by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
-I asked an LSU staffer if they viewed the past weekend as "historic" in the eyes of the program, considering so many stars, studs and high ranking athletes simultaneously arrived on campus for the first time: the answer?
"No question...there's some future greats around this group, present greats."
Present greats, eh?
It was historic: double digit numbers of high ranked 2021 freshmen arrived this past weekend, including WR juggernauts Malik Nabers, Chris Hilton Jr, Jack Bech and Brian Thomas Jr, DE madman Saivion Jones, Safeties Sage Ryan & Matthew Langlois, TE Jalen Shead and OG Kimo Makeonole among others, while two much-needed defensive transfers from ACC/SEC rivals (Clemson's Mike Jones Jr and UGA's Major Burns) joined the party.
Both transferred to LSU for more playing time, but while you'd think they're coming in scruffy because they left their previous schools, you'd be mistaken.
-LSU Tiger Mike Jones Jr has sent waves of whispers across the LSU staff and team, a few directly pointing out "this dude is stacked".
The Clemson defector reportedly trained alongside NFL personnel to raise his level heading into an SEC offseason at LSU and he'll need the extra bulk.
-Of the Tigers double digit freshmen who've arrived, LSU Odyssey have been told repeatedly there's a few guys to watch out for as prime Tigers "who could seriously start as freshmen":
-MALIK NABERS: "When he came to campus, he's really guarded...closed off...when I got to know him more, I found out he's just laser focused...he's just all about it. I've never seen Mickey Joseph thinking so hard about what to say to a freshman before he said it....."
-JACK BECH: "High character as much as high ceiling. Everyone's a big fan of him."
-SAIVION JONES: "...A few feel he's too undersized at 240 to be able to start, but there's a bunch of us who already feel we can just rush him off the edge as an OLB in a 3-4....for me, he's behind B.J, Ali and Andre but he's the 4th guy...."
A guy they were "most surprised by" ?:
-KIMO MAKEONOLE: "Nobody really talked much about him 'cause he was very no drama....after we saw him in the flesh (on Saturday), that's all the O-Line guys are talkin about." He most likely won't start as a freshman, but his arrival "stunned" LSU's staff.
- Preferred Walk-on Safety / Nickleback Quinton "Pig" Cage arrived on campus this past Sunday, settling in nicely alongside former Rummel High teammate Koy Moore and a litany of other Tigers who know his potent powers all too well. Many are expecting him to bolster the safeties room, though his year at Nicholls State should traditionally inhibit his progress at the outset, I don't see it being too much of a factor. "Pig" was pursued after Dwayne Thomas, Corey Raymond and Daronte Jones were told of his exploits at Rummel High;
A lot of his new teammates are already familiar with Pig's pedigree, so fitting in shouldn't be an issue, the question is just when could he breakthrough on the Tigers' roster.
- Linebacker Micah Baskerville is extremely close to his return, very near to finishing his required credits...Baskerville should be back within the next two weeks.
Not only that, Micah has worked on improving his physique and conditioning during his time away from the team this past Spring.....and the results have left Strength & Conditioning chief Tommy Moffitt impressed.
Baskerville has upped his game in the speed department, too.
-A noteworthy piece of info from a very intriguing source at LSU:
The QBs took part in their returning conditioning test....one young man stood above all....and it wasn't even close.
QB Max Johnson outpaced both Garrett Nussmeier and Myles Brennan easily, "retiring" the other two in every which way, form or fashion...not only showing off his athleticism, speed, power or strength, but Max has come back to LSU boasting an improved arm.
Remember the intricacies of Jake Peetz's offensive style, look at the athleticism needed at the modern day QB position (especially against SEC opponents), then you see what Max Johnson is able to pull off in the backfield...... and you really have to wonder "how can he not be that guy?"
-When I asked another source if Coach Orgeron would start Myles Brennan over Max Johnson "just to keep Myles in the program", i was met with a very straight up, almost annoyed response: "no way. We are about winning now, and nothing else."
-DT Neil Farrell Jr is getting some notice from LSU's defensive staff:
I was told the Tigers' super senior and National Championship veteran will be "one of them guys who surprises everyone in the season, except for their teammates."
Neil has shown deceptive speed in the pass rush, he's clogging gaps and grabbing sack-assists when opening up rushing lanes, and he carries leaner muscle than ever before.
-Finally, Arik Gilbert Arik Gilbert Arik Gilbert Arik Gilbert.....
After LSU Odyssey posted our news on Arik Gilbert's positive academic realities (very manageable courses and credit time left to finish), everyone followed with their own "updates".
Yet another reason why you have to subscribe to LSU Odyssey, as we've been days (sometimes a week or more) ahead on breaking news stories.
While some are alleging Gilbert's next destination will be Georgia, there's a reason the young former Gatorade National Player of the Year still posts photos of himself wearing purple & gold.
Georgia frankly makes no sense for Arik Gilbert....but of course, in this scenario, with this player, we've already seen it all....so is anything really going to surprise us?
I don't think so.
But if I'm able to tell Arik one thing, I'm saying:
Bro, LSU is your best shot to get this thing turned around this year...right now. That's a team that wants you, that cherishes you....most teams wouldn't even give a damn about your mental or emotional state after 'leaving the team' or 'quitting' as some have called it. LSU pursued you and supported you even after you spurned us for our 2nd or 3rd most hated rival....the Florida f***in Gators!!!
You come back to LSU, you're an immediate starter...you have a chance to be that #2 receiving threat behind Kayshon Boutte....you would play far more receiver at LSU than anywhere else in the nation, especially within the SEC.
Everyone at LSU wants this to happen....and now, unless Arik just loves to post funny old photos from last year or enroll in LSU's online courses just for fun, he wants LSU, again too.
Over the coming weeks, Arik will be completing the final hurdles in his academics to get back out on the field and there should be nothing to prevent him....except for himself.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc