Danielle Hunter’s veins are all the rage.
Hunter, LSU’s starting defensive end, has noticeable veins protruding from each arm. A photo of him during practice earlier this week — his vein-covered arms dangling beside him — has gone viral on social networking sites.
Teammate Logan Stokes, a tight end, told Hunter of the photo and showed it to the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder.
“I was like, ‘Damn, that’s a lot of veins,’ ” Hunter said he told Stokes.
Hunter, expected to be a key member of the 2014 defense, says his low body fat percentage is behind the unnatural veins that pop from each arm.
His body fat percentage is 4, Hunter said. Body fat percentage is a measure of total mass of fat divided by total body mass.
Normal body fat percentage is 10-20, but athletes tend to be in the single digits. Hunter said cornerback Jalen Mills may have the lowest body fat
Hunter said he has “one of the lowest for my size.”
DeSean Smith is everything a quarterback would want in a pass-catching tight end.
At 6-foot-5, 242 pounds, Smith’s size alone can make him a mismatch for opposing linebackers. That said, if his 2013 freshman campaign — he caught only one pass for 14 yards — proved anything, it’s that coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron felt Smith had to improve in some facet of his game.
As a young tight end, learning to block on a Southeastern Conference offensive line proved to be one aspect that held Smith back last season. For help, he turned to the three veterans on the roster, junior Dillon Gordon and seniors Travis Dickson and Logan Stokes.
“Dillon, Travis and Stokes would text us and say meet us up here to tell us we’re going on the bags,” Smith said. “We’re going to do it for 30 minutes. We’re not going to come out here and kill ourselves, and they really helped me with the little things. They took time out of their day to come help us, which they didn’t have to do. They showed leadership right there.”
Now Smith seemingly has the pointers he learned memorized to a tee.
“It’s just step, step, step, half-placement, half-placement, hands, hands, hands. That’s it,” Smith said.
Participating in separate practices the first four days, tailback Kenny Hilliard finally got a closer look at Leonard Fournette when they worked together for the first time Friday morning.
Like everyone else, Hilliard, a senior, had a favorable first impression of Fournette, the nation’s top-rated prospect in 2014.
“He’s good, man,” Hilliard said. “He’s just got to stay level-headed and continue to do the little things right, and he’ll be good.”
When asked if he was curious to see how the 6-foot-1, 224-pound Fournette would look in pads, Hilliard said, “He’s been playing football all his life; that’s what we do. He looked great from when he stepped out there with pads on and made a couple of good runs. That’s pretty much it, ya’ll know the rest.”
Valentine to be cleared
Florida defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, a four-star LSU signee, is expected to be cleared by the NCAA on Tuesday, Scout.com and 24/7 Sports reported Friday.
Valentine has missed the first few days of fall camp while waiting for the NCAA to clear him for practice. Valentine, of Hialeah, Florida, is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the class of 2014, according to 24/7 Sports composite rankings.
He’s the only member of LSU’s No. 2-ranked signing class who did not begin practice with the team on Monday.
LSU backup quarterback Jared Foster was at practice without a boot on his left foot/ankle. He did not practice, however. He was seen in a walking boot at Wednesday’s practice. He has a “minor” injury, a team spokesman said. ... LSU is already preparing for Wisconsin, Hunter said. The Tigers and Badgers meet in the season opener in Houston on Aug. 30. … A handful of NFL scouts were on hand for the first day of drills in full pads. Many of them appeared to be watching LSU’s secondary and defensive line.
Sheldon Mickles, Ross Dellenger, Lawrence Barreca
A closer look
1Friday’s first practice in full pads was full of crunching, mashing and bashing. The Tigers went through one-on-one goal-line tackling drills. Freshman running back Leonard Fournette participated in the goal-line drill, going up against freshman defensive back Devin Voorhies. With the team encircling him, coach Les Miles, who selects the players for the drill, announced Fournette, sparking “ooohs” from surrounding players.
2LSU freshman receiver Malachi Dupre was one of at least five players absent from practice Friday, but there’s not need to be worried. Dupre’s injury is just a tweak. He was seen walking out of the team’s football operations building after practices. He’s “fine,” a source said of the five-star wideout.
3LSU is expected to close practice for the rest of fall camp. Reporters were privy to about 10-20 minutes of individual drills each practice over the first five days of camp. That appears to be coming to an end.