The Best of Les Miles Era capped off last week with our no. 1, Patrick Peterson. Debates abounded regarding placement of some, though it seems there was little disagreement with any player cracking the top 15. Did you readers rank them as the writers did, or did you pick up on players we missed out on? Let's take a look.
1) Patrick Peterson (1)
2) Tyrann Mathieu (3)
3) Glenn Dorsey (2)
4) Jamarcus Russell (4)
5) Jeremy Hill (7)
6) Jarvis Landry (5)
7) Morris Claiborne (6)
8) Jacob Hester (11)
9) Laron Landry (10)
10) Odell Beckham Jr. (15)
11) Zach Mettenberger (9)
12) Dwayne Bowe (UR)
13) Eric Reid (8)
14) Michael Brockers (UR)
15) Andrew Whitworth (UR)
So, hardly much variation at the top, as the writers and readers deliver nearly the same top 10. The players readers coveted over the writers are Dwayne Bowe, Michael Brockers and Andrew Whitworth. Bowe is one that was simply missed by the writers, while Brockers and Whitworth both suffer from one-year syndrome, Brockers being that he only put together one great year, without great statistics and Whitworth played only one season under Miles.
Who were the major snubs?
Two time Second Team All-SEC player that ranks 11th in school history in tackles-for-loss. He was selected 6th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. Mingo played three seasons at LSU, his most dominant coming in 2011 where he finished with 46 tackles, 15.0 TFL (lead team), 11 quarterback hurries and 8 sacks. Despite never possessing adequate bulk, Mingo proved a monster off the edge, both as a run defender and pass rusher.
An amazingly durable and reliable player in his time at Baton Rouge, Black still holds the LSU career record for consecutive starts with 53. Black won the hardly heralded Jacobs Award, awarded by SEC coaches to the conference's best blocker, in 2009. He was an All-SEC member in three of his four seasons as a starter, making the second team in 2007 and 2008, and the first team in 2009. He was also a Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC player. Black was probably punished because his senior season was less than stellar (despite the awards), he went undrafted, and his subsequent lawsuit cast some negative light onto the program, fairly or not.
Arguably the best offensive tackle in LSU history, Whitworth held the consecutive starts record before passing the torch to Black. A first team All-SEC player in 2004 and 2005, Whitworth was selected in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. He likely didn't make the cut due to only playing a single season under Miles and being an offensive lineman that didn't win a national award.
Sheppard ranks 9th in school history in tackles, and while he never posted a single season as impressive as Minter's, his career was certainly better. Sheppard's six career forced fumbles ranks 3rd in school history, just behind Tyrann Mathieu and Ali Highsmith. He was also a First-Team All-SEC selection in 2010. Sheppard likely missed the cut because the sum of his career was perhaps greater than any single output. He was steady, reliable and consistent but never the overwhelming best player on the field.
Nevis put together a masterful senior season in 2010, finishing with 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, including 6 sacks, plus three forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries and an interception in route to a 1st team All-American selection. For a span, he was pacing numbers that were better than previous year's Heisman finalist DT, Ndamukong Suh. But, until that year, Nevis never started, though he was also dominant in a reserve role in 2010. He was drafted in the third round and continues to play in the NFL today. Nevis likely missed the cut because he's remembered for one true season of dominance and failed to become a full-time starter until his senior campaign.
Mr. Academic Honor Roll. That's gotta count for something, right? And you want to talk about character? Hellloooo, he's Canada's smartest person, folks.
Somewhat of a forgotten man next to Glenn Dorsey, but he's a two time second team All-SEC contributor that narrowly missed the writer's list. His 8.5 sacks in 2006 rank ninth for a single season in school history, though he fails to stand out statistically in any other way. Still, he was an All-SEC Freshman and a good player all four years of his career, which earned him the third-overall selection in the NFL draft, the highest selection of a defensive player in school history.
If there's a glaring omission from the writer's list, it's absolutely Bowe, who finished with more catches, more yards, and more TDs than either of the two receivers on the list. In hindsight, I'd have ranked him the top guy of those three, even if he wasn't a player recruited by Miles. Bowe never topped 1,000 yards, but he steadily improved each season and still managed to finish sixth in receiving yardage in his LSU career. He was also a first-round pick and has put together a nice NFL career.
Another player oft forgotten, Highsmith was an All-American in 2007, and a Butkus award Semi-finalist in both 2006 and 2007. He ranks second in school history in forced fumbles, and was tops there until Tyrann Mathieu did his thing. Highsmith notched All-SEC honors in his junior and senior campaigns, and made a game changing fumble in the BCS Title.
One of the biggest humans I've ever seen with my own two eyes, Johnson was the biggest baby born in Texas, as they liked to remind us weekly. He was a 1st team All-American in 2008, and first team All-SEC in both 2007 and 2008. He was a massive cog in some good rushing attacks, often utilized as an extra blocker early his career.
First team All-American and All-SEC player in that magical 2011 run. Blackwell took a while to find a home, but he was a damn good offensive lineman once he settled in. His injury in 2010, which cut his season short in the first game, likely kept him from appearing higher on ballots.
The best kicker in LSU history? He holds the single-season record for field goals made, and while he's second in points, the record holder, Colt David, kicked nearly 30 more PATs than him. He made five field goals in a single game and also booted a 53-yard in 2010. His career percentage the highest in school history. And oh yeah, he caught that wonky bounce in the Swamp to save the game.
Speaking of great kickers, Colt David is 2nd in Career FGs made, including a 53-yard boot in 2008. He also notched 63 made extra-points, a school record, in 2007. His 201 career PATs bests the 2nd place finisher by nearly 80, a record that's likely to stand for a while. He put together streaks of 77 and 77 consecutive PATs made. He's the single season and career point scoring leader in LSU history. He also did that whole over the head flip thingy before Jasper, and he scored on it.
Can a punter have swag? Yes, yes he can. Wing's 73-yarder out of the back of the endzone in Tuscaloosa is the stuff of legends that will surely become a "he kicked into a driving rain standing in four feet of mud, over everyone's head and then downed it himself" type of legend in due time. Wing's 44.6 yard average is the highest in school history, but he didn't just kick them far, he kicked them high. From memory, LSU allowed something like 3 punt return yards in 2011, largely because of Wing's masterful booting.
Anyone else we missed?