It’s the day that is the shimmering horizon piercing the stifling heat of an LSU football fan’s long summer.

LSU football players report to campus Wednesday. And so the work begins.

A month of preparation lies ahead of the 100-plus Tigers who will move into LSU’s West Campus Apartments, giddy expectations riding on their shoulder pads.

For now, it’s just a get checked in and get acquainted day, the only sweat coming from lugging boxes and clothes and TVs and video game consoles into their new digs.

The Tigers are all expected to report by noon. After that, it’s an afternoon of equipment fittings and physicals with LSU’s training staff.

Two LSU signees won’t be among those reporting Wednesday, according to sports information director Michael Bonnette.

Mickey Johnson, a 5-foot-11, 310-pound defensive tackle from St. Paul’s in Covington, has yet to be given the OK by the NCAA Clearinghouse, Bonnette said.

Also not reporting will be St. James wide receiver Alonzo Lewis (6-3, 205).

LSU players hit the practice field Thursday. Returning varsity players will work out in the morning, while incoming freshmen and selected varsity players will practice in the afternoon.

The Tigers will also have split squad workouts on Friday before coming together for their first full-squad practice Saturday.

The players will see a gradual ramping up of intensity through the first few days of practice.

The first two days the Tigers will be in shorts and helmets. Players will don shoulder pads Saturday and Sunday and will have their first full pads workout Monday.

An 11-2 season (6-2 Southeastern Conference), capped by a 41-24 Cotton Bowl thrashing of Texas A&M, has LSU tabbed as a prime national championship contender heading into 2011.

The Tigers return 16 starters (nine offense, seven defense) and 52 letterwinners on a team expected to be ranked in the top five when the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll is released Friday.

The Associated Press preseason media poll will come out Aug. 20.

The Tigers open the season against another team expected to be ranked near the top: the Oregon Ducks. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a game being billed as the Cowboys Classic.

ABC will televise the showdown and ESPN’s College Game Day program will broadcast live on site.

LSU Fan Day set

LSU released more details Tuesday on its annual Fan Day activities, set for Saturday, Aug. 13.

Doors open for the event at 3 p.m., with members of the LSU soccer team signing autographs in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU cheerleaders and Mike the Tiger will sign autographs at the Carl Maddox Field House.

The autograph session for LSU football coaches and athletes will be from 4-6 p.m.

Coach Les Miles and his offensive coaches and players will be in the Maddox Field House. Defensive and special teams coaches and players will be in the PMAC.

LSU souvenir stands will be set up at both venues. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive an LSU fan day gift bag.