LSU football’s incoming class finds another place to shine

LSU freshmen having an impact on football fields and bowling lanes

Garrett Brumfield rolled his bowling ball down the lane. It knocked over all of the pins, and the offensive guard out of University High raced the opposite direction, roaring with excitement.

Turns out these LSU freshmen are good at more than just football.

Members of the nation’s No. 2 signing class are making an immediate impact in their first two weeks in Baton Rouge — on the football field, in the bowling alley and on the putting green.

The class, which includes four five-star prospects, and the rest of the team gathered Tuesday for a team outing at All Star Lanes on Airline Highway.

It was a get-away from a trying summer schedule: classwork, weightlifting, agility drills, mile runs and 7-on-7 matches, which are player-run and pass-heavy scrimmages.

At least a couple of the highly touted signees are proving their lofty reputations.

“Leonard Fournette and Malachi Dupre,” senior linebacker D.J. Welter said. “They’ve definitely had some flashes here and there, and you’re like, ‘That guy is definitely a five-star.’ You can see the flashes of why they were ranked so high.”

Les Miles and his coaching staff, under NCAA rules, are not allowed to watch 7-on-7 workouts. They hear about them, though.

“Certain 7-on-7s have been very exciting with the young receivers,” Miles said. “The young receivers look very capable.”

That includes Dupre, the No. 2 receiver in the nation out of John Curtis, and Trey Quinn, the 11th-best wideout nationally from Barbe.

The stud duo and the rest of the freshman class are expected to fill holes for an LSU squad that’ll be missing a host of its top skill players from a season ago.

Miles said Tuesday that he expects more than 15 true freshmen to play this year. It’ll be a who’s-who list of the nation’s best, highly ranked players who spent Tuesday night bowling and putt-putt golfing.

Fournette and Dupre were on the same team in the bowling alley, and Brumfield was in the lane beside them. On the far end in lane No. 1 was quarterback Brandon Harris — a lanky, dual-threat guy expected to challenge sophomore Anthony Jennings for the starting quarterback job during fall camp.

Freshmen were not allowed to speak with reporters.

Jennings, after completing his round of putt-putt, weighed in on a rookie class that only Alabama topped in the national rankings.

“We have a lot of guys who are going to be impact players,” he said.

And how about that quarterback battle?

“I came here to compete with the best of them,” he said. “Every year, they’re going to bring in somebody that’s going to compete for your job.”

Freshmen reported to campus June 6, and summer school began three days later. That’s when a grinding summer schedule began. The team lifts weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and runs Tuesday and Thursday. They meet with position coaches Wednesdays.

All but just two members of the star-studded class have reported. Offensive lineman Jevonte Domond, a junior-college transfer from Arizona, and defensive tackle Travonte Valentine are the only ones missing. Both four-star recruits, they’re expected to enroll in August after completing summer course work.

Absent during Tuesday’s trip was defensive back Jalen Mills, who is indefinitely suspended from the team after his arrest for second-degree battery June 11. Miles is not commenting on Mills’ situation until the legal process runs its course.

Mills, expected to be LSU’s starting safety, has not been officially charged. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said Tuesday that he’ll determine whether charges will be brought against Mills. He does not plan to bring the case to a grand jury.

Meanwhile, LSU continues team activities without Mills. That includes witnessing some eye-popping plays from the freshmen.

While Dupre and Fournette grab most of the attention, safety Jamal Adams, Brumfield and Quinn were all mentioned Tuesday as freshmen who have caught their peers’ eyes.

“They’re some real talented guys,” linebacker Kendell Beckwith said.

Said receiver Travin Dural: “They’re looking good.”