bench again for LSU, but I think he can get there. Think it was a lot to start him right away. With 11 assists on Tuesday and him ending up playing 23 minutes compared to Patterson's 17, you're still going to see plenty of him.

daShu: What's the latest with WKU commit, Mitchell Robinson? Any chance there?

LSU has a chance, but it's early with that whole deal. He's still got to get out of his LOI. 

CoachDerek: Is it time to fire Johnny Jones?

Not yet. LSU should get through December relatively clean, but if not, the heat certainly gets turned up. 

CoachDerek: Is it time to fire Nikki Caldwell-Fargas?

Can't comment. Haven't seen the women play once.

CoachDerek: Is there any hope for basketball at LSU?

Yes, you're in the state that produces some of the best NBA talent around. Just gotta be able to recruit it and develop it.

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