- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
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LSU will end up with three academic casualties in its 2012 signing class.
At least for now.
Coach Les Miles said Sunday that junior college transfer offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika will not qualify to join the team this August and instead will require one more semester of junior college work before he's eligible to join the Tigers. This came a day after freshman wide receiver Avery Johnson confirmed that he did not meet initial eligibility requirements and would attend a prep school for the fall semester.
Miles said that the goal for both is to get them to LSU in January, meaning they would be able to participate in spring practice.
"It's not optimal, but it's certainly not bad news," Miles said of the loss of Fanaika and Johnson. "It's survivable."
Their spots on the 105-man August roster will be taken by walk-ons who otherwise would have joined the team on the first day of school Aug. 20.
An August 'nick': The first player to be notably absent because of injury was wide receiver Paul Turner, who missed a second straight day due to injury.
"He's just a little nicked," said Miles, using one of his pet terms. "He'll be fine."
Defensive end Barkevious Mingo practiced again in a green, no-contact jersey. He's been in it every day during camp.
Come together: LSU came together for its first full-squad practice Sunday morning and will have its first full-pads practice Monday.
Nice RB play: Miles was impressed by the play of the running backs Sunday.
LSU is four deep with players who had significant carries last season. Hill, a true freshman, is not one of the four, but he makes the group even deeper.
"There's a guy who, if he loses a little bit of weight, can be real fast and real big," said Miles of Hill, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. "He just needs to trim up a little bit."
Time for Tahj: It's a given that returning starting middle linebacker Kevin Minter is a mainstay among the Tigers linebackers. Miles hinted that junior strong-side linebacker Tahj Jones may also be considered a safe bet for signicant playing time, probably as a starter.
"I think Tahj will play a lot of football," Miles said of the Sulphur, La., native, who came on late last season to finish with 27 tackles in mostly a reserve role.
Miles said Jones' is the perfect example of a player who improves through an ability to take in coaching.
"It's really simple and it's amazing how it works," Miles said. "You get a guy who sits in this [team meeting] room and he has real talent and ability. He sits there very quietly and he listens to the coaching staff and then he goes to the field and he tries it. I tell you, it's an amazing thing. He's a guy who takes coaching extremely well.
"He improves when he gets coached, then he shows it on the football field."
Miles isn't worried that Jones weighs in at a very light 205 pounds.
"He plays heavy," Miles said. "He plays fast."
9dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough