Quarterback Brandon Harris at the Start of the Second Quarter!
THE LSU SPRING GAME WAS ONE OF MOST INTRIGUING IN HISTORY!
By Super Scout Max Emfinger
I have been Evaluating Football Players for over over 40 Years and this past Saturday, I attended my Seventh straight Annual LSU Spring Football Game. In all of those Seven Games in previous years of watching the LSU Final Game, and watching other Final Scrimmages of other teams, including Texas, Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma, Florida State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Arkansas, I saw some things on Saturday that I have NEVER Seen or probably will ever see again.
Before I tell you this Intriguing Story of what I saw on Saturday, I would like to Reminisce what happened two years ago in the 2012 LSU Spring Game. Now remember, that the 2012 and the 2014 LSU Spring Games are very similar in that all of the LSU Fans were excited in anticipation about watching their new Quarterback of the future perform in this Game. Here’s what the 2012 Highlights looked like!
New LSU Quarterback Zach Mettenberger #8 (6-5, 222, 4.7) was given the biggest round of applause when his name was announced and he was believed by the LSU Fans and also LSU Players to be the Quarterback that they had been waiting on for their passing game. Mettenberger was a great leader, had a very strong arm, and he did not disappoint the LSU Fans or Players in that 2012 LSU Spring Game.
On that Saturday, Mettenberger, playing with the first team, White Team, for the First Time, completed 14 of 25 passes for 270-Yards and Two Touchdowns as he lead the White Team to a 24-17 win over the Purple Team. Mettenberger had 198-Yards passing and both Touchdowns at halftime. Mettenberger really looked outstanding and I thought that he would be Great for the next two years and he was!
In the 2012 Spring Game, WR Jarvis Landry #80 caught 6 passes for 120-Yards and a Touchdown and WR Odell Beckham caught 3 passes for 115-Yards and a Touchdown. Odell Beckham Jr (6-0, 187, 4.44) was also Sensational in the 2013 LSU Spring Game as he caught 6 passes for 201-Yards and Two Touchdowns. While Beckham, RB Jeremy Hill, and QB/FS Ronald Martin were attending my 2010 Super Elite Top Gun Camp, Landry was participating on my 2010 Super South 7on7 Team that went to the Badger Sports 7on7 National Championship.
OK! In the 2014 Spring Game, this past Saturday, the LSU Fans were anticipating a Quarterback battle between Two Young Quarterbacks, including White Team Starting QB #10 Anthony Jennings and Purple Team Second Team QB #6 Brandon Harris. Jennings was the returning Bowl Game Starter after Mettenberger was injured late in the 2013 Season and Harris was the True Freshman Quarterback from Bossier City Parkway and he had only been on campus for a couple of months.
I really wanted to check them out in the Pre-Game Warmups, and I was very impressed with the strong arm and accuracy of Harris, but I also thought that Jennings looked very good. Both of them were Sensational Athletic Quarterbacks coming out of High School and I knew that they both were destined for College greatness and playing for LSU in the SEC. I also was very excited about watching these Potential SEC Super Stars in this LSU Spring Game. I was also impressed with Hayden Rettig. I noticed that the LSU Football Players were wearing their new Logo on their Football Helmet.
The First Quarter was rather boring for most of the LSU Fans, but there were a few great plays. The White Team got the Football first, but they seemed to struggle. On the Second Play of the Game, QB Jennings went back to pass and threw what looked like a perfect pass on a Deep Go-Pattern, but the ball was just inches too long for WR Travin Dural. Also in the First Quarter, White Team QB Jennings hit a beautiful crossing pattern to TE DeSean Smith with 9:00 left. Then with 8:07 left in the First Quarter, Purple Team LB Deion Jones (6-2, 208, Jr-2L) picked off White Team QB Jennings in the Flat and raced, untouched, 67-Yards for the Touchdown. After the Trent Domingue (6-1, 170, So-SQ) kick, the Purple Team led 7-0.
After the First Quarter and at the Start of the Second Quarter, the most Intriguing thing happened. These starting Quarterbacks changed Jerseys and Teams to start the Second Quarter. Jennings took off his White #10 Jersey and put on a Purple #10 Jersey; while Harris took off his Purple #6 Jersey and put on a White #6 Jersey.
Reminiscing again, In 2012, I drove to Lake Charles to see TE DeSean Smith (6-4, 241, 4.56) of Lake Charles Barbe play and he was sensational in a close victory over Lafayette Acadiana by a 31-28 score. In that High School game, Smith (In Photo) caught nine passes for 178-yards and averaged 19.8-yards per catch.
In this 2014 Spring Game, Smith wore both White and Purple #89 Jerseys during the game, but he caught all three Passes for the White Team for 45-Yards, including his 19-Yard Touchdown Pass from Harris in the Second Quarter. I think that Smith and Dural can become SEC Super Stars and I also think that they are both potential #1 NFL Draft Choices.
But back to the Quarterbacks! This Intriguing Change of Quarterbacks might mean a couple of things, and it could have been Pre-Planned by the “Les-Cam” (Coach Les Miles and Coach Cam Cameron) Coaching Team, but the first thing that came to my mind was that Jennings and Harris had just changed positions on the LSU Depth Chart at the Start of the Second Quarter.
Then, at the start of the Second Quarter, Harris immediately completed another great pass with 14:28 left and on the next play, he threw a beautiful Deep Pass to WR Travin Dural (6-2, 182, So-1L), but it was just off of his fingertips. With 14:11 left, the White Team punted, but they got the ball back with 13:17 left and then Harris hit Smith on a great 19-Yard Crossing Pattern for a Touchdown. With the Extra Point by Kicker Colby Delahoussaye (5-10, 169, So-1L) the Score was Tied at 7-7.
After this play, Harris was pretty sensational. With 10:50 left, he hit Dural on an 18-Yard completion and then he rolled-out and ran 35-Yards down the Left Sideline to the Six-Yard line. RB Terrence Magee (5-9, 214, Sr-2L) gained one-yard and then Harris hit FB Connor Neighbors (5-11, 239, Sr-2L) on a Five-Yard Swing-Pass in the Right Flat for the Touchdown, giving the White Team a 14-10 lead with 9:35 left in the Second Quarter.
Another Amazing Situation happened at the end of the Second Quarter. With 6:29 Left in the First Half, DE Danielle Hunter #94 (6-6, 241, Jr-2L) was pretty sensational as he put a lot of unbelievable pressure on Jennings when he was the Purple Team #6, including three straight Quarterback Sacks as Jennings was trying to scramble out of the pocket. Hunter also recorded an amazing Six Quarterback Pressures to go with his Three Quarterback Sacks. I think that the Official Stats Sheet had Hunter with Two Sacks, but he made the same play on Three Straight Plays and I was standing there watching him, so I gave him Three Sacks.
Hunter shared Two Spring Training Awards, including The Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award for Outstanding performance in LSU Off-Season Program and also The Mike Miley Leadership Award for Outstanding Defensive Leadership in Spring Drills.
Then with 5:00 left in the Second Quarter, Jennings threw another Interception and LB Kwon Alexander #4 (6-2, 218, Jr-2L) running it back 26-Yards for a Touchdown. Alexander and Deion Jones were unbelievable Linebackers in this Spring Game and they both returned a Jennings Interception for Touchdowns. Alexander, who is probably one of the fastest LSU Players on the field, when he is in the game, returned his Interception for the White Team and Jones returned his Interception for the Purple Team.
Although Alexander and Jones were outstanding, two other Linebackers led their respective teams in tackles. LB Ronnie Feist (6-2, 225, Jr-1L) (In Photo) was so impressive for the Purple Team in the First Half, Defensive Coordinator John Chavis moved him to the White Team at Halftime and he recorded 14 tackles for the Game; while White Team LB Lamar Louis (6-0, 216, Jr-2L) recorded seven tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Feist seemed to be all over the Football Field as he made some great “Bone-Crushing” tackles for the whole Spring Game.
Also, don’t forget MLB D.J. Welter (6-1, 226, Sr-1L) who also shared The Mike Miley Defensive Leadership Award along with Hunter, DT Christian LaCouture (6-5, 298, So-1L); CB Jalen Mills 6-1, 189, Jr-2L); and my Injured Friend and FS Ronald Martin (6-1, 218, SR-3L). Welter not only shared the Defense Honorees, but he was also the Lone Award Winner of The Jimmy Taylor Award, as the LSU Team Spring Training Award for Outstanding Leadership, Effort and Performance.
With absolutely no time on the Scoreboard Clock, Harris threw a beautiful and perfect 21-Yard Fade-Pattern Pass to Dural, who also made a great catch, to end the First Half Scoring. The White Team Scored 28 Points in the Second Quarter with Harris at the Helm and they took a 28-7 Lead into the Locker Room.
Travin Dural #83, chatting with Coach Cam Cameron, will only be a Sophomore in the Fall, but he played like a seasoned Senior and he was the most impressive Wide Receiver in the Spring Game. On that second play of the game, the Deep Pass from Jennings looked at first like it might have been a pass that could have been caught, but after seeing it on the Re-Play, it was just a little long. If Dural would have caught that pass from Jennings on the Second play of the Game, it might have changed the whole outcome of the game for both Dural and Jennings. Although it didn’t happen on that play, Dural was still outstanding as he led all receivers with Five Catches for 130-Yards and Two Touchdowns, including the 21-Yarder from Harris in the Second Quarter and then the 13-Yarder from Jennings in the Third Quarter.
Jennings #10 came out for the Third Quarter with his White Team #10 Jersey again and he looked like he was ready to win his Spot back as he hit Dural on a great 13-Yard Touchdown on the first Offensive Series to make it a 35-7 White Team Lead. But this great feeling for Jennings did not last very long as Harris immediately went back to work and found Penn State Transfer WR Rob Bolden (6-4, 209, Sr-SQ) on a really nice 37-Yard Pass Completion and then he hit WR John Diarse (6-1, 207, Fr-RS) on another 33-Yard Completion, before taking it into the End-Zone on a Four-Yard Touchdown on a Great Quarterback Keeper.
Jennings is too good of an Athlete and Competitor to think that he is still not the Starting Quarterback and he still could be the Starter against Wisconsin on August 30. On the White Team, Jennings completed 6 of 9 for 104-Yards and for the Purple Team, he completed 3 of 8 for 53-Yards, giving him 9 of 17 for 157-Yards and One Touchdown, but Two Pick-Six Interceptions for Touchdowns. Also, QB Hayden Rettig (6-3, 205, Fr-RS) could be in the picture in the Fall. Rettig is another great Athletic Quarterback and he got a chance to play in the Third Quarter and he completed a tremendous 47-Yard Pass. Coming out of High School, Rettig was one of the Most Outstanding Athletic Quarterbacks in the Country and he has trimmed-down a little since he entered LSU and he is a lot Quicker. He could become a tremendous Quarterback Factor in the Fall.
Harris with his #6 Purple Jersey on again in the Third Quarter, showed a lot of Poise in and out of the pocket and he also demonstrated some unbelievable Leadership for a Pure Freshman. In Evaluating these two young, great Quarterbacks, it’s very important to remember that both of them can be Super Stars on any given Saturday and it is very important not to ever count one of them out. For the Purple Team, Harris completed 3 of 10 for 73-yards and for the White Team, Harris completed 8 of 18 for 122-Yards, giving him 11 for 25 and 195-Yards and Three Touchdowns.
I was a little disappointed in the Running Backs, but Reminiscing again. If you remember back in the 2013 Spring Game, the Running Backs were really dominant as Jeremy Hill #33 was a Beast, running the Football and he did the same thing during the 2013 Football Season when he rushed for 1,401-Yards which was the Second-Most Rushing Yards in LSU History. In the 2013 Spring Game, Hill rushed for 51-yards on 8 carries in the First Half alone. Also remember that all of the Purple Team Second Team defensive players were keying on Hill on every single play and he still was able to get to the sideline on a couple plays and Juked on a couple others to get some extra yards.
In the 2014 Spring Game, RB Kenny Hilliard (6-0, 233, Sr-3L) was outstanding Running the Football in the Second Half as he led all Running Back rushers with 59-Yards on 16 carries and a Touchdown for the White Team. Hilliard #27 also caught one pass for 42-Yards, giving him 101 All-Purpose Yards. Big Fullback Melvin Jones (6-3, 245, So-1L) powered his way for 38-Yards on 12 carries and he also caught two passes for 10-Yards, giving him 48 All-Purpose Yards for the Purple Team. Also Remember that Harris rushed for 61-Yards for the White Team and 16-Yards for the Purple Team, giving him a Game-High 77-Yards Rushing Yards to go with his 195-Yards Passing and a Total of 272-Total Yards.
All LSU Fans can hardly wait until the Fall Football Season when their Outstanding Recruiting Class shows-up for practice. This great Top Five Recruiting Class will include the #1 Running Back in the Country in Leonard Fournette of New Orleans St Augustine (In Photo); the #1 WR in the Country in Malachi Dupre of John Curtis; and Super All-American WR Trey Quinn of Lake Charles Barbe and Former Teammate of DeSean Smith. I remember Quinn being outstanding in the Barbe Game that I went to see in 2013.
Now there are going to be some interesting things happen in the next few years and it is regarding the Wide Receivers. LSU has had Great and Absolutely Great Wide Receivers for many years and so it is going to be really interesting to see if any of these in the Fall will be able to match the enormous talents of Odell Beckham, Jr #3 and Jarvis Landry. Dural is the first player that comes to mind to replace Beckham and Landry, but don’t forget the Two All-Americans, Dupre and Quinn, that will be on Campus in the Fall. WR Quantavius Leslie (6-4, 180, Sr-SQ) and WR Rob Bolden (6-4, 209, Sr-SQ) are a couple of big, good-looking Senior Wide Receivers with a lot of potential and they could really surprise some people in the Fall. Also, don’t rule out WR John Diarse (6-1, 207, Fr-RS) who caught a great 33-Yard pass in the 2014 Spring Game on Saturday.
2014 LSU Football – Spring Awards
This is the list of the LSU 2014 Spring Training Award recipients which were handed out on the field after The Saturday LSU Spring Football Game:
Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award – (Outstanding performance in LSU Off-Season Program) – DE Danielle Hunter (6-6, 241, Jr-2L); LB Duke Riley (6-1, 208, So-1L); OG K.J. Malone (6-3, 290, Fr-RS); OC Ethan Pocic (6-7, 301, So-1L); WR Travin Dural #83 (6-2, 182, So-1L); DT Christian LaCouture (6-5, 298, So-1L); DE Lewis Neal (6-1, 238, So-1L); CB Tre’Davious White (5-11, 177, So-1L); Tre’ Sullivan, RB Terrence Magee (5-9, 214, Sr-2L); WR Luke Boyd (5-11, 184, Sr-SQ); and Jeff Lang. The Newcomer Award was Shared by CB Ed Paris #24 (6-0, 189, Fr-HS) and QB Brandon Harris (6-3, 185, Fr-HS).
Eric Andolsek Leadership Award – (Outstanding Leadership in Spring Drills – Offense) – OT La’el Collins #70 (6-5, 320, Sr-2L), FB Connor Neighbors (5-11, 239, Sr-2L), RB Kenny Hilliard (6-0, 233, Sr-3L), RB Terrence Magee 5-9, 214, Sr-2L), and OT Jerald Hawkins (6-6, 301, So-1L)
Mike Miley Leadership Award – (Outstanding Leadership in Spring Drills – Defense) – DE Danielle Hunter (6-6, 241, Jr-2L); DT Christian LaCouture (6-5, 298, So-1L); LB D.J. Welter (6-1, 226, Sr-1L); CB Jalen Mills 6-1, 189, Jr-2L); and FS Ronald Martin (6-1, 218, SR-3L).
Toby Caston Performance Award – (Outstanding Performance in Spring Drills – Defense) – LB Deion Jones #45 (6-2, 208, Jr-2L); CB Tre’Davious White (5-11, 177, So-1L); CB Rashard Robinson (6-1, 163, So-1L); DE Danielle Hunter (6-6, 241, Jr-2L); LB D.J. Welter (6-1, 226, Sr-1L), and LB Kwon Alexander (6-2, 218, Jr-2L).
Ralph Norwood Performance Award – (Outstanding Performance in Spring Drills – Offense) – RB Kenny Hilliard (6-0, 233, Sr-3L); OT La’el Collins (6-5, 315, Sr-3L); OC Elliott Porter (6-4, 300, Sr-2L); and OT Jerald Hawkins (6-6, 301, So-1L).
Jerry Stovall Special Teams Award – PK Colby Delahoussaye (5-10, 169, So1L); LS Reid Ferguson 6-2, 230, Jr-2L); and CB Tre’Davious White (5-11, 177, So-1L).
Overcoming Adversity Award – CB Dwayne Thomas (6-0, 181, So-1L); WR Quantavius Leslie (6-4, 175, Sr-SQ); and LB Lamar Louis (6-0, 216, Jr-2L).
Most Improved Award – (Players who have made the most improvement during Spring Drills) – FS Ronald Martin #26 (6-1, 218, Sr-3L); DE Lewis Neal (6-1, 238, So-1L); DT Quentin Thomas (6-3, 290, Jr-1L); TE Dillon Gordon (6-5, 286, Jr-2L); CB Dwayne Thomas (6-0, 181, So-1L); OG Hoko Fanaika (6-6, 348, Sr-1L); OG K.J. Malone (6-3, 290, Fr-RS); TE DeSean Smith (6-4, 241, So-1L); QB Anthony Jennings (6-2, 211, So-1L); and DE Tashawn Bower (6-5, 243, So-1L).
In High School, Martin was one of the best Wildcat Quarterbacks in the Country in the 2011 Recruiting Class and then at the 2010 Super Elite Top Gun Camp, he joined Beckham as the two MVP Wide Receivers at the Camp.
Coaches Award – FB Devante Meullion (5-10, 240, Jr-SQ); FB John David Moore (6-3, 214, Fr-RS); WR Chris LaBorde (5-11, 192, Jr-SQ); FS Tommy LeBeau (6-1, 190, Jr-1L); CB Tre’ Sullivan (5-9, 182, Sr-SQ); QB Brad Kragthorpe (6-0, 177, Jr-SQ); and OG Alex Cheramie (6-0, 280, Fr-RS).
Jimmy Taylor Award- (The comprehensive Spring Award for Outstanding Leadership, Effort and Performance) was won by MLB D.J. Welter (6-1, 226, Sr-1L).
Welter also shared two other Awards as he Shared The Mike Miley Defensive Leadership Award along with other Defensive Players, including DE Danielle Hunter, DT Christian LaCouture, CB Jalen Mills, and Injured FS Ronald Martin. His Third Award was The Toby Caston Performance Award as one of the Outstanding Performances in Spring Drills on Defense and he shared this Award with LB Deion Jones, CB Tre’Davious White, CB Rashard Robinson, DE Danielle Hunter, and LB Kwon Alexander.
Super Defensive Coordinator John Chavis is chatting with DE Michael “M.J.”Patterson. Coach Chavis had an unbelievable Nine of his LSU Defensive Players chosen in the 2013 NFL Draft and at least another Four LSU Players will go in the 2014 NFL Draft. Junior DE Danielle Hunter; plus Junior LB Kwon Alexander and Junior LB Deion Jones were Sensational, but Junior SLB Lamar Louis and Junior LB Ronnie Feist were also outstanding. Patterson (6-3, 215, Fr-RS) is a Sleeper, but he has great Potential and looks like he could become a really good Player in the Fall.