Punter to make announcement Tuesday
ATLANTA — LSU punter Brad Wing will start the new year by announcing his plans for his football future.
Wing tweeted shortly before kickoff of the Chick-fil-A Bowl that there would be an “announcement regarding my future coming tomorrow.”
Wing was suspended for the bowl game for a violation of unspecified team rules and was replaced by fellow Australian Jamie Keehn. There has been widespread speculation that Wing would turn pro as an eligible third-year sophomore.
Wing averaged 44.8 yards on 59 punts this season. Keehn averaged 44.6 yards on nine punts Monday.
LSU wore its traditional white jerseys for the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson, but with a few new tweaks.
The numbers on LSU’s jerseys were narrower, smaller and slightly more vertical. Assistant sports information director Bill Martin said the numbers were an experimental new style by Nike.
LSU’s jerseys also included a longer purple and gold stripe around the shoulder in more of a so-called UCLA look. LSU players also wore new cleats and gloves.
No. 1 says LSU in top two
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s consensus No. 1 prospect for 2013, told ESPN on Sunday that LSU and Ole Miss are his top two teams at this point.
Nkemdiche (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) plays at Grayson High School in nearby Logansville, Ga., just east of Atlanta. Nkemdiche is at Walt Disney World preparing for the Under Armour All-American Game, Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla. (4 p.m. CST, ESPN).
Nkemdiche, who decommitted from Clemson in November, has yet to take any official visits.
He said Alabama and Florida are also in the mix, as is Clemson.
Ole Miss figures prominently in Nkemdiche’s recruitment because his older brother Denzel is a linebacker for the Rebels, but indicated they don’t lead without saying LSU is his front runner.
“Ole Miss and LSU would be my top two right now,” Nkemdiche said. “I would not say Ole Miss is on top, but they are up there really high.”
Nkemdiche denied a report by the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he made a silent commitment to LSU before committing to Clemson last summer, but did say “I love LSU and (it is) a great school.”
Clemson’s offense suffered a major blow on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins, lined up in the backfield, carried the ball on a run and fumbled as he was hit by Barkevious Mingo.
Watkins was helped off, unable to put weight on his right foot. X-rays were negative but Watkins was unable to return.
Mingo finished the game in the locker room with an injury to his midsection. LSU had a number of other players who were shaken up at various times, including linebacker Kevin Minter, who returned and earned defensive MVP honors with 19 tackles.
Hill makes mark
LSU tailback Jeremy Hill recorded his 11th and 12th touchdowns of the season to start each half, breaking the freshman school record of 11 set by Dalton Hilliard in his freshman season in 1982.
Hill had 12 carries for 124 yards, most of that on his TD runs of 17 and 57 yards.
Did you know?
Bennie Logan’s blocked extra point was the first by an LSU player since Mark Roman had one against Kentucky on Oct. 17, 1998. Logan blocked a field goal in the regular-season finale at Arkansas.
Two by three
This was only LSU’s second loss in 38 non-conference games under Les Miles. The other was a 19-17 loss to Penn State in the 2010 Capital One Bowl, two defeats by a combined total of three points.
DeAndre Hopkins shattered Clemson’s single-season receiving yardage record set last year by Watkins with 1,219 yards.
Hopkins finished with 1,405 yards after reeling in 13 passes for 191 yards and two TDs against LSU.
HOF plans set
Groundbreaking on the new College Football Hall of Fame here in Atlanta on Jan. 28 with an opening set for August 2014, according to the National Football Foundation.
The new hall of fame will be located just east of the Georgia Dome near Centennial Olympic Park.
Hall of fame induction ceremonies will be paired with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game starting in 2014.
The College Football Hall of Fame has been located in South Bend, Ind., but suffered from poor attendance and closed Sunday.
Senior wide receiver Russell Shepard did not have a single catch or carry in his final LSU game. ... LSU is now 22-21-1 in bowl games, including a 2-1 mark against Clemson. ... By halftime (14-13 LSU) this was already the highest-scoring LSU-Clemson game ever. LSU beat Clemson 7-0 in the 1959 Sugar Bowl and 10-7 in the 1996 Peach Bowl. … Referees from the Big Ten worked Monday’s game. … LSU lost the coin toss, as it did nine times this season. … LSU was 9-1 in the Georgia Dome entering the game and 5-0 in the Chick-fil-A (formerly Peach) Bowl. … LSU opens the 2013 regular season Aug. 31 against TCU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas.
The last word
“It’s tough. We’ve been through so much together, and good or bad, this is a memory that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
Sixth-year LSU OL Josh Dworaczyk