July 23, 2008

New faces energize LSU camp

BATON ROUGE, La. - Some new arrivals in Baton Rouge gave the LSU camp some fresh life on Tuesday morning. While Monday was a day for the big nasties featuring some premiere matchups between the offensive and defensive line, Tuesday saw some of the better matchups shift over to the skill positions.

The position groups that got the biggest shots in the arm were the linebackers and the running backs. At running back, the new arrivals included Rivals250 back Nile Davis and 2010 All-Everything running back Lache Seastrunk. The new linebackers included three-star Louisiana native Michael Lamothe, LSU commit Willie Ferrell out of Tallahassee, and Rivals250 member Barkevious Mingo.

With the elevated intensity level during the one-on-ones and seven-on-seven drills, a few certain players took the opportunity to make their presence felt.

Running Backs/Linebackers

Fresh off of the FBU Top Gun Camp in Orlando, Fla., Seastrunk made a major impact at the LSU camp, much like he does every time he hits a football field. Reportedly, Seastrunk tested out with a 4.3 40, a 37-inch vertical and a 10-5 standing broad jump. During the one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens, he made a similar splash.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder plays the game with so much energy and emotion that he adds excitement every time he is involved in a rep. He showed good hands and great change of direction and was creative with the ball after the catch.

  • Leesville, La. running back Michael Ford had some increased activity on Tuesday and showed why he was considered by many to be a candidate for the top player in the state heading into his junior season. On top of his impressive physique and conditioning, Ford showed good speed out of the backfield, soft hands and terrific feet in the morning agility stations. If early returns are any indication, he is in line for a monster senior season.

  • Fort Bend (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall running back Nile Davis continues to show that he is more than just a power back. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Davis displayed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and some surprising versatility.

  • At linebacker Monroe (La.) West Monroe's Barkevious Mingo is still finding his way. He still needs to add weight because he is too light for defensive end but he also is a little bit lost in pass coverage as a linebacker. At 6-foot-5, he has a tough time keeping up with backs such as Ford or Davis. The key with Mingo is upside. You can still see what coaches are so excited about with his burst and length but he is a couple of years away.

  • LSU commit Willie Ferrell was better in pass coverage at LSU than he was at his last camp performance in Gainesville. He did a much better job of reading the routes and showed some better hip flexibility. However, Ferrell is still not a fluid athlete in pass coverage and is definitely best coming down hill as a middle linebacker and playing inside a phone booth.

  • Three-star prospect Michael Lamothe and four-star Lamin Barrow were two of the other top linebackers on hand Tuesday both making their fair share of plays. Lamothe has great length and athleticism and probably has the ability to play inside or outside linebacker. Barrow continues to impress on the camp circuit but looks like he would really thrive in the pads because of his physical mentality.

    On the Rise

    Beaumont (Texas) Ozen wide receiver Willie Jefferson had another huge day. No one could stop him in 7-on-7. How could they? At 6-foot-7, with good speed, soft hands and cut like an NBA basketball player, Jefferson should see his stock skyrocket.

    If he can add weight to his frame, he will be a major force in any conference at tight end and already looks frightening as a situational player.

    Who was that?

    On Tuesday, there was a new face patrolling the secondary but it took some time to decipher who it was. Wearing a dark visor and no name tag on his helmet, this prospect looked like he had been playing the cornerback position since birth. He showed great hips, good instincts and a muscular frame and was probably the top cornerback on the field on Tuesday.

    The masked defender turned out to be Toney Hurd Jr., the 2010 prospect out of Missouri City (Texas) Fort Ben Marshall. Hurd has caught a few others eyes this offseason as well, earning verbal offers from Cal and Texas A&M before the start of his junior season.

    This and that

  • LSU commit Janzen Jackson sat out the activities on Tuesday spending most of the day with an ice pack on his shoulder. The speedy prospect insisted that the injury was not serious. Also on the mend was Chris Davenport, the newly committed five-star defensive tackle. Before committing to LSU on Tuesday, Davenport aggravated his meniscus and sat out the rest of the afternoon.

  • The highest rated running back in Louisiana, Dutchtown's Eddie Lacy made a surprise appearance on Tuesday afternoon. Lacy has been taking summer classes, working to get his grades up to par and found time to make it to the practice fields for one session.

  • SEC fans familiar with All-SEC tight end Richard Dickson may want to get familiar with his younger brother Travis Dickson. The 2010 prospect out of Ocean Springs, Miss., showed some very nice hands out of the backfield and good athleticism. He will be a youngster to watch.

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