The battle for Laurence “Hootie” Jones’ commitment apparently will drag on a bit longer than planned.
Jones, a consensus four-star safety from Monroe’s Neville High, reconfirmed Monday night on the “Off the Bench” radio show on WNXX-FM (104.5) that he would announce his choice Nov. 15 between LSU and Alabama. A day later, Jones said on Twitter that he will push back his announcement to Nov. 25.
According to 24/7 Sports, LSU apparently convinced Jones to hold off on an official visit to Baton Rouge with his mother for the Nov. 23 Texas A&M game. On Monday, Jones had said he was considering an official visit to LSU this Saturday for the Furman game (6 p.m., TigerVision).
Jones is expected to make an official visit to Alabama for the LSU game Nov. 9. LSU, which some say is trailing in the race for Jones’ commitment, would get to make the all-important last impression before he announces his decision if his plans hold.
Jones is ranked No. 24 nationally by ESPN, No. 33 by Rivals, No. 40 by 24/7 Sports and No. 61 by Scout. He’s the No. 4 prospect in Louisiana according to ESPN and Rivals, No. 6 according to Scout and 24/7 Sports.
Know your enemy
Most LSU fans probably would be challenged to know much about Furman, the Tigers’ homecoming opponent, but quarterback Zach Mettenberger is quite familiar with the school.
Asked what a Paladin — Furman’s nickname — is, Mettenberger didn’t hesitate.
“A Paladin is a knight,” he said. “I used to go to Furman camps every summer as a child, so I know a Paladin fairly well.”
Furman’s campus in Greenville, S.C., is about an hour and a half from Mettenberger’s hometown of Watkinsville, Ga., just outside Athens.
Mettenberger was asked if he took one of his official visits to Furman when he was being recruited.
“I did not,” he said. “I did not want to be a Paladin.”
Mett nearing mark
With 2,164 passing yards this season, Mettenberger is 336 yards shy of becoming the first player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 yards or more in back-to-back seasons.
Mettenberger threw for 2,609 yards as a junior last season, his first as the Tigers’ starter.
Game day ranking
It’s hard to say how LSU fans will feel about this one.
A recent poll by USA Today asked people to vote on the 10 best college game day ambiances across the nation. As expected, LSU ranked in the top 10, one spot ahead of Alabama.
But LSU came in at No. 9. The top eight: Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State and Ohio State.
LSU will be looking to extend its Football Bowl Subdivision record 44-game nonconference regular-season winning streak against Furman. The Tigers’ streak dates to a 26-8 season-opening loss in 2002 at Virginia Tech.
LSU is 21-1 under coach Les Miles after a loss. He’s 27-0 in nonconference games in Tiger Stadium.
Saturday’s game will be the first meeting in football between LSU and Furman. The Tigers are 8-0 all time against Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) teams. LSU is 4-0 against teams from the Southern Conference: 2-0 against Appalachian State, 1-0 against Western Carolina and 1-0 against The Citadel.
Crunching the numbers
If the season ended today, LSU’s defense would rank as its worst statistically since 2001.
The Tigers are surrendering 370.9 yards per game. The last time LSU gave up more yards per game was 12 years ago, when the Tigers allowed 396.0 yards per game.
LSU is allowing 22.6 points per game, the most since 2008 (24.2) but still ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers are sixth in the SEC in total defense.
Conversely if the season ended today, LSU’s offense would set records for points and yards per game. The Tigers are averaging 456.0 yards and 39.2 points.
Advocate sportswriter Les East contributed.