LSU Tigers: Derrick Raymond

LSU confirms four player departures

January, 22, 2014
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU on Wednesday confirmed that four reserves -- offensive lineman Derek Edinburgh Jr., linebacker Lorenzo Phillips and defensive backs Jerqwinick Sandolph and Derrick Raymond -- have left the football program.

LSU did not list any of the four 2012 signees on its Outback Bowl roster, and Edinburgh and Raymond did not play at all in 2013. Phillips recorded four tackles through the first nine games before sitting out the final four, while Sandolph made one tackle in three games.

Southeastern Louisiana announced on Wednesday that Sandolph and another recent Tiger -- safety Micah Eugene, who left the program prior to the bowl game -- are transferring to the FCS-level program.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Phillips left LSU because of academic problems and enrolled at East Mississippi Community College in hopes of eventually returning to Baton Rouge.

He was the highest-rated member of the foursome when they signed with LSU in 2012. ESPN graded Phillips as a four-star prospect and the No. 135 overall prospect in the nation that year. Edinburgh, Sandolph and Raymond were all three-star signees.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- By the middle of August camp, free safety Eric Reid was the only returning starter in LSU's vaunted secondary.

[+] EnlargeLes Miles
AP Photo/Bill HaberCraig Loston will have to step into a leadership role with the departures of Eric Reid and Tharold Simon.
After Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team, Reid, the junior free safety from Geismar, became the elder statesman and responded with a solid, 91-tackle, two-interception season during which he was the Tigers' unquestioned leader in the secondary and became a consensus All-American.

His end of the bargain held up, Reid announced his decision Friday to leave LSU for the NFL. He wasn't the only one.

In a mild surprise, junior cornerback Tharold Simon also declared for the draft after leading the team with four interceptions and 13 passes defended. A first-year starter in 2012, he was a key piece to the LSU secondary in 2011 as the fifth defensive back whose presence allowed the Tigers to use Mathieu as a nickel back.

With their departures, all six of LSU's primary defensive backs on the 2011 team -- Simon, Reid, Mathieu, cornerback Morris Claiborne, safety Brandon Taylor and dime back Ron Brooks -- probably will be on NFL rosters next season.

Regardless, LSU looks to be in better shape next season than it was entering 2012. Where only two of the top six DBs returned for the 2012 season, the Tigers should still have four of their top six back next season.

Junior strong safety Craig Loston probably will return for his senior year and starting cornerback Jalen Mills, nickel back Jalen Collins and dime back Micah Eugene were all freshmen.

That bodes well for the Tigers' secondary, which outperformed expectations most of the year, given that Mathieu's departure forced LSU to have to start a true freshman, Mills, in his place. The Tigers did struggle down the stretch, allowing four straight 300-yard passing games to finish the season.

Developing young talent will be crucial this offseason. Ronald Martin, Eugene, Corey Thompson and Jerqwinick Sandolph are young safeties who might vie for Reid's free safety spot. LSU has one 2013 recruit committed, Jeremy Cutrer. But LSU is pursuing more, including ESPN 150 safety Priest Willis.

At cornerback, Collins figures to replace Mills and LSU also returns Dwayne Thomas and Derrick Raymond and has a talented class of cornerbacks coming on signing day, including three four-star prospects -- Jeryl Brazil, Tre'Davious White and Rickey Jefferson -- and three-star Rashard Robinson.

 

 

Where LSU will need help: Defense 

January, 3, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- The commitment of Maquedius Bain to LSU on Wednesday made perfect sense.

Bain, the No. 6 defensive tackle in the ESPN 150 and the highest-rated of the Tigers' 24 commitments, figures to play at LSU early. And he'll play a position where the Tigers have a tremendous recent track record for getting players to the NFL. Part of the reason there is a need for defensive tackles in this LSU class (Bain is one of four DT commitments in the class) is the presumed early departure of junior Bennie Logan to the NFL.

If Bain does play immediately, it will continue an LSU trend: Tiger freshmen should come ready to play because many of them will play. LSU used 15 true freshmen in the 2012 season, including four who started and a fifth who was a special-teams starter.
The clock has sped up for the development of LSU cornerback Tharold Simon.

[+] EnlargeTharold Simon
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezLSU's Tharold Simon is ready to help lead the secondary in 2012.
Like the steady line of Tiger stars at cornerback in recent years, Simon was supposed to enjoy a season being the "other" starter next to the superstar. He would start for the first time this season while lined up opposite Tyrann Mathieu. From there, he'd be "the man" next year.

But with Mathieu getting kicked off the team last week, the junior from Eunice, La., will have to instead be ready to be the leader of the cornerbacks.

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For the first time in fall camp, there was a unified LSU team at practice Sunday morning.

[+] EnlargeAlexander Kwon
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comLB Kwon Alexander appears to be making a nice transition from high school to LSU.
After three days of split practices -- one with veterans in the morning and the other with newcomers and selected veterans in the afternoon -- the entire team came together Sunday morning. For the first time, we saw reserves gathered together as "scout" teams. And we got to see some impressive youngsters like defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Kwon Alexander work with their more established teammates.

We also saw the first look at the "Big Cat" drill, the one-on-one trench battle that is a staple of LSU camps. Seeing wide receiver James Wright lose his helmet in a collision and wide receiver Jarvis Landry and cornerback Corey Thompson get tangled right into the crowd of gathered players and cameras were nice reminders that the physicality of August camp is here.

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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

The basics of LSU's secondary are pretty obvious.

Monstrous cornerback Tharold Simon is going to start on one side of the Tigers' defense. Preseason All-SEC safety Eric Reid is going to anchor the last line of defense. If he can keep himself healthy, veteran Craig Loston should hold down the strong safety spot. And fellow All-SEC selection Tyrann Mathieu seems to have an early bead on the other starting corner spot.

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