I watched the basketball game on TV, and I was pretty darn impressed with this team. The consistency isn't there, but it's clear this team has some ability. Randolph and Johnson dominated the game defensively, disrupting shots and contributing heavily to Ole Miss shooting an abysmal 27% from the field. Ole Miss scored a season-low 49 points (previous season-low was 67 points).
The offense played well, particularly early in the game when Thornton was burning up the nets from outside staking us to a big lead. When he went cold, Ole Miss started coming back, but never got closer then 6 down. Midway through the 2nd half, we turned up the defense and fed the inside and built the lead up to 28 before putting in all the subs with 1:30 to go in the game.
Like I said before, I just want this team to build some momentum going into next season. This win is a nice step in that direction. The stretch run includes only one more game against a team that currently has more than 4 wins. If we can win games against South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, we will climb out of the conference basement and salvage a little bit of pride from this season.
In football, the big commitment yesterday was that of Janzen Jackson, a defensive back from Carencro listed at 6'1" and 185# with 4.43 speed. If he's really that tall, and really that fast, and really has hips of a cornerback, this kid is a S-T-U-D. Let me just admit that I am no expert at evaluating talent, but sometimes a kid's videos stand out so much in some respect that you have to take notice. Janzen Jackson is listed as a cornerback, but his videos show him making hard tackles and providing run support like a strong safety. He'll be an absurdly physical cornerback if that really is his future. If he has the swivel hips and the height and the closing speed of a corner, he will be hard to keep off the field early in his career. He's also a coach's son, much like current redshirt freshman defensive back Phelon Jones, and Carencro players usually come to LSU with good coaching under their belts already. The listed measurements are often unreliable, but I sure hope this kid is as tall and fast as advertised.
If you have access, be sure to watch his videos. You will be impressed. He is generally regarded as the best defensive back in the state.
The second commitment of the day was offensive guard/defensive tackle Josh Downs of Bastrop. He's listed at 6'2" and 275# and comes from one of the most important football factories in Louisiana. His commitment caused some consternation among the message board posters who, for one reason or another, think he is unworthy. The reasons for this break down into two different categories. First, as a defensive tackle, the message board posters consider him to be less of a player than in-state tackles Chris Davenport and Darrington Sentimore and out-of-state tackle Jamarkus McFarland (great LSU name, by the way). Second, word came out that running back/linebacker Montrell Conner wanted to commit but his commitment was not yet accepted.
It's hard to explain to someone unfamiliar with all of this exactly why it matters that Montrell Conner's commitment wasn't accepted. Honestly, I don't think I understand why it matters myself. As for why it wasn't accepted, it is apparently because either a) he wants to be a running back while the coaches only want him at linebacker or b) because they don't yet know whether he's a running back or linebacker. Montrell Conner is a Rivals100 guy, but you should take it as a given that the coaches know more than Rivals does, and I have it on good authority that most major college coaches consider the ratings services to be laughably inaccurate in many cases.
As for Downs, he is a mystery to me, but I don't mean that in a bad way. He hasn't really been discussed much on the boards or the services in advance of his commitment, and there is very little film on him. I know he has the weight, and I know he comes from a good feeder school. Other than that, I don't know much.
One thing that is becoming clear is that the boards and the services know very little about what the coaches are thinking. After Signing Day, I made a post that included this statement:
Of course, no signing day retrospective is complete without . . . looking ahead to the next recruiting class. Unlike for the 2008 class, the in-state 2009 class is expected to be very studly. Already, wide receiver Reuben Randle, defensive tackle Chris Davenport, athlete DJ Banks, running backs Eddie Lacy and Michael York, and RB/LB Montrell Conner look to be 5-star or high-4-star national prospects that could go wherever they want to go in the country.In addition to my embarrassing misnaming of Michael Ford, it is becoming apparent that 2 or 3 of the people I mentioned not only won't be 5-star or high-4-star national prospects, but they may not even have offers from LSU, period. DJ Banks' offers are coming from lesser programs. Eddie Lacy's grade problems and legal problems may be scaring the big boys off. Montrell Conner apparently can only go to LSU as a linebacker rather than a running back (if that). So take everything with a grain of salt.