LSU notebook: Recruit Johnson is academically cleared

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Drew Alleman kicks LSU's final field goal attempt, which was no good, as punter Brad Wing holds and tight end Chase Clement blocks Alabama defensive back Deion Belue late in the second half against Alabama on Nov. 3 at Tiger Stadium. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Drew Alleman kicks LSU's final field goal attempt, which was no good, as punter Brad Wing holds and tight end Chase Clement blocks Alabama defensive back Deion Belue late in the second half against Alabama on Nov. 3 at Tiger Stadium.

LSU wide receiver recruit Avery Johnson was academically cleared to play and plans to enroll in January, according to his father, Patrick Peterson Sr.

Johnson, younger brother of former LSU All-American Patrick Peterson, signed in February but was academically ineligible. He is playing this season at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy.

Since LSU ended up signing 21 players in February — four below the total allowed by the SEC — Johnson could count toward the 2012 class instead of 2013.

Several other early enrollees could also be back counters, including junior college transfer receiver Quantavius Leslie, junior college tight end Logan Stokes, quarterbacks Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings, offensive tackle Ethan Pocic and defensive end Christian LaCouture.

LSU has maintained contact with junior college prospect Fehoko Fanaika, a defensive lineman who also signed in February but was academically ineligible.

Alleman tweaks technique

LSU kicker Drew Alleman said his kicking coach — Chris Shaw, a former Louisiana-Lafayette kicker now with Kick Nation in Dallas — watched the Alabama game Nov. 3 on television and told his wife before the last field goal, “He’s going to pull it left.”

That’s what happened on the 45-yard try with 1:34 to play, a miss that set the stage for A.J. McCarron and the rest of the Alabama offense on its winning drive.

Alleman said he takes three steps back and two to his left, but his last step to the side was short before the kick. He said the short step left him “tighter,” so he pulled the kick.

Just as Shaw predicted.

“I really focused big time on that last week, and it’s something I’ve got to continue to do in the future,” Alleman said.

Alleman finished the Alabama game 1-for-3 with a first-half miss from 54 yards but bounced back with a 3-for-3 effirt last week against Mississippi State.

Shaw called Alleman three days after the Alabama loss and told him he watched the late field goal try “over and over.”

Seeing six

LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo hasn’t scored a touchdown since high school. He put himself in position to change that late in the first quarter of Saturday’s win.

With the Bulldogs nursing a 7-6 lead, Mississippi State running back Derrick Milton lost the ball deep the backfield. Mingo chased the bouncing ball and got his hands on it, but the former West Monroe track star couldn’t tuck it away with 30 yards of open field in front of him.

“I just knew it was going to bounce in my hands, and it actually did,” Mingo said. “I just wasn’t ready for it. Just overran it. It bounced right where I thought it would be.”

Linebacker Lamin Barrow was right behind him to pounce on the ball, leading to a Zach Mettenberger touchdown pass that gave LSU the lead for good.

Meet you at the QB

Mingo and fellow junior Sam Montgomery give LSU a pair of bookends projected to go early in the first round of the NFL draft this spring. On back-to-back plays late in Saturday’s victory, Mingo and Montgomery showed why.

Montgomery sacked State quarterback Tyler Russell on third-and-4 from the LSU 14, then Mingo dropped him on fourth-and-11.

“I hadn’t met the quarterback with my buddy in a long time,” Montgomery said. “It really meant a lot to me.”

Montgomery has six sacks this season, and Mingo has four.

Advocate sportswriters
Scott Hotard and Les East
contributed to this report.