Ed Orgeron

Ed Orgeron entertains a crowd Thursday night in Covington at his third Tiger Tour stop in a four-day stretch. 

LSU coach Ed Orgeron is “optimistic” that sophomore edge rusher Sci Martin will return from injury in time for the season, and linebacker Donnie Alexander will likely miss most of summer workouts while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Orgeron updated the status of several players during his Tiger Tour stop on the north shore Thursday night in Covington.

Martin, a McDonogh 35 standout who played in five games last year as a reserve to Arden Key, suffered a serious knee injury during the first week of spring practice, Orgeron confirmed. He declined to reveal details of the injury but hopes Martin will be healthy by the start of preseason camp. That’s not a certainty, though.

“It’s a lot better than we thought it was going to be,” he said of the injury. “I think we’ll get him back for the season, but I can’t … I’m optimistic that he’s going to be fine.”

Martin has not used his redshirt year, a possibility for 2017 if he does not get healthy quick enough. The Tigers played a majority of the spring without three buck linebackers, the outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid spot in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme: Martin, Isaiah Washington and Key.

Key is set to return in June from a leave of absence. Washington’s status remains uncertain, Orgeron said. He missed the final few weeks of spring for academic reasons.

Alexander, LSU’s projected starting inside linebacker, underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder during the first week of April. He remains in a sling, Orgeron said Thursday.

“It’s going to be a while,” Orgeron said of his recovery. “We expect him to be ready to go in camp.”

O on early signing date

Orgeron, a noted critic of the NCAA’s new early signing period, said this week that he hopes the new rule won’t interfere with teams’ postseason preparations.

“Here’s the deal: People don’t realize the manpower it takes for signing day,” Orgeron said Thursday. “Now, early signing period, you’re practicing for a bowl, may be playing in the finals, playing for the championship. It could be a distraction to your football team in preparation. Got to learn how to handle it.”

The NCAA’s new early signing period falls in mid-December. The traditional February signing day remains.

The NCAA is also allowing prospects to take official visits to campuses starting in the spring of their junior year of high school. So, this time next year, Orgeron could be hosting some of the nation’s biggest recruits.

Prospects were previously restricted from taking official visits until the start of their senior season. Most usually take them during the fall, including in early December and in late January.

“It just changes our whole calendar,” Orgeron said of the new rule. “Now, we’re going to have to adjust. We haven’t even discussed (spring visits)." 

Magee remains suspended, hires attorney

Redshirt sophomore Adrian Magee remains suspended after his arrest, and Orgeron will “let the process take place” in the case, he said Thursday.

A court date for his arraignment has not been set. Magee has hired Damico & Stockstill to represent him. The firm represents several LSU athletes. 

"He was arrested for a felony. Whether he is charged with a felony, I do not know," said Brent Stockstill, the attorney representing Magee. "He’s a first-time offender, so in most cases, a first time offender, the (district attorney) offers a pre-trial diversion. We haven’t proceeded far enough along to know whether that is possible."

Magee, a reserve his first two seasons at LSU, was booked for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, a felony. The burglary occurred at a West Chimes Street apartment April 1, according to a police report, and authorities made the arrest April 26.

Magee is accused of breaking open the door to the apartment and stealing an X-Box, six X-box games, $1,200 in cash, Gucci flip flops and a Bluetooth speaker. Magee returned some of the missing items and confessed to the burglary, the police report said.

Harris signs with North Carolina

Brandon Harris’ transfer to North Carolina, something he announced earlier this spring, is official.

The Tar Heels released a statement Friday announcing Harris had signed scholarship papers with the school, and that he’ll enroll after he completes courses this summer at LSU. Harris said he will finish school in June.

As a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately next season for North Carolina, and many college football analysts said he’ll start for the Tar Heels.

Eight Tigers graduate

Two current scholarship LSU football players, quarterback Danny Etling and offensive tackle K.J. Malone, graduated Friday, along with five former players. 

Walk-on linebacker Jonathan Rucker also graduated. Rucker and Malone graduated with degrees in interdisciplinary studies. Etling graduated in mass communications. 

Former tight end DeSean Smith (interdisciplinary studies), kicker Colby Delahoussaye (Master's in liberal arts), walk-on defensive end Justin Maclin (Master's in education), center Andy Dodd (interdisciplinary studies) and walk-on defensive back Brandon Surtain (studio art) also graduated. 

Watch list

LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch list released Friday.

LaCouture, a fifth-year senior originally from the northeast, is one of 42 college players on the list. Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, the Lott IMPACT Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.