You all know I like to take the different perspective at everything and this is no different.
1. Ryan Perrilloux (minus the off-field transgressions). - We all know we would have liked to have seen more of him and see what this 5-star talent could do on the field and not seeing more of his off-field problems.
2. Cecil Collins (see Perrilloux). Probably the best running back to come through LSU (well, a certain freshman coming in can change that), but his amazing combination would have been a joy to see more of.
3. Tyrann Mathieu. Not as bad as the first two, but only getting one solid college year due to off-field problems just wasn't enough for this always-entertaining player.
4. Michael Clayton. I think fans forget how solid of a possession receiver he was and how he was devastating opponents with blocks well before Jarvis ever became loved for the same thing.
5A. Alley Broussard. A personal favorite of mine. His combination of speed and punishing running style made him entertaining to watch before the injury derailed him.
5B. Patrick Peterson. Sorry, had to add one more to give the defense more of a presence and was too close to leave off. When Richard Sherman gives you praise at the same position, there's something special about you. I want to see that again in college. Plus, can we get the Windmill Part II?
1. Michael Brooks. I still think he's the best linebacker to ever play for LSU, and it's a tragedy he suffered a knee injury against Florida in 1986. It ruined his NFL career (he still made one Pro Bowl) and if he played now, the modern surgery techniques would allow him to have a full career.
2. Gabe Northern. The best player for LSU when I was in school, and one of my all-time favorites. Great player, and a better person. He also made Stephen Davis' helmet pop off, and I appreciate that sort of violence.
3. Josh Reed. Just so I could watch that Alabama game again. 19 catches. 293 yards.
4. Bert Jones. LSU is probably the best program with the worst historical QB play. I would've loved to have seen Jones in a modern passing offense. His 1976 NFL season is one of the best ever (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=139) and I'd love to see him get his moment in the sun.
5. Tyrann Mathieu. I believe Zod is the better player, but Mathieu is the single most unique player in LSU, and maybe college football, history. We will never see a player like him again, and he's the most exciting, and fun, player to ever don the purple and gold. And really, we just got one year of it. We were robbed.
1. Tommy Cassanova. Arguably the greatest player in the history of LSU, Cassanova is LSU's only 3-time All-American. Charlie McClendon called him one of the most gifted athletes he ever coached... and that guy coached Jerry Stovall, Billy Cannon and a bunch of others.
2. Bert Jones. Might be the best QB in school history, the "Ruston Rifle" has a certain mythology about him that, for a player I've never seen play, makes me have to, want to, pay to see him again. People who watched his prime swear up and down he's the best QB we've ever had... better than Russell or anyone else.
3. Charles Alexander. We've had some great running backs, but Alexander was just a thoroughbred bad ass. 6'1", 225 pounds. Talk about work horses? The top 3 for carries in a single game in LSU history? 1) Charles Alexander, 2) Charles Alexander and 3) Charles Alexander.
4. Warren Capone. One of the few two-time All-Americans in school history and probably the best LB in school history, with respect to Michael Brooks.
5. Gus Tinsley. LSU's first ever two-time All-American. He's also in the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame, coached LSU to an above .500 record, and finished with more top 5 finishes than anyone not named McClendon, Moore or Miles.
So I took the angle of "players I saw that I'd want to see again." So here goes
1. Patrick Peterson. The perfect player's perfect player. He's a ridiculous athlete; he's an amazing cover corner who shut down nearly anyone who came his way. Seriously, who shut down Julio Jones the way Peterson did for 3 years? And the guy hit like a LB. Oh, and also so we all could say "Kneel.Before.Zod" one more time
2. Tyrann Mathieu. I have never seen a college football player, let alone a CB, change games on a dime the way Mathieu did. It was one play that just put LSU on a different playing field. They went into like turbo speed mode after that. It was remarkable.
3. Jamarcus Russell. Just to see him effortlessly flick that wrist for a 70 yard TD one more time.
4. Glenn Dorsey. So I could see him throw an offensive lineman into a RB and tackle said RB again. And then when said offensive lineman tries to chop block him, this time Dorsey skips out of the way and does it again on the next play. And says "F you Chaz Ramsey"
5. Jeremy Hill. Preferably this game would be against Auburn. So he could run all over them again. Or Iowa. So he could blow up their "assignment football."
I tried to think of this from a couple angles.
1. Billy Cannon. To me, he's one of the great "would he succeed in the modern era" tests. Cannon was an athletic freak for his time -- 6-1, 220 pounds and reported 100-yard dash times under 10 seconds. Those are measurables that would seemingly translate to almost any era, and they came in a period where college linemen were still right at 200 pounds. I'd love to see how he'd fair against today's athletes.
2. Tommy Cassanova. Another test of time guy. A big, tall defensive back that was versatile enough to play both ways and be a dynamite return specialist. Still the only three-time All-American in LSU history. Yeah, guys like Patrick Peterson would have certainly hit that mark had he come back for his senior year, but it remains a singular achievement here.
3. Tommy Hodson. My only memories are from watching the Earthquake Game on CST. I would love to see how he'd fit on some of the more talented LSU squads of the modern era.
4. Kevin Faulk. All Eyez on Three y'all. We can talk about Leonard Fournette all we want, and he's definitely the biggest LSU recruit in the last 20 years. But Faulk is still the most important. LSU lost out on almost every Louisiana superstar through the 1990s, but Faulk was the one that made it cool to wear purple & gold again. Plus, as a dynamite all-purpose running back that was an option quarterback in high school, it'd be interesting as hell to see how he'd fit in a modern spread offense.
5. Tyrann Mathieu. I said it in his entry in the Top 15 of the Miles Era and I'll say it again. We will never see another Tyrann Mathieu. That alone makes him worth price of admission.
This is in no particular order but I tried to keep it to people I can actually remember seeing, which means 1993 is about my limit here.
1. Rohan Davey. I think Zach Mettenberger's great season in 2013 only further serves as proof of how great Rohan was. Despite not beating out Josh Booty the year before, he took the reigns in 2001 and got off the leash midway through the season. Once Jimbo and Saban let him air it out, that LSU offense was a juggernaut that has since only been approximated by the 2006 and 2013 squads. Rohan could flick his wrist and the ball would go 40 yards. That 2001 team laid the groundwork for the titles to come and Davey is a quarterback who has never been appreciated by the fan base like he should have, especially given the 08-12 inconsistency at the position and LSU's first SEC title in more than a decade.
2. The 1997 LSU backfield. The Cecil Collins Train, Kevin Faulk and Rondell Mealey. That might have been the best backfield, from a pure talent standpoint, in program history. We'll always wonder what if, but one was an LSU legend, the other an underrated No. 2 back and the third's ability money matched by his troubles. This crew would be run roughshod with some of the offensive lines of the last dozen years.
3. LaRon Landry (against Alabama, mostly). He absolutely pulverized Alabama and their quarterbacks in Tiger Stadium and was generally the best safety LSU's had by a longshot in a millennium full of DBU standouts.
4. Keiland Williams. This may seem like an odd choice, but I always preferred Williams to Jacob Hester. Though there were always rumors he was in the doghouse for one reason or another and Hester was no doubt the heart and soul of that 07 offense, Williams could take your breath away on runs. His 07' leaping, cut-back run against Virginia Tech iced that game and showcased why I thought Keiland should have featured more prominently, especially given his gaudy YPC averages. Injuries slowed him down in 08 and 09 but he was the home run back on two of LSU's best offenses ever from 2006-07.
5. Tyrann Mathieu. Little explanation needed here. A Heisman finalist as a nickel back and the defensive leader during arguably LSU's greatest season ever. 2012-13 only proved how important he was to that secondary. He always found a way to be around the ball. The Arkansas game in 2011 will forever be lodged into my memory. Forced Fumble, downed punt at the 1 and a 92-yard TD punt return single-handedly changed the game like I've never seen before or since.
1. Jordan Jefferson. (because duh)
2. Cleveland Davis. (I met his mom at a Spring Game once)
3. Daniel Graff. (THEM SPECIAL TEAMS HITS)
4. Daniel Lipoma. (SPRING GAME BACKFIELD ACE)
5. Rob Bolden.
You'd have to have seen Rob Bolden play first to pay to see him play again
ROB BOLDEN BEAT IOWA. #STARTROBBOLDEN
Someone call Zach a cab, he's still reeling from Cinco De Mayo
Much worse, I've been studying for my last final ever. Okay, this time, with feeling.
1. Billy Cannon. Because for his time he was a physical freak, and our only Heisman winner. With his measurables and his physical abilities, he was a man among boys.
2. Jerry Stovall. Much the same thing as Cannon, and Heisman finalist and runner-up in one of the closest races in history. He often doesn't get the credit he deserved as a player because of his years as LSU's coach in the 1980s and because he immediately followed Cannon's illustrious career. At least I feel that way.
3. Y.A. Tittle. Just because of his recruitment story. LSU literally poached him from the University of Texas and he went on to be one of the great quarterbacks in the [old] NFL. One of the few things that eluded was an NFL Championship.
4. Tommy Casanova. Best player in program history. LSU's only three-time All-American who played every damn place on the field. Despite having a relatively brief pro career, few college players got the accolades Casanova received.
5. Steve Van Buren. I could be wrong, but he may have been LSU's first NFL player taken in the first round of the draft, and possibly LSU's first NFL Hall of Famer. He managed to rack up just over 5,800 career yards in the League over the course of a seven-year career.