LSU had a football season for the ages. Now, the Tigers are pulling in the bling befitting collegiate royalty.
By any and all measures, the season LSU football posted in 2019 was a historic one. LSU turned in a 12-0 regular season, with just three games — Texas (45-38), Auburn (23-20), Alabama (46-41) — decided by fewer than 14 points. And just one other game — Florida (42-28) — was decided by fewer than 21 points.
The postseason, though, was where the Bayou Bengal machine kicked it into high gear.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: LSU 37, Georgia 10
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL: LSU 63, Oklahoma 28
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIP: LSU 42, Clemson 25
In bullying its way to a perfect 15-0 record, LSU outscored its opponents 726-275. A slew of records, most of those on the offensive side of the ball, fell along the way. Joe Burrow claimed the Heisman Trophy, the first for a Tiger since Billy Cannon in 1959. Ed Orgeron received several Coach of the Year honors. And when it came to the next level?
In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, LSU saw five of its former players selected. That was one away from tying the record set by Miami in 2004. Friday night of the NFL draft, another five LSU football players were taken. The 10 Tigers selected tied the record Ohio State set in 2016 for most players selected through the first three rounds. When the dust finally settled Saturday evening, a record-tying 14 LSU football players had been drafted.
All of which, of course, leads us to the bling. Tuesday night, LSU unveiled not one. Not two. But three rings that will be distributed to its players and staff. One ring is LSU-issued. Another is for winning the SEC championship. The third is for winning the national championship.
Ed Orgeron has added to his extended LSU football staff. Again.
In March, Orgeron hired former LSU football player Bennie Logan to serve as a defensive analyst. Three months later, the head coach has brought in Manny Michel as another defensive analyst. Specifically, 247Sports.com notes, Michel will focus on the defensive line of the Tigers.
A native of Louisiana, Michel spent most of what was a three-decade-plus coaching career in the Pelican State. Michel served two different stints as the defensive line coach at Louisiana-Monroe. The first was from 1999-08, then again from 2016-17. In that first stretch with the Warhawks, Michel also served as co-defensive coordinator.
Following that second stint, however, Michel retired from coaching. Obviously, Orgeron was able to persuade the 60-year-old coach to return.
In addition to his time at ULM, Michel also coached the defensive line at McNeese State (2009-15) and Nicholls State (1995-98). At the latter, he was also defensive coordinator.
Michel also spent nearly a decade (1986-94) as an assistant at John Curtis Christian High School in Louisiana.
“Manny is a longtime assistant football coach in the state of Louisiana,” Orgeron said in confirming the addition. “He’s been at McNeese and been at Northeast Louisiana. He’s been a tremendous recruiter and he knows Louisiana inside and out. He is with us as an analyst.”
Michel will work under Bo Pelini, who was hired in late January to replace Dave Aranda. A little over a week earlier, Aranda was hired as the head coach at Baylor.
When it comes to the SEC and football, it just means more. The latest example?
Wednesday night, it was reported that LSU athletic director Scott Woodward intends for that university’s student-athletes to return to campus June 1. “I see sometime in June our student-athletes getting back to campus,” Woodward said according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
A day later, LSU executive deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry has stated that the SEC will vote May 22 on whether to bring student-athletes, including football players, back to campus June 1 or June 15. The inference there, of course, is that SEC football players will be back on campus at some point next month.
In mid-March, the SEC announced the suspension of all athletic activities, including spring football practice, until April 15. That suspension was then extended through the end of May.
The NCAA confirmed Wednesday that it was extending its recruiting dead period through the end of June. That means no in-person recruiting at all, including prospects visiting campuses and coaches conducting in-home visits with recruits.
LSU’s football coaches, incidentally, returned to the program’s facilities last Monday.
“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” head coach Ed Orgeron said. “Hopefully we’re about to move forward in the next couple of weeks.”
Oklahoma State is the latest to benefit from the football transfer portal.
Prior to the start of summer camp last year, Dee Anderson was indefinitely suspended by LSU because “[h]e had some conditioning stuff to get done.” That suspension extended into the regular season as the wide receiver missed the first two games of the year. In mid-September, head coach Ed Orgeron confirmed that the suspension would remain in place for the rest of the year.
Three months later, Anderson entered the NCAA transfer database. The redshirt junior receiver graduated from the university in mid-December. Then, in late February, Anderson intimated on social media that Oklahoma State could very well be his next football home.
Wednesday, Oklahoma State confirmed that Anderson is signed and added to its football roster. The day before, the receiver shared a photo of himself in a Cowboys uniform, with Boone Pickens Stadium as a backdrop.
Anderson was a four-star member of the LSU football 2016 recruiting class. His first two seasons in Baton Rouge, Anderson saw sporadic action. The 6-6, 229-pound Texas native then caught 20 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown in 2018.
Prior to the conditioning issue, Anderson had been expected to be a significant contributor in the passing game this past season.
Anderson will be eligible to play at OSU in 2020 as a graduate transfer. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
The addition would help backfill a position that’s been hit with attrition of late. This current cycle, a total of four OSU receivers have left.
In this day and age, it’s almost news if the defending national champion has a coordinator not making $1 million.
Such is no longer the case at LSU, where offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger is now in the seven figure club. According to Brody Miller of The Athletic, Ensminger, who made $800,000 in 2019, will see his raise approved in a meeting of LSU’s board of supervisors on Thursday.
Ensminger will take over as LSU’s sole offensive coordinator after Joe Brady departed for the Carolina Panthers. For a moment there, Ensminger was paid less than Brady’s replacement and his purported subordinate in passing game coordinator Scott Linehan, who will earn $807,000 in 2020.
Additionally, offensive line coach James Cregg ($675,000), safeties coach Bill Busch ($425,000), and wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph ($400,000) all received one-year extensions.
Despite losing Brady, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, running backs coach Tommie Robinson and their combined $3.5 million in salary — Aranda and Robinson were the highest-paid in their positions across college football — LSU will pay just shy of $3 million more for its coaching staff than it did in 2019. Even when subtracting Ed Orgeron‘s $2 million raise, LSU’s assistants will earn $930,000 and change more than they did last year.