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Hashing through LSU’s coaching announcements, subsequent recruiting news

Ed Orgeron will be LSU’s football coaching moving forward, Athletic Director Joe Alleva announced Saturday after a week-long whirlwind of rumors linked Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman to the position.

And within just four days, the subsequent news and developments have given fans little opportunity to catch their breath.

Most notably and anticipated, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will remain on board — with a pay raise and extension at that — while the Tigers have parted ways with special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto.

A pair of prospects with longstanding relationships with Orgeron took steps away from LSU.

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Injured-plagued underdog, NOLA native Chelsea Hayes knocking on door of Olympic return

Chelsea Hayes runs toward long jump

New Orleans native and Louisiana Tech product Chelsea Hayes has been determined to overcome a string of injuries and qualify for her second Olympics. (Courtesy of John Nutt)

That same little giggle somehow punctuates even the most disappointing and frustrating moments as Chelsea Hayes vents through the past four years.

A fractured back, a bulging disc, severe patellar tendonitis in her right knee, tendonitis in her left and injuries to her groin, hip flexor and abductor among other areas haven’t been able to wear away the wide, infectious smile not even Hurricane Katrina could dampen for long.

And so the 2012 U.S. Olympian returned to Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday for this week’s Olympic Trials in search of an against-all-odds, storybook finish to her rollercoaster coming of age.

“The thing was: Katrina, we lost everything — we even lost family members,” says Hayes, who will compete in the long jump Friday evening. “So I wouldn’t put (the past four years) on that same platform. It was pretty tough. It was pretty stressful. There were times I questioned my ability. There were times that I questioned whether I should keep going forward with this.

“‘What should I do? Is this for me? Was my last calling in London? Should I keep going forward?’

“But I just think about, ‘I’ve been through Katrina. I lost everything, and that thing that kept me going was track and field.’ That got me out of New Orleans. I don’t know where I would be without track. Track got me to college. So that’s why I feel like, no matter what, at the end of the day, you can take everything from me, but you’re not gonna take away my ability to compete and my ability to keep fighting.”

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Thibodaux’s Amik Robertson established himself among Louisiana’s top DBs — even with a torn ACL

No other defensive backs appeared in any hurry to match up against Devonta Smith.

So Amik Robertson headed to the line against the Amite star, arguably Louisiana’s top wide receiver for the 2017 recruiting class.

“I had heard a lot of guys before the drill kind of like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do this,’ or ‘I’m gonna do that,’” Robertson explains, setting the scene of the Jan. 24 camp in New Orleans. “So when one-on-one drills started, Devonta was the first one up there to start running routes. Me, being the underdog, I didn’t want to be too greedy, so I didn’t wanna fly up there. But I didn’t see anyone go up there, so me as a competitive guy, me and him went face to face.

Amik Robertson scores touchdown

Thibodaux standout Amik Robertson established himself as one of Louisiana’s best 2017 cornerback prospects — even while playing on an undiagnosed torn ACL. (Courtesy of Klint Landry)

“It was good D, but he winded up catching the ball, because his feet were so big, and when we were wrestling for the ball, I ended up tripping up with his feet and falling. But at the end of the day, I knew it was good D, but that I just made one false step.”

The exchange was a minor and rare misstep on an afternoon in which the Thibodaux standout bolstered his case as one of the state’s top prospects.

A bigger challenge to his confidence was waiting at home where his father, Arthur Watts, had received a surprising message from the doctor Amik had visited that week for what he considered a precautionary visit.

“I just figured it was probably some soreness or something,” Amik remembers, “Until they said, ‘No, it’s a torn ACL.’ And that’s when I just broke down. I didn’t know what to do.

“It was really a big stab in my heart because I had put in a lot of work. I put a lot of work in, and to just have a devastating injury like that, I was thinking, ‘Why would God choose me out of everybody — out of everybody — when I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing, just trying to get better?’ By me tearing my ACL, I just thought it was the end for me.”

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