LSU Tigers: Josh Boutte

SEC's lunchtime links

March, 12, 2014
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Hard-working reporters put in some long hours for the NFL's first day of free agency. It was so packed with news, it was almost like a mini national signing day.

Key spring position battles: OL

February, 28, 2014
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- We're closing in on the start of spring practice at LSU, so this week let's take a look at five position battles worth watching this spring.

We covered the wide receivers, defensive tackles, quarterbacks and safeties in the first four installments. We conclude this week's series with the offensive line, which will break in a new position coach, Jeff Grimes, and at least one new starter this fall.

[+] EnlargeFehoko Fanaika
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThis will be a big spring for Fehoko Fanaika, who hopes to earn LSU's starting right guard spot.
Returning starters: Left tackle La'El Collins (second-team All-SEC and 12 starts in 2013), left guard Vadal Alexander (13 starts), center Elliott Porter (12 starts) and right tackle Jerald Hawkins (13 starts) are all back, helping the line rank among the most experienced position groups on the Tigers' roster.

Departures: Right guard Trai Turner (13 starts) entered the NFL draft after a redshirt sophomore season where he became a second-team all-SEC pick. ESPN Scouts Inc. ranks him as the No. 5 guard and No. 113 overall prospect in the upcoming draft.

Returning reserves: Although Grimes could always elect to shake up the lineup, the most intriguing position at this point is the one that lost a starter: right guard. We recently wrote about how this will be a big spring for Fehoko Fanaika to prove that he deserves to inherit Turner's starting spot. Fanaika was an early enrollee after transferring from the College of San Mateo junior college last January and played in 12 games as a backup. The 6-foot-6, 348-pound mauler must now prove he deserves a starting spot. Other reserves of note are Ethan Pocic, Porter's backup at center who could play other positions if necessary, and rising sophomore tackle Josh Boutte. Tackle Evan Washington and guard Jonah Austin also played last season, with Washington earning a start against Furman.

Newcomers: Guards K.J. Malone and Andy Dodd both redshirted last season after arriving at LSU as four-star prospects. The Tigers signed just two offensive linemen in this class, both of whom will arrive in the summer. One of them, Garrett Brumfield, was ESPN's No. 1 guard prospect for 2014, so he might make the guard competition interesting in August if Fanaika doesn't nail down the job this spring. The other signee is four-star guard William Clapp.

What to watch: Beyond the candidates for the right guard spot, it's worth watching how Grimes decides to use his returning players. He said in a local radio interview last week that LSU's line was good, but rarely great in 2013, adding that he hadn't evaluated individual players too closely yet, so that he could give them all a fair shake when they start practicing together. The four returning starters have a decided experience advantage, but Grimes hasn't developed any preferences yet. This will be a valuable evaluation time for the Tigers' new assistant coach.

Class of 2013: Where they fit 

May, 16, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- With the 2012-2013 school year winding down, the members of the LSU signing class of 2013 should be arriving on campus soon for summer workouts. The Tigers brought in eight early enrollees in the spring and 19 more will come this summer.

Here's how we see them fitting in.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- How deep is the football talent in Louisiana?

Consider this: Every football bowl subdivision (FBS) conference in the nation has had a least two Louisiana players sign letters of intent with its member schools for the 2013 recruiting cycle, according to the ESPN database of recruits.


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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It looked so simple for LSU heading into the last weekend before signing day.

With 26 committed players in the class and nobody left that wasn't already a longshot, the Tigers looked like they just might just tiptoe quietly to a relatively drama-free signing day, a No. 6 national ranking for the class looking pretty solid.

Forget that.

On the weekend before signing day, the top player in the country has visited. A handful of committed players took trips elsewhere. Never mind Duke Riley being LSU's last commitment. There's a lot more that might happen.


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LSU braces for dramatic finish 

February, 4, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- So much activity, so little resolution.

LSU hosted the nation's No. 1 player, who was considered a long shot before the weekend. He met celebrities, attended a rap concert and seemed to leave Baton Rouge with a good vibe toward the Tigers. Meanwhile, a long-time Tiger commit seemed to waver on his commitment as he took a surprise visit to another school.


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LSU Mailbag: Time for a new OC? 

January, 11, 2013
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BATON ROUGE -- GTN writer Gary Laney took your questions:

William (@TigernBham): Les is on the clock for finding a great offensive coordinator. Tigers have finished in the bottom 20 percent the last 3-4 years. The talent's too good for that!


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LSU has failed to get double-digit first downs in its last two postseason games, both losses, which is a cause for concern for LSU's offensive future -- but not if the future offensive Tigers who played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl have any say.

Desean Smith
Gary Laney/ESPN.comDeSean Smith might be used in a number of ways at LSU.
Tight end Desean Smith and wide receiver John Diarse, two ESPN 300 performers committed to LSU, were on the West team at Saturday’s game played in San Antonio. They were two of four future LSU players on offense, along with offensive guard Josh Boutte and quarterback Hayden Rettig.

LSU was also well-represented on defense with commit Tre'Davious White playing cornerback for the West and defensive end Frank Herron, who had a sack in the game, playing defensive end for the East.

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Recruiting Week in Review: LSU 

January, 7, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- No LSU commit won MVP, nor scored a touchdown at the Under Armour All-American game.

Yet, it was a huge, huge game for LSU recruiting.

[+] EnlargeKendell Beckwith
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comKendell Beckwith's commitment this weekend was necessary good news for LSU.
LSU landed its two biggest commits in its 25-man 2013 class at the Under Armor game as defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, ranked No. 43 in the ESPN 150, committed Wednesday. Kendell Beckwtih, ranked No. 19 by ESPN, then committed during the first quarter of the game Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Where LSU will need help: Offense 

January, 4, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- There are some unknown variables when trying to figure out where true freshmen might play a big role on a team.

Avery Johnson
Davide De Pas/ESPN.comClass of 2012 wide receiver Avery Johnson looks to re-enroll after going to prep school for a year. He could contribute to LSU as soon as next season.
Take LSU right tackle Vadal Alexander. The 2012 signee became a true freshman starter at right tackle halfway through the season, something nobody saw coming. But when left tackle Chris Faulk suffered a season-ending knee injury, it opened the door for Alexander to move into the lineup, and he took the job and ran with it after another veteran starting tackle, Alex Hurst, left the team.

Similarly, with a veteran stable of running backs returning, few saw true freshman Jeremy Hill emerging as a primary running back for LSU this year. Yet, it took only one injury -- to original starter Alfred Blue -- to get Hill the break he needed to start getting carries and eventually become the starter and the Tigers' leading rusher.

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After bowl, LSU shifts to recruiting

January, 1, 2013
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So, the season's over.

LSU finished playing football before the year even ended with Monday's last-second, 25-24 loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, a downer of an ending to a 10-3 season.

[+] EnlargeGreg Gilmore
Scott Drucker/IntersportLSU fans will get an early look at DL commit Greg Gilmore at the Under Armour All-America Game.
The most disappointing part? It was over before January. The eighth-ranked Tigers were the only team in the BCS top 12 to play before New Year's Day, which is usually the date where the serious bowl games begin. That LSU was left out of the New Year's Day games seemed to put a damper on the whole postseason, a feeling amplified by the result of the game.

Despite that, there's plenty to look forward to in the next five-plus weeks.

It is prime recruiting season, after all.

There will be all-star games, visitation weekends and even an early jump on 2014 recruiting for LSU and its prospects, all capped by national signing day Feb. 6.

Here's what's on the agenda and what to watch from an LSU perspective:

Friday

Under Armor All-America Game: LSU targets Maquedius Bain and Kendell Beckwith will announce their commitments at the game. Targets Robert Nkemdiche, Priest Willis, Josh McNeil, Antonio Conner, Artie Burns and Tim Williams are also playing in the game. Also playing are LSU commits Jeryl Brazil, Greg Gilmore and Ethan Pocic are also playing.

Semper Fidelis All-American Game: LSU commits Jeremy Cutrer and Christian LaCouture will play in this game.

Saturday

U.S. Army All-American Bowl: LSU fans will be able to take a glimpse at the Tigers' offensive future with LSU commits Hayden Rettig (quarterback), Desean Smith (tight end), John Diarse (wide receiver) and Josh Boutte (offensive line) all on the same team. LSU commits Tre'Davious White and Frank Herron are also in the game on defense.

Jan. 12

Boys from the Boot Day: Top 2014 players from Louisiana will be invited for unofficial visits designed to get them familiar with the recruiting process and to jump-start their relationships with LSU coaches.

That will be a huge day for LSU, considering Louisiana, perhaps the nation's most prospect-laden state on a per-capita basis, looks particularly strong in 2014. Among the players who might attend are running back Leonard Fournette, Cameron Robinson, Gerald Willis, Speedy Noil, Trey Quinn and several others.

Jan. 14

Spring semester begins: Early enrollees will begin classes, letting us know what players will get a jump on their classmates with spring practice.

Jan. 19-21, 26-28

Visit weekends: Players who haven't visited yet can set up visits on these weekends.

Feb. 6

National signing day: The culmination of the recruiting season.

Weekend Rewind: LSU 

November, 19, 2012
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After two weeks of huge visitor turnouts, LSU's guest list tailed off a bit for Saturday's home finale against Ole Miss. The afternoon kickoff and the low-level opponent probably contributed to that, especially since the Tigers played marquee matchups against Alabama and Mississippi State in the weeks before.

A sizable chunk of the Tigers' usual suspects turned out -- many of them 2013 commits such as Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger), DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) and Tre'Davious White (Shreveport, La./Green Oaks). Some non-regular visitors such as offensive guard commit Josh Boutte (New Iberia, La./Westgate) also turned up.

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Star DTs coming for Alabama game 

October, 29, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La.-- There's one thing Justin Manning wants to see when he visits LSU for the Alabama showdown Saturday.

"Hopefully, I'll see a win [for LSU]," said the Dallas/Kimball four-star defensive tackle who will make LSU his fourth official visit. "For some reason, all the schools I visit lose while I'm there."

Indeed, he visited Texas A&M when LSU won there, 24-19. He was at TCU when the Horned Frogs were upset by Iowa State, and he visited Oklahoma when the Sooners lost to Kansas State. So next weekend he'll be looking for a win -- just as LSU is looking for a win in its efforts to land a quality defensive tackle like Manning.

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Jeryl BrazilScott Drucker/IntersportLSU commit Jeryl Brazil received his Under Armour jersey, then made plays.

ESPN 150 member and LSU commit Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger) celebrated his inclusion in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game in style this past Friday.

After he received his jersey for those proceedings, he got back to work in his Loranger jersey. Brazil continued his big season as the Wolves' quarterback in a 42-18 win against Bogalusa, but he showed off the skills that make him dangerous in several spots: he rushed for touchdowns of 1 and 7 yards, and he added a pick-six from the cornerback spot. Loranger is 6-0 with Brazil at the helm and is set for a serious push at the Class 3A state title.

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LSU camp: Day 2 breakdown 

July, 17, 2012
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The grind of LSU's July high school camp continued into day two Monday -- the third straight day of competition on the Tigers' campus if you include Saturday's 7-on-7 tournament.

The absurd amount of talent on hand in Baton Rouge, La., this week has long been rumored, and given the chance it has definitely lived up to the hype. Players went through their second day of workouts in front of LSU coaches and staff. It's hard to say which collection stood out the most -- LSU's contingent of 2013 commitments who have overrun the camp, the undeclared talents in this 2013 class or the ever-impressive array of 2014 talent.

The two names among names in this instance were a pair of highly talented pass rushers the Tigers are courting. Chief among them was ESPN 150 athlete and Louisiana top prospect Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana).

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