Former LSU star says no outside influence on his decision: Former LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson says he “never had any type of relationship” with a man who runs a Texas-based recruiting service now under scrutiny by the NCAA. In a statement released by LSU today, Peterson says Willie Lyles of Complete Scouting Services had no influence on his decision to attend LSU and had no involvement with his recruiting process. Peterson, who is expected to be a high pick in next month’s NFL Draft, says he resents that his name has come up in allegations reported on ESPN.com that Lyles told former Texas A&M coach Van Malone the school would have to “beat” an $80,000 payment other schools were offering if they wanted Peterson to play for the Aggies. Malone is now an assistant defensive coach with Tulsa.
‘Remarkable’ player: LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery sees something familiar in freshman defensive tackle Anthony Johnson. “He reminds me of Drake Nevis,” Montgomery says, smiling. “He’s so silly. He clowns around, and he’s a lovable guy.” That’s not all Montgomery sees in Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 294-pound freshman from O. Perry Walker High in New Orleans, who enrolled early and is participating in spring practice. He sees the potential that was manifested in Nevis, LSU’s All-SEC tackle last season. “He’s remarkable,” Montgomery says. “He’s so fast, quick off the ball, and stays low. But he has a lot more things to learn.” Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard took advantage of the opportunity to enroll early, and it appears to be paying dividends. Johnson apparently is in the mix for playing time in the four-man rotation at defensive tackle, where the Tigers lost starters Nevis and Pep Levingston. Hilliard has a tougher hill to climb, with three returning backs ahead of him, but he’s also getting good reviews from older teammates.
Tigers already have six commitments: John Thomas, a tight end from Airline High in Bossier City, has committed to LSU. Thomas, who is 6-foot 6-inches and 225 pounds, is the sixth commitment to LSU’s 2012 recruiting class. Other early commitments for the Tigers are Avery Johnson, a wide receiver from Pompano Beach, Fla., and the younger brother of LSU All-American Patrick Peterson; Trey Granier, a middle linebacker from Thibodaux High; Toshiro Davis, a defensive end from Shreveport-Woodlawn; Ronnie Feist, a defensive end from West St. John; and Dillon Gordon, a tight end from John Curtis.
Play ball! The Major League Baseball season started today, and five former LSU players are on big-league rosters. Those players are Brad Hawpe, a first baseman with the San Diego Padres; Aaron Hill, an All-Star infielder with the Toronto Blue Jays; Ryan Theriot, an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals; Mike Fontenot, an infielder with the San Francisco Giants; and Brian Tallet, a left-handed pitcher with the Cardinals. One of the best-known former Tigers, Brian Wilson, the bearded relief pitcher who led the Giants to the World Series title last season, is on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. Wilson is eligible to be reactivated on Tuesday. Last season, nine former Tigers were on MLB rosters at one time or another during the season.