LSU Tigers: Brad Wing

Recruiting rewind: LSU All-Americans

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
7:00
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU fans are drooling over uncommitted targets such as Malachi Dupre and Adoree' Jackson, which is understandable since four- and five-star prospects are statistically more likely to become productive college players.

But signing a talented player is only the first step. A coaching staff must also excel at developing talent, which LSU frequently accomplishes since every All-American was not a coveted recruit.

Let's look at how LSU's recent Associated Press All-Americans graded out as high school prospects:

[+] EnlargeOdell Beckham
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsFormer LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. has the type of speed the Jets are seeking in wide receiver prospects.
Odell Beckham
2013 third-team All-American (all-purpose)
ESPN rankings: 78 grade (three stars), No. 62 athlete in 2011
Evaluation highlights: “Beckham is an exciting athlete that displays some versatility and range as an offensive weapon. He is undersized, but very explosive and shifty with good change of direction and excellent overall instincts with the ball in his hands. ... We feel he would need to be a utility player and certainly has a chance to be an excellent return man.”
In hindsight: Not a bad call. ESPN's analyst pegged Beckham's athleticism correctly, as he developed into one of the nation's most electric receivers and return men. He turned out better than a three-star grade, however.

Kevin Minter
2012 second-team All-American (linebacker)
ESPN rankings: 81 grade (four stars), No. 133 overall prospect in 2009, No. 11 outside linebacker
Evaluation highlights: “Minter has a great blend of size, speed and toughness. He isn't tall, but has a thick build and carries his weight very well. He's physically ready to make the jump to the next level. ... He should give his future defensive coordinator the flexibility to play him in the middle or on the strong side.”
In hindsight: Good call. Minter had an outstanding junior season, ranking third in the SEC with 130 tackles and fourth with 15 tackles for a loss before jumping to the NFL.

Eric Reid
2012 second-team All-American (safety)
ESPN rankings: 81 grade (four stars), No. 71 overall prospect in 2010, No. 7 safety
Evaluation highlights: “Reid is a very gifted player that can really excel at the free safety position. He is an excellent field general that plays with confidence and possesses the necessary skills to run the secondary both physically and mentally.”
In hindsight: Good call. Not only was Reid good enough to rank among the SEC's tackles leaders in 2012, he became a 2013 first-round NFL draft pick and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie for the San Francisco 49ers.

Brad Wing
2011 first-team All-American (punter)
ESPN rankings: 74 grade (two stars), No. 24 kicker in 2010
Evaluation highlights: “His long frame and good leg speed allow him to drive the ball 50-60 yards down field. His ability to hang the football is also impressive, with game punts in the 4.8 sec. range. ... Brad has some very good tools to build on. He should become an excellent college punter.”
In hindsight: Not quite. Wing was second in the SEC and 11th nationally in punting for the 2011 conference champs. He encountered problems later in his career, but they were not related to his football talent, which proved better than his prospect ranking.

Tyrann Mathieu
2011 first-team All-American (cornerback)
ESPN rankings: 77 grade (three stars), No. 36 cornerback in 2010
Evaluation highlights: “Mathieu is an underrated defensive back with a good blend of range, athleticism and closing burst. ... Looks and plays taller on film than his listed measurables. ... Just when you think he is a bit-straight lined he will impress you with his lateral fluidity as a return specialist; overall just a very good, instinctive athlete who should only get better as he receives full-time positional coaching.”
In hindsight: Not quite. Mathieu was probably difficult to grade because of the freewheeling style that turned him into a college star. But he made possibly the biggest impact of any individual player on LSU's outstanding 2011 club, generating key takeaways and highlight-reel kick returns all season.

[+] EnlargeMorris Claiborne
AP Photo/James D SmithOur analysts correctly predicted a change to CB in Morris Claiborne's future. He starred at LSU in his new role and became the Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick in 2012.
Morris Claiborne
2011 first-team All-American (cornerback)
ESPN rankings: 80 grade (four stars), No. 26 athlete in 2009
Evaluation highlights: “Claiborne is a bit of a secret in recruiting circles, but his talent level won't be kept at bay for long once he enters the college ranks. ... He works out of the QB position in high school and sees some duty on defense, as well. We feel he'll be a wide receiver, but in time cornerback could be where he finds the most success. ... Overall, we would be very surprised if this kid didn't have a very productive college career.”
In hindsight: Good call. ESPN's analyst was on the right track in projecting Claiborne's eventual college path, which is difficult when a prospect plays multiple roles in high school. He was possibly the nation's top cover corner by his junior season before becoming the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Will Blackwell
2011 second-team All-American (offensive guard)
ESPN rankings: 79 grade (three/four stars), No. 15 defensive tackle in 2007
Evaluation highlights: “Blackwell is an athletic big man who displays good football intelligence. He has a good get off and does a good job of shooting his hands. He can create separation and read blocks. He is physical at the point of attack and displays the ability to hold his ground. ... As he physically grows, he has the tools to be a big, quick, disruptive presence in the trenches.”
In hindsight: Wrong position. The evaluation graded him as a defensive player, but some of the tools that made Blackwell a valuable offensive lineman emerge in the analyst's comments.

Sam Montgomery
2011-12 third-team All-American (defensive end)
ESPN rankings: 84 grade (four stars), No. 26 overall prospect in 2009, No. 2 defensive end
Evaluation highlights: “Montgomery got a late start in the game, but is an exciting prospect. He is green (only one year of football under his belt), but he appears to be a natural. Has excellent athletic ability and also shows a grasp of some of the game's nuances. ... Montgomery is an excellent prospect who has both immediate value and considerable upside.”
In hindsight: Good call. Natural athleticism helped Montgomery become a two-time All-American. He has yet to maximize those talents, but became a third-round NFL draft pick when he left after his junior season.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's only going to look like an all-comer's combine.

LSU's Pro Day on Wednesday will feature a whopping 28 participants, the result of a year where the Tigers sent 13 players to the NFL combine. Among the players will will participate is former LSU player Tyrann Mathieu.

Of the 28, 21 were members of LSU's 2012 team, while seven more participants were members of past LSU teams and are trying to catch the interest of teams as free agents.

Fans can watch the event live on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. ET.

Here are the players who are participating, according to LSU:

2012 team members: DE Chauncey Aghayere, K Drew Alleman, TE Chase Clement, DT Josh Downs, OT Josh Dworaczyk, DE Lavar Edwards, OT Chris Faulk, RB Michael Ford, DT Bennie Logan, C P.J. Lonergan, DB-KR Tyrann Mathieu, DE Barkevious Mingo, LB Kevin Minter, DE Sam Montgomery, S Eric Reid, WR Russell Shepard, CB Tharold Simon, RB Spencer Ware, P Brad Wing, DT Cleveland Davis, TE Tyler Edwards

Past Players (last year at LSU): OG Will Blackwell (2011), LB-DB Karnell Hatcher (2011), OL T-Bob Hebert (2011), QB Jordan Jefferson (2011), QB Jarrett Lee (2011), DS Alex Russian (2011), RB Charles Scott (2009).
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Les Miles took the podium for his pre-spring practice news conference Wednesday with a red left eye he said was the result of a case of pink eye.

It looked, however, like it might have been something else, like a symbolic black eye that came from a jab thrown by Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, or from a hook fired by a couple of surprisingly early departures from his team to the NFL, part of a whopping 13 NFL departures after a 10-3 season.

At any rate, Miles looked ready to put the pink eye, and any symbolic black eye, behind him as LSU begins drills on Thursday.

Here is what we learned from Miles on Wednesday:

[+] EnlargeLa'el Collins
Patrick Green/Icon SMILa'el Collins might see some shuffling along the offensive line this spring.
1. La'el Collins will get first shot at left tackle: Collins was one of the highest-rated offensive tackles in the country coming out of high school in 2011, but he was the Tigers' starting left guard as a sophomore in 2012.

Miles confirmed that Collins, now a junior, will get his chance to slide over to tackle, but added that redshirt freshman Jerald Hawkins will get a look at the position as well. If Hawkins proves to be the better tackle candidate, Collins would move back inside.

Miles said if Collins indeed wins the left tackle spot, senior Josh Williford would be the likely choice to start at left guard. Junior college transfer Fehoko Fanaika came to LSU at 370 pounds, Miles said, and is more likely to play on the right side, where Trai Turner returns as the starting guard, Miles said.

2. Lamin Barrow gets first shot at MLB: Miles also indicated that Barrow would get the first shot at the vacant starting middle linebacker role, a spot vacated by Kevin Minter's early NFL departure.

Miles said Barrow " can do the job outside," where he excelled with 107 tackles at weak-side linebacker last season. If one of LSU's six Class of 2012 linebacker recruits or another veteran -- Miles mentioned junior D.J. Welter -- steps up at middle linebacker, Barrow can easily move back to his weak side spot.

3. Bolden, Maclin out: Miles said quarterback Rob Bolden, who made news when he transferred from Penn State to LSU last summer following the NCAA fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, will not participate in spring practice after undergoing knee surgery in the off-season.

(Read full post)

Spring preview: Stars to ease your mind 

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
10:00
AM ET
Jeremy HillNelson Chenault/US PresswireLSU's Jeremy Hill emerged as a top running back in the second half of his freshman season.
As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, GeauxTigerNation will take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the seventh in the series:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU fans, do all the early defections to the NFL have you down?

Does Chris Faulk's early exit have you baffled? Does Brad Wing's departure make you depressed?

Never fear. LSU still has star power and reason to believe it will remain a serious SEC contender. Here are eight stars returning you can feel good about as spring practice begins:

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
10:15
AM ET

Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

LSU Tigers


The obvious acronym for Louisiana State University is "LSU." But to many, the Baton Rouge school gets the title "DBU" for its mass production of NFL defensive backs, from cornerbacks like Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne to safeties like LaRon Landry. This draft will do nothing to harm that reputation. Three LSU defensive backs -- including the booted-from-the-team Tyrann Mathieu -- were invited to the NFL combine this week, a year after three (Claiborne, Ron Brooks and Brandon Taylor) were taken in the draft.

(Read full post)

LSU has 13 invited to combine

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
4:29
PM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- If there's any doubt why LSU will continue to land top-notch talent in recruiting, Thursday gave an answer.

LSU had 13 players invited to the NFL draft combine Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis, Ind., the most of any school in the nation. Among the 13, which includes ex-Tiger Tyrann Mathieu, only two were seniors. The other 11 left college with eligibility remaining.

It's one more than the total mustered by Florida State.

LSU set a record when 11 players opted to leave school a year early to enter the draft. That all 11 were invited to the combine affirms that the departures were legitimate. The combine only takes the players it deems most likely to have a chance to get drafted or make a team.

The 11 underclassmen invited were: defensive ends Barkevious Mingo, safety Eric Reid, linebacker Kevin Minter, defensive end Sam Montgomery, defensive tackle Bennie Logan, cornerbacks Mathieu and Tharold Simon, offensive tackle Chris Faulk, running backs Michael Ford and Spencer Ware and punter Brad Wing.

The two seniors were defensive end Lavar Edwards and center P.J. Lonergan.

There were 333 players on the list, 79 from the SEC. LSU was one of four SEC schools to have double-digits invited to the combine. Georgia had 11 players invited and Alabama and Georgia each had 10 invited.

Well, Nick Saban and his gang of future NFL ballers proved to us once again that it is indeed Alabama's world, after claiming their second consecutive national title and third in four years Monday night. That ringing in your ears is just the sound of "Roll Tide" being repeated over and over in your head. I've learned there's nothing we can do about it.

But will 2013 bring college football a team that can really stop the Tide? I mean, REALLY stop Alabama from winning a third straight national championship? Well, ESPN's Mark Schlabach seems to believe that the road to Pasadena is paved in crimson and white, as he has Alabama No. 1 in his Way-Too-Early-Top 25 for 2013.

It's hard to blame him at this point. Sure, Alabama's offensive line won't be nearly as good with Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack leaving. And it will take even more of a hit if/when D.J. Fluker decides to turn pro. But with quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon (we're assuming Eddie Lacy and his sweet spin move are headed to the NFL), wide receiver Amari Cooper and a host of studs on the defense returning, Alabama will again be the team to beat.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
John David Mercer-USA Today SportsJohnny Manziel and Texas A&M, ranked fifth by Mark Schlabach, host way-too-early No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 14 in the SEC opener for both teams.
Oh, and a not-so-tretcherous schedule won't hurt the Tide's chances either.

But there are some quality teams in the SEC that will fight to dethrone Alabama, and Schlabach has four in his top 10. Texas A&M, which returns the Heisman-winning Johnny Football, ranks fifth, Georgia is sixth, South Carolina is seventh and Florida is 10th. The thing about all those teams is that they all return their starting quarterbacks, with Georgia's Aaron Murray being one of the best in the country alongside Johnny Manziel.

South Carolina will be one of the more balanced teams in the SEC next fall, and if Florida can actually find a passing game in 2013, watch out because that defense will still be fierce, even with a few junior defections.

LSU, checking in at No. 13, is the only other SEC team in Schlabach's top 25. The Tigers are expected to have a better offense, especially with Zach Mettenberger finally finding his comfort zone under center, but a poor offensive showing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl defeat to Clemson and the loss of junior running backs Michael Ford and Spencer Ware create an uneasy feeling around the offense. Plus, the defense just took a beating as a result of juniors departing for the NFL, especially up front. All-American punter Brad Wing also left.

The good news for LSU is that running back Jeremy Hill is returning, and he'll only be a sophomore.

It's a good list to start off with, but where in the world is Vanderbilt? The Commodores are coming off of a historic season in Nashville. There were nine wins that included a bowl victory, five conference wins and a seven-game winning streak. The quarterback and running back spots might be up for grabs, but Jordan Matthews is coming back, along with fellow receiver Chris Boyd. And most of the rest of the offense remains intact.

The defense will lose a lot up front, but linebacker Archibald Barnes and cornerback Trey Wilson are the only other significant losses.

There was room for Vandy in there somewhere ...


After Ford, does LSU look for a RB? 

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
8:00
AM ET
Jeremy HillNelson Chenault/US PresswireJeremy Hill will be the leading returning rusher on a stable of LSU running backs that suddenly looks thin.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The future of the running back position seemed to be figured out for LSU.

All five backs in the Tigers' 2012 stable were underclassmen. Freshman Jeremy Hill led the group with 755 rushing yards, meaning none of the three juniors had done enough to warrant leaving early for the NFL.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

With trio of departures, LSU DL has holes 

January, 7, 2013
1/07/13
8:00
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- It looks like LSU will be starting over on the defensive line, as expected.

Sources told ESPN's Joe Schad that Tigers junior defensive linemen Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo and Bennie Logan will all leave the Tigers a year early for the NFL draft. Their departures will increase LSU's growing list of defections to eight, but they are hardly the most surprising on the list.

All three have been projected as first-round picks since last spring, so the feeling for most of the 2012 season was that it would be the last for the trio of juniors. With senior Josh Downs holding down the fourth starting defensive line spot for most of the season at defensive tackle next to Logan, that means LSU will be looking to break in an entirely new starting defensive line next season.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Tiger Tale: Drew Alleman

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
8:00
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player and examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.

Drew Alleman, K, Senior

Accomplishments: One of the most accurate kickers in LSU history, Alleman overcame a mid-season slump to finish 20-for-28 on field goals for the Tigers, including a 3-for-3 outing in the Tigers' late win over Mississippi State. He's 36-for-46 on field goals in his two seasons as LSU's starting kicker and he has made all 42 of his PAT attempts.

Shortcomings: Bothered by nagging injuries, Alleman was not as consistent this season as he was last year when he was 16-for-18 on field goals. He had some big misses, notably a missed 46-yarder that set up Alabama's game-winning touchdown drive. He relinquished kickoff duties to James Hairston last season.

Against Clemson: If the game turns out to be as close as a matchup of No. 8 and No. 14 suggests it might, there might be a pressure-packed field goal awaiting Alleman in Atlanta in what will be his last college game. If he is to attempt a big field goal, he'll do it without holder Brad Wing, who is suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules.

True freshmen make impact at LSU 

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
8:00
AM ET
BATON ROUGE -- With a number of top prospects still considering the possibility of signing with LSU Feb. 6, they should remember one thing before they sign with the Tigers:

If you sign, you better come ready to play.

LSU brought in 21 true freshmen in the 2012 signing class, and 15 have played -- which is second in the country.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

LSU 10: Week 13 

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
7:15
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The regular season is over and LSU awaits its bowl fate with a 10-2 record and a 6-2, second-place finish in the SEC West. Here are the players who impressed us most.

1. LB Kevin Minter: LSU's middle linebacker finished the season with 111 tackles, and with a decent bowl game, he'll surpass Kelvin Sheppard's 116-tackle 2010 season as the most prolific of the Les Miles era. He's also active in other areas, most notably, with a team-leading 13.5 tackles for loss.

2. QB Zach Mettenberger: By the end of the season, LSU had gone from a team that was not a threat to pass to one that could air it out. Mettenberger threw for 2,489 yards, but in the last third of the season, he was throwing at close to a 3,000-yard pace.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

3 up, 3 down: LSU 20, Arkansas 13 

November, 25, 2012
11/25/12
8:00
AM ET
Three things we liked, and didn't like, from LSU's 20-13 win over Arkansas Friday:

Three up

1. Jarvis Landry: If you haven't seen Landry's spectacular 22-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mettenberger in the second quarter, you should take a look. The twisting, one-handed grab while staying inbounds in the back of the end zone was not only the catch of the weekend, it was possibly the catch of the year in college football.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Thanksgiving brings prime-time matchups 

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
9:00
AM ET
In the Louisiana High School Athletic Association football playoffs, Thanksgiving weekend is the time the state's football playoffs shift gears. With each of the five classes down to eight teams, the quarterfinals usually give football fans plenty of intriguing matchups for fans after Black Friday shopping is done.

This year, fans will miss some top prospects. Jeryl Brazil's Loranger team was upset by Jennings last week while Darian Claiborne's Port Allen team was knocked off by Brusly, spoiling a would-be Brazil-Claiborne showdown in Class 3A.

But most of the state's best players are still alive, some in potentially tight matchups Friday. Here are the best ones.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

LSU 10: Week 11 

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
7:15
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Our weekly look at LSU's 10 best performers of the season up to this point:

1. LB Kevin Minter: He's one good game from a triple-digit tackle season. Not only does he have a team-high 90 tackles, he gets tackles for loss (a team-high 11.5), and sacks (3) and has an interception and forced fumble.

2. DE Sam Montgomery: Montgomery got a sack at a big moment against Mississippi State and leads his team with six. He is right behind Minter in tackles for loss (11).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Epic Coaching Rants: Kids Edition
For Halloween, kids dress up as college football coaches to give their take on some of the most famous press conference rants.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 11/1