It's been something of a slow week, at least in regards to LSU sports - don't you hate that first week back at work after a long layoff? Always nuts. So here are a few random thoughts/items from spring practice and some of the other things going on around campus.
- It's not getting a lot of play, but it looks like LSU may wind up with another big-time addition to the 2011 recruiting class: four-star quarterback Jerrard Randall.
- It's kind of amazing to snag the 10th-ranked passer of the class like this, but there's some baggage. Randall was originally committed to Oregon, but ties were severed at some point due some grade issues. He re-opened his commitment and looked at Georgia Tech and Miami, before setting his sights here. As you can see in the video, he's a heck of an athlete with a nice arm, but in addition to the grade concerns, he was suspended last November during the Florida Class 2B playoffs - and there are even reports that he attended several different schools in his high school career. It's not exactly the resume you want from your QB, but rumors are his visit to campus this week was as much about proving to LSU that he's worth the gamble. Obviously, you hate to take on another wayward potential Perriloux, but given the state of the quarterback position in recent years, I'd say Randall is worth a look. Provided the appropriate due diligence is done and you avoid letting another gap form in the quarterback recruiting.
- I can't help but think of Carnell Stewart when the news broke about Chris Davenport's move to the offensive line. It's easy to forget how much of a head-liner Stewart was in the 2003 recruiting class (No. 3 defensive tackle on Rivals, No. 6 on Scout). And that's saying something when you consider that class featured four future No. 1 picks, plus another eight starters. The difference between then and now is, offensive line recruiting had tailed off so much from that there was room for Stewart to crack the starting lineup. Davenport likely won't have that luxury. If he can't show his worth between now and fall camp, he may be looking to transfer.
- I talked about all of the Tigers' opulence in the defensive backfield before practice started, and competition at safety has been really fun to follow. Brandon Taylor's spot is about as iron-clad as anybody's and with Kelvin Sheppard gone he's going to be one of the most important defenders on the team. Craig Loston has reportedly taken over the other spot, with Eric Reid working as a utility backup for both spots -- which is great to hear from that level of athlete. Another interesting development has been the reports that redshirt freshman Sam Gibson has cracked the two-deep at free safety. Gibson was an incredibly successful high school quarterback, and was described to me by an Alabama friend (yes, I do have them) as "the type of kid you just want on your team." Problem was, most teams just weren't sure at which position. Personally, I've always been a fan of converted quarterbacks at safety.
- As one scours the interwebz it becomes more and more apparent that there's a chunk of this fanbase that has taken the "Zach Mettenberger as savior" meme to the extreme of basically calling for his ascension (and the benching of Jordan Jefferson) immediately. To which I pose the following question: what if Jefferson turns in a strong spring game? After last year's game the knives really came out for him. So if he out-performs Mett, what's that mean folks?
- On to baseball, where the season's hitting an early turning point. Last year, the team had been moving along, and went into that 4-11 tailspin after getting swept at Ole Miss. The team flaws just seemed magnified by a total lack of confidence. After a rough sweep by Florida (and losing to pretty damn strong No. 1 team is nothing to be ashamed of), followed by that ULL loss, it'd be great to break up any potential snowball and gain some confidence against a 9-12 Georgia squad. Especially at the plate (guh!).