Tiger greats of the past 20 years

Kyle Riviere
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

Charles Alexander was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. It's an easy argument to make that he was the greatest running back to ever don the purple and gold.

Alexander was a Heisman finalist for LSU in 1978 when he rushed for a school record that still stands today of 1,686 yards in a season.

It got me thinking about other Tiger greats of the past. I'm still pretty much a youngster. I've only been watching LSU football for about 20 years now, so I didn't have the pleasure of watching guys like Bert Jones, Billy Cannon and Jimmy Taylor

With that said, I came up with a group of guys that were the best of the best of my generation.

For special teams, I'd go with Josh Jasper as my kicker. He was 47-56 in field goals throughout his career. That 83.9% is an LSU record.

I have Chad Kessler as my punter. He was the first punter in NCAA history to finish a season with a 50-yard average back in 1997.

I would have Trindon Holliday returning kicks. He had two career kickoff-return touchdowns, and I would have Skyler Green returning punts. He had four punt-return scores.

On the offensive line, I'd go with two All-American tackles in Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Mawae (who transitioned to center his senior year).

Outland Trophy finalist Alan Faneca and first-team All-American Stephen Pererman would be my guards while Remington Award winner Ben Wilkerson would be my center.

First-team All-American David LaFleur would play tight end along with Michael Clayton and Josh Reed as my receivers. Reed won the Bilentnikoff Award in 2001 when he had a ridiculous LSU and SEC record 1,740 receiving yards.

At fullback, I'll go with Tommy Banks and behind him, I'll go with LSU's all-time leading rusher Kevin Faulk at running back.

It's a tough decision, but I'd go with Matt Mauk at quarterback. Mauk didn't have the greatest arm and he wasn't the most accurate, but he was a flat-out winner.

He came in in relief for the 2001 SEC Championship Game and led the Tigers to a come-from-behind upset win over then No. 2 Tennessee. The next year, he had the Tigers 5-1 when he tore ligaments in his foot. LSU finished just 3-4 for the rest of the year without him.

And in 2003, he threw 28 touchdowns and led the Tigers to their first national title in nearly 50 years.

For the defensive line, I'll go with Marcus Spears and Tyson Jackson as my two defensive ends. They finished their careers with 35.5 sacks between them.

As my two defensive tackles, I'll go with Gonzales' own Glenn Dorsey and Chad Lavalais. They are two of the most disruptive forces to ever play on the Tiger defensive line.

As the three linebackers, you can't go wrong with Bradie James, Trev Faulk and Kelvin Sheppard. Between the three, they finished their careers with 1,022 tackles.

As my two corners, I would go with Thorpe Award winner Morris Claiborne and two-time Thorpe semifinalist Corey Webster. Webster had one of the great seasons you'll ever see in 2003's championship year when he had seven interceptions, 25 pass break-ups and 32 passes defended. He and Claiborne combined for 27 careers picks.

And if you want to add a nickelback to the roster, you can't go wrong with Tyrann Mathieu--a Heisman finalist that created 14 turnovers in just 26 games.

At strong safety, I'll take a Thorpe finalist in Craig Steltz that finished with 11 career interceptions.

And at free safety, LeRon Landry is a shoe-in. He was a Thorpe semifinalist and three-time All-American with 315 tackles, eight sacks and 12 picks throughout his career in Baton Rouge.

There were just so many great players throughout those past 20 years--especially on defense--it was hard narrowing it down to just one starting lineup. Here are some that just missed the cut: Dwayne Bowe, Patrick Peterson, Anthony McFarland, Kyle Williams and Ryan Clark.