Safety Micah Eugene has left the LSU football team, a source said.
Eugene, a sophomore from Lafayette, started two games and played in every game this season aside from the final two against Texas A&M and Arkansas. He redshirted his freshman season and played in all 13 games in 2012.
Eugene, a three-star rated prospect out of Acadiana High in 2010-11, did not report to the team for bowl practice.
A school spokesman declined comment when reached Wednesday.
Eugene had struggled late in the year after drawing the start in games against Kent State and Auburn. He slipped down the depth chart recently, moving from second string to third string behind starter Craig Loston and Corey Thompson.
LSU has had issues at the safety position opposite Loston. Ronald Martin began the year as the starter. Eugene filled in for two games and then Thompson took over the spot.
Thompson missed the regular-season finale with Arkansas after suffering a season-ending knee injury against Texas A&M the week before.
However, Eugene did not draw the start or play in place of Thompson. Instead, true freshman Rickey Jefferson got the starting nod opposite Loston.
Jefferson struggled and Jalen Mills moved from his position at cornerback to replace him. True freshman Rashard Robinson took Mills’ corner spot.
Eugene was best known for his role in LSU’s Mustang package, a pass-rushing scheme that includes six defensive backs. Eugene was used as a blitzing DB off the edge, a role Dwayne Thomas took over late in the year.
Safety is a position in which LSU is targeting during this recruiting season. Ed Paris, a highly rated safety from Texas, signed early with the Tigers last month and is set to enroll in January. LSU is also targeting a highly ranked safety prospect from Texas, Jamal Adams.
Beckham honored again
LSU wide receiver/return specialist Odell Beckham Jr. added to his collection of honors as he was named to the Football Writers Association of America’s All-America first team as a kick returner, the organization announced Wednesday.
Jones de-commits from Bama
Laurence “Hootie” Jones, a five-star safety from Neville High, announced Wednesday on Twitter that he de-committed from Alabama.
“I just decommit from Alabama, i need more time.!” Jones tweeted.
Jones committed to Alabama over LSU on Dec. 2. He’s rated five stars by at least one recruiting website and is no worse than the sixth-best safety prospect in the nation.
It’s unclear what other schools Jones is now considering, but this is likely good news for the Tigers.
According to multiple recruiting services, Jones was torn between Alabama and LSU even minutes before committing during a ceremony at his high school.
LSU has 16 commits in its 2014 class. Several highly ranked LSU targets are expected to announce their commitments at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cornerback Tony Brown and Adams, both of Texas, and highly rated in-state stars running back Leonard Fournette, defensive end Gerald Willis and receiver Devante Noil are all set to announce during the Under Armour game.
On Tuesday, five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett committed to LSU.
Some feel Jones, 6-2, 210 pounds, might play more as a linebacker in college.
“I don’t think he’s a safety at the next level,” said Mike Scarborough, publisher and recruiting analyst at TigerBait.com, the Rivals.com affiliate. “I think he’s a linebacker.”
The de-commitment re-ignites, likely, one of many recruiting battles between LSU and Alabama, two schools fighting over a host of Louisiana talent in a banner year for the state.
Hill, others want NFL opinion
Running back Jeremy Hill, one of LSU’s many draft-eligible players, has requested an opinion from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, a panel of pro scouts who offer evaluations to college players interested in leaving early.
Hill said most, if not all, of LSU’s draft-eligible players have done the same. Those players projected to get selected between the second and fourth rounds of the draft include receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson and draft-eligible sophomore left tackle La’el Collins.
Hill, a sophomore who is draft eligible, doesn’t expect to hear back from the advisory board until after No. 14 LSU’s game against Iowa in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Hill and other LSU players said this week that their focus is on Iowa and that they won’t seriously begin thinking about the draft decision until January.
Coach Les Miles has met with a couple of juniors about the decision, he said Monday.
Hawkins returning soon
Starting right guard Jerald Hawkins, injured in the fourth quarter of the regular-season finale against Arkansas, expects to return to practice soon, he said.
Hawkins suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament against the Razorbacks.
Forbes values LSU
Forbes Magazine has ranked the LSU football program as the fourth most valuable team in college football with worth of $105 million, the magazine reported Wednesday.
LSU trails Texas ($139 million), Notre Dame ($117 million) and Alabama ($110 million). Michigan is fifth at $100 million. Florida at No. 6 and Georgia at No. 8 are the only other two Southeastern Conference teams in the top 10.
Other SEC teams in the Top 25 include Auburn at No. 11, Arkansas at No. 12, Texas A&M at No. 14, South Carolina at No. 18 and Tennessee at No. 20.