Three-star athlete Clifford Chattman from McDonogh 35 in New Orleans decommitted from LSU on Saturday, hours before the Tigers defeated Texas A&M 19-7 in Tiger Stadium.
He was the third recruit to decommit in the past week, joining 2016 quarterback Feleipe Franks and 2017 athlete Jacoby Stevens. Uncertainty with Les Miles’ future in Baton Rouge has played a part in all three, but it wasn’t necessarily the major driving force in Chattman’s decision.
Chattman said he hadn’t much contact with the LSU coaches in recent weeks. With legitimate interest coming from other schools, he opted to explore his options more seriously.
Chattman has already taken one official visit to Oklahoma but hasn’t set up any others yet. Chattman, at 6-foot-6, was projected to play safety or outside linebacker in LSU’s defense.
LSU has 17 commitments in the 2016 class, previously ranked No. 1 nationally before the recent rush of decommitments. The Tigers still have commitments from safety prospects Cameron Lewis and Eric Monroe, ranked No. 2 nationally at his position.
Hawkins, Smith return
LSU has seen three starters go down with season-ending injuries this season, but two banged-up Tigers returned against Texas A&M.
Left tackle Jerald Hawkins and tight end DeSean Smith, both juniors, suited up for the Tigers’ injury-riddled offense. Hawkins returned to the starting lineup with his injured ankle heavily taped, and Smith played more than he had all season.
With Hawkins sidelined against Ole Miss last week, coaches moved senior right tackle Vadal Alexander to the left side and inserted true freshman Toby Weathersby in Alexander’s place. Smith’s two-week absence, coupled with senior tight end Dillon Gordon’s season-ending Achilles injury earlier this season, left the Tigers with only two tight ends.
On Saturday night, Hawkins went toe-to-toe with sophomore defensive end Myles Garrett, the SEC’s sack leader. Garrett finished the night with six tackles, one sack and 1½ tackles for loss.
Smith caught a 22-yard pass in the second quarter for his fourth reception of the season.
Sophomore receiver John Diarse started in place of junior Travin Dural, who sustained a season-ending hamstring injury against Ole Miss. DJ Chark, a sophomore who has seen little playing time this season after turning heads last spring, regularly rotated at receiver.
Saturday afternoon, it was Gov. Bobby Jindal. Later that night, it was Shaquille O’Neal.
Both men voiced their support for Miles. O’Neal, a former NBA superstar who played college basketball at LSU, was on the sidelines during the Tigers’ clash with Texas A&M.
He defended Miles when SEC Network sideline reporter Maria Taylor asked for his thoughts on the coach’s situation.
“Whatever we do, it should be handled professionally,” O’Neal told Taylor. “The man shouldn’t have to read on the ticker tape that his job is in jeopardy. Hopefully he stays. A lot of people want him to stay. We should show him a lot more respect. Show the man some respect.”
Jindal posted a message on Twitter in support of Miles early Saturday morning. Jindal called the coach “a fantastic ambassador for our state.”
The Tigers honored their 14 seniors before kickoff.
The senior class posted two 10-win seasons and qualified for a bowl every year. Saturday night’s game marked only the third time the class took the field as an unranked team.
True freshman fullback Bry’Kiethon Mouton went to the locker room in the second quarter. He has played in place of sophomore JD Moore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. ... Captains were sophomore running back Leonard Fournette and five seniors: linebackers Deion Jones and Lamar Louis, defensive back Jalen Mills, offensive lineman Vadal Alexander and snapper Reid Ferguson. ... Senior punter Jamie Keehn booted a 63-yard punt in the first quarter, one yard shy of his career high. He kicked a 64-yarder in last year’s season opener against Wisconsin. ... Attendance for the game was 101,803.