LSU’s weekend got off to a positive start with a commitment from Christian LaCouture, a 6-foot-5, 267-pound defensive lineman from Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest.
According to recruiting services, LaCouture committed Friday night during the start of his official recruiting visit to LSU.
LaCouture previously was committed to Texas A&M. He decommitted from A&M, pledged to Nebraska, then decommitted from the Cornhuskers last week, paving his way to switch to LSU on his visit.
LaCouture is projected as a defensive tackle by ESPN and Scout.com and a defensive end by 24/7 Sports and Rivals. He is rated as the nation’s No. 112 player by Scout, which gives LaCouture four stars as does 24/7 Sports. ESPN and Rivals give him three stars.
LSU now has 23 commitments for its Class of 2013, plus 2012 signee Avery Johnson, who is now attending Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. Johnson, the younger brother of former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, is expected to enroll in January.
The SEC allows its schools to sign a maximum of 25 players each year.
The Tigers are welcoming over 60 prospects to campus this weekend. Another huge official visit is from Hope Mills (N.C.) Southview defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (6-4, 285), who is expected to choose next week between LSU, Florida and Oklahoma.
LSU’s 2013 class is ranked No. 3 by Rivals, No. 5 by Scout, No. 10 by ESPN (as of Oct. 25) and No. 11 by 24/7 Sports.
Former LSU baseball player Ryan Theriot, who scored the game-winning run for the San Francisco Giants in their Game 4 World Series-clinching victory last Sunday, was recognized on the field before the game.
Theriot — who won a ring with the St. Louis Cardinals last year — also scored the winning run for LSU in the 2000 College World Series.
Among other notables at the game Saturday was former LSU football All-American and new College Football Hall of Fame inductee Charles Alexander, LSU basketball All-American Shaquille O’Neal, New Orleans Saints and former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, former LSU and current Saints reciever LSU and New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive and former LSU and San Diego Chargers running back Jacob Hester.
ESPN brought its popular “College GameDay” program back to LSU’s campus for the first time since the 2009 Florida game, drawing hundreds of fans to the LSU Parade Ground to cheer and jeer during the three hour-long show.
“It’s a great backdrop,” host Chris Fowler said. “Going to a place for the first time in three or four years is a fun thing for us, because it’s the first time for most of those students to come. We have a really good time coming here.”
As expected, LSU fans booed heartily when ESPN analyst Lee Corso put on an Alabama mascot elephant head to indicate he was picking the Crimson Tide to win.
The rest of ESPN’s analysts picked Bama, too.
The ESPN show will be broadcast next Saturday from the deck of the U.S.S. San Diego in San Diego Bay as part ESPN’s annual Veterans Day salute.
Bama streak ends
Alabama’s school-record streak of scoring 30 points or more to start a season came to an end against LSU.
In scoring 30 points or more in their first eight games, the Tide set a school record. That surpassed the old mark of five games, which it did in 1920, 1979 and 2009.
Alabama went into Saturday’s game leading the nation in three-and-outs, stopping opposing offenses 49.5 percent of the time without allowing a first down on a possession.
LSU got a first down on its first three drives, however, before the Tigers’ fourth possession ended when Jarvis Landry dropped a pass on third-and-6.
For the game, LSU had at least one first down on 9 of 13 possessions.
Crunching the numbers
LSU had six first downs on its first two possessions Saturday and eight by the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers managed just five first downs the entire game in their 21-0 loss to Alabama on Jan. 9 in the BCS National Championship Game.
Attendance on Saturday was 93,374, aided by the roughly 950 media credentials LSU issued. ... Expect an announcement Sunday on a kickoff time for LSU’s game next Saturday against Mississippi State. The game will either be on CBS at 2:30 p.m. or at night on ESPN. ... LSU officials said they issued a total of about 950 credentials for this game, which is believed to be a school record. … Former LSU track athletes Lolo Jones and Richard Thompson (LSU’s first three-time Olympic medalist from Trindad and Tobago) were recognized on the field before Saturday’s kickoff. Jones was the guest picker on “GameDay” (she picked LSU). … Former LSU All-American guard Alan Faneca served as guest captain. A six-time All-Pro selection, Faneca played 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals.
Advocate sportswriters Scott Rabalais and Sheldon Mickles and assistant sports editor Perryn Keys contributed to this report.