Top LSU athletes of 2016-17

Mike Scarborough, Publisher
Tiger Bait

LSU’s athletic year came to an end last Tuesday when the Tigers finished as national runners-up in baseball. Two LSU teams won Southeastern Conference championships – baseball and gymnastics. Listed below are the five top athletes of the 2016-17 school year.

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Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

1. SAM BURNS, MEN’S GOLF

6-1, So., Shreveport

LSU football and baseball players were not the only Tigers athletes to leave school early for professional sports. Burns opted to turn pro following his sophomore season in which he won the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award. Burns, who was the SEC Golfer of the Year, was a PING first-team All-American. Burns, who was the SEC Golfer of the Year, won the Baton Rouge Regional championship. Burns was the first LSU golfer to be named National Player of the Year. Burns won four tournaments – two in the fall and two in the spring. For 43 rounds, his stroke average was a school-record 70.04. Burns finished in the top ten in 14 of the 15 events in which he participated. He tied for ninth in the SEC Championships.

2. ASHLEIGH GNAT, GYMNASTICS

5-0, Sr., Lake Mary (Fla.)

Gnat wrapped up a record-breaking LSU career by winning the national championship in floor exercises with a 9.9625 score. She was the third Tigers gymnast to win the floor national title. Gnat was the winner of the AAI Award, which goes to the best senior gymnast in the country. Gnat, who was selected the SEC Specialist of the Year for a second time, was a finalist for the Honda Award, which goes to the top gymnast in the country. Gnat was the SEC champion in three events – vault, beam and floor exercises. She won 12 floor titles in 2017 which set a school record.

3. TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE, FOOTBALL

6-0, 195, Sr., Shreveport

A four-year starter, White was a consensus All-American in his final season. White, who wore jersey No. 18 for two seasons, was the leader of the LSU defense. White was a first-team All-SEC selection as well as a finalist for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the best defensive back in the country. Just 42 percent of opposing quarterbacks’ passes targeted against White were completed – the lowest percentage among all cornerbacks in the country. He was credited with 14 pass breakups – the tenth most for a LSU defensive back in a single season. White made 35 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage, and intercepted two passes. White was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills.

4. ALEIA HOBBS, WOMEN’S TRACK

5-8, Jr., New Orleans

Hobbs won three SEC championships during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Hobbs was the 60-meter champion in the SEC Indoor Championships with a time of 7.18 seconds. She then won the 100-meters at the SEC Outdoor Championships with a time of 11.12 seconds. Hobbs also ran the anchor leg of LSU’s 4x100 meter-relay team, which won the title at the SEC Outdoor Championships. The Lady Tigers had a winning time of 42.56 seconds. Hobbs was named the SEC’s Outdoor Runner of the Year. Hobbs finished fifth in the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships.

5. JAMAL ADAMS, FOOTBALL

6-1, 215, Jr., Lewisville (Tex.)

A hard-hitting safety, Adams capped his 2017 season by being named to a pair of All-America teams. Adams was also a first-team All-SEC selection. Adams was No. 3 on the team in tackles with 76, including 7½ behind the line of scrimmage. Adams registered four pass breakups and one interception. He forced one fumble and recovered one fumble. Adams was a first-round draft pick of the New York Jets.

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