LSU spring game set for April 5

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIGLSU quarterback Anthony Jennings scampers for a first down as the ref tries to keep up and  wide receiver Jarvis Landry signals first down during the second half of LSU's 31-27 win over Arkansas on Nov. 29 in Tiger Stadium. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIGLSU quarterback Anthony Jennings scampers for a first down as the ref tries to keep up and wide receiver Jarvis Landry signals first down during the second half of LSU's 31-27 win over Arkansas on Nov. 29 in Tiger Stadium.

LSU will begin spring football practice March 7 and the spring game is slated for April 5, the school announced Thursday.

The Tigers will hold 14 spring practices before the spring game: March 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 and April 1 and 3. A time for the spring game has not been set.

This will be Les Miles’ 10th spring practice as coach. For the first time in years, the Tigers enter drills without a clear favorite for the starting quarterback job, though many think Anthony Jennings has an edge.

Freshman Brandon Harris, sophomore Jennings, redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig, junior Stephen Rivers and senior Rob Bolden are expected to battle to replace Zach Mettenberger as the Tigers starter.

Harris, a four-star player ranked as the No. 3 dual-threat QB in the nation, enrolled early and will participate in spring.

“We took Brandon Harris. He will be as natural of a passer as we’ve been around,” Miles said Wednesday during a news conference announcing LSU’s 2014 signing class.

LSU also lost starting running back Jeremy Hill, its two top receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and its two starting defensive tackles, Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson.

Both of LSU’s safety spots appear to be open, too. Safety Ed Paris, a four-star prospect from Texas, is LSU’s other early enrollee. He’ll participate in spring practice, too.

Clark announcement Monday

LSU will not officially announce its 23rd signee, Oklahoma defensive end Deondre Clark, until Monday.

Clark, a four-star prospect, was expected to have a signing ceremony Thursday and the school had planned to announce his signing then. Snowy and icy conditions in Oklahoma City pushed the ceremony to Monday.

LSU has received Clark’s signed National Letter of Intent but is waiting to officially announce until Clark has the ceremony. That’s tentatively set for 2 p.m. Monday, according to reports in Oklahoma.

Clark, a longtime LSU commit, is a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder ranked as the 11th-best player at his position in 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings.

LSU at the combine

Eleven former LSU players have been invited to the NFL combine, according to a list of invitees posted on NFL.com Thursday.

The group includes all six LSU juniors who left early for the draft and Alfred Blue, a senior was passed on a fifth year of eligibility.

The entire group: running backs Hill and Blue, quarterback Mettenberger, Johnson and Ferguson, offensive guard Trai Turner, safety Craig Loston, Landry and Beckham, linebacker Lamin Barrow and fullback J.C. Copeland.

The combine is scheduled for Feb. 19-24 in Indianapolis. A record 85 underclassmen received invitations. Ninety-eight underclassmen entered the draft.

Tigers eighth in attendance

LSU finished No. 8 in college football attendance in 2013, the 14th straight year the school made the top 10.

LSU averaged 91,418 fans this past season, down by about 1,200 from 2012.

The Tigers finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference attendance behind Alabama (101,505), Tennessee (95,584) and Georgia (92,746) — all three of which currently have larger stadiums than LSU.

Eight SEC teams finished in the top 15 in attendance. Michigan was No. 1 with a 111,592 average and Ohio State was second with 104,933.

Tiger Stadium, which has a current capacity of about 92,542, is being expanded to seat about 100,000. The renovations are expected to be completed by the 2014 home opener, a Sept. 6 game against Sam Houston State.

McGaughey officially gone

Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is leaving to join the New York Jets, the school confirmed Thursday.

The Advocate reported the news Wednesday evening.

“This is a great opportunity for Thomas,” Miles said in a statement released by the school. “He will do a great job with the Jets. We wish Thomas and his family continued success in the future.”

McGaughey, 40, has been in charge of the Tigers special teams for three seasons. He’s also been designated as a “defensive assistant.”