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LSU'S GREATEST TIGERS IN EACH POSITION: OFFENSE EDITION

Updated: Jan 21



By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


Join us as we go through LSU's illustrious history to name our top Tigers in each position, starting with the offense, counting 5 offensive linemen, 3 WRs, 1 QB, 1 RB and 1 TE.


OFFENSE


LT ANDREW WHITWORTH


Regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest Louisiana OL of all time, Big Whit takes his customary left tackle spot along our best ever OL.

His 52 starts ranks 2nd all time in NCAA Division I history, including a big performance setting RB Justin Vincent free during LSU's 2004 BCS National Championship Game victory over Oklahoma.

In that fabled 2003/04 campaign, Whit played over 1,000 snaps (1,008), made more than 100 key blocks (105), and knocked down opponents 82 times; Throughout his final year in 2005, Whitworth didn't allow a sack as he led the Tigers in snaps for the third consecutive season.

Whitworth was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and has since sustained a Super Bowl-winning / Hall of Fame-bound legacy of durability and reliability, with 2022 seeing him named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year next to victory in his second Super Bowl appearance for the LA Rams.


LG ALAN FANECA


Faneca was a major part of LSU's mid 90s rushing attack, named Second Team All-American in 1996 followed by a First Team All-American season in 1997, finishing among three finalists for the Outland Trophy.

Committing 210 pancake blocks and only allowing a single sack in his entire LSU career, Faneca started his final 36 games for the Tigers leading up to his 1st Round selection by the Steelers.

Leading Hall of Fame running back Kevin Faulk to consecutive 1,000 yard seasons in 1996 and 1997, while RB Rondell Mealey also eclipsed 600 on the ground across both years respectively, Faneca played a key role in Faulk attaining the SEC's all time yards mark.

Winning Super Bowl XL with Pittsburgh, being named to 9 Pro Bowl teams, and voted into the NFL's Hall of Fame this past year, Faneca echoed his LSU achievements at the next level.

C LLOYD CUSHENBERRY


NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Mawae could be placed here, though he spent most of his time at left tackle for LSU, only starting 3 games at center, among other stops at left guard and even long snapper.

However, keeping things pure, we must pay tribute to Lloyd Cushenberry's absolute dominance at the spot in 2018 and 2019, leading the G.O.A.T offense from the trenches as Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for over 1,500 yards and 17 TDs, as the entire team rushed for 32 scores and Joe Burrow's high flying receivers caught 60 touchdowns.

His reliability and relationship with Joe Burrow will be etched in Tiger lore forever, and now, watching him become a day 1 starter for the Denver Broncos, it's obvious Cush's success was no 2019 fluke.

At one of LSU's most historically lean positions, Cushenberry succeeded above and beyond anyone's wildest expectations.


RG TRAI TURNER


Helping the 2011 Tigers to an undefeated regular season, SEC Championship victory and birth in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, once again inside the New Orleans Superdome, Turner had an immense career at LSU...perhaps one which is far too overlooked.

Participating in 559 snaps during LSU's title run, Trai earned 51 key blocks at the line of scrimmage.

Turner was consistency personified, finishing his career in absolute style with 10 pancake blocks as LSU ran for nearly 250 yards against Iowa

Over his career, Turner played 1,416 snaps and destroyed defensive linemen for 115 total pancake blocks, an impeccable rate of production and durability....the word most associated with the best offensive linemen.

Making 5 straight Pro Bowl teams as part of the Carolina Panthers, Turner continues his strong NFL career in Washington.

RT LA'EL COLLINS


Versatility......brilliance.....longevity....all words to describe La'el Collins, a once in a decade local OL talent who flourished quietly before setting up a lengthy, decorated NFL career lasting til this day, recently joining up with multiple LSU Tigers on the Cincy Bengals.

Able to swing from left or right tackle, Collins featured as a freshman for LSU's 2011 National Championship-losing squad, but his sophomore year is when he began to catch a spark:

Named to the All-SEC team in 2012, Collins supplied 64.5 knockdown blocks from a whopping 836 snaps.

In 2013, he switched to left tackle full time; As a senior, Collins led LSU offensive linemen with 88 knockdown blocks and 843 snaps, all on his way to winning the SEC's top blocking award (Jacobs trophy), another Second Team All-American selection, and a likely 1st Round Draft choice as the Tigers rushed for 224.5 yards per game, the program's most since the heyday of Faneca & Faulk in 1997.

Instead, due to a controversy Collins was cleared of, the murder of a pregnant woman Collins had once been with, GMs wouldn't budge and the sure-fire 1st Round pick went undrafted completely after speaking to Louisiana police.

Collins would turn it all around after the Cowboys' gave him a chance, spending 7 seasons as Jerry Jones' key left tackle. Starting 71 of his 74 total appearances for Dallas, the Cowboys possessed a consistently strong rushing offense behind Collins.

Now let's hope he goes and wins a Super Bowl with Joe.....


QB JOE BURROW


Do I even have to explain?


RB KEVIN FAULK


Another automatic.


WR JOSH REED


Holding the all time single game SEC receiving mark for 20 years (until another LSU wide out broke his record), Josh Reed still haunts Alabama fans 'til this day...

After all these years and all these illustrious LSU receivers since his 2nd Round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft, Josh Reed still leads the Tigers in all time receiving yards (3,001), single game receptions (19), ranks 2nd and 7th on LSU's top 10 single season receiving list, places 2nd and 4th for the school's all time single-game receiving, and ranks within the top 10 for single game, single season and career touchdowns.

Reed had an emphatic on-field tandem with Rohan Davey, a fruitful partnership which gave Rohan Davey the all time LSU single game passing mark (which still stands to this day) in a crazy shootout victory over Alabama:

Davey tossed for 528 yards, 293 directly to Josh Reed himself.

In a performance which garnered the 2001 Biletnikoff Award, the Rayne-native couldn't be touched all game:

From LSU's first offensive play, a bulleted screen to Reed, Alabama knew they were in trouble....growing comfortable watching #25's back for the entire afternoon.

That November day in Tuscaloosa, spoiling Alabama's homecoming game, is a moment when legends were made....however, Reed was consistently brilliant throughout 2001:

Breaking 17 total records that season, leading Division I with 145 receiving yards per game, Reed hit 200+ yards again during LSU's Sugar Bowl victory over Illinois, setting a Sugar Bowl record for receptions (14) and yards (239); Josh still holds the most 100 yard receiving games in LSU history (18), and finished 2001 with 108 catches, 2,033 receiving yards and 9 TDs.

2001 aside, my favorite catch from Reed arrived the year prior, during LSU's comeback victory over Georgia Tech in the 2000 Peach Bowl, a game which saw him grab 96 yards, 9 receptions and a hugely important touchdown (Reed's 9 catches were an LSU bowl record at the time). During his sophomore campaign, Reed hauled in 74 catches, 1,223 yards and 11 TDs.

Simply put, it's absolutely incredible what Josh Reed accomplished in just 2 seasons as a Tiger, racking up yard after yard, breaking record after record, eclipsing 1,000 yards in back to back years, recording 15 performances of 7+ catches.....all in an era where offensive schemes weren't anywhere near as fast-paced or as innovative as they are now, at a time when defensive backs or linebackers could take a receiver's head off for running routes over the middle, #25 set a standard which still stands, even after the G.O.A.T 2019 receiving corps went for his every record.

One of my personal favorite Tigers of all time, Josh was an automatic selection for my list, even above many incredible LSU receivers; Only two other guys even come close to his voluminous production.....they are also joining #25 on this list.

My opinion may be smaller than most Tiger faithful, but I sincerely believe LSU must retire Josh Reed's #25, such was his bountiful greatness.


Records Broken by Josh Reed -19 receptions vs. Alabama (LSU/SEC single-game record) -293 receiving yards vs. Alabama (LSU/SEC single-game record)

(BROKEN: Kayshon Boutte's 308 Yards vs Ole Miss, 2020) -94 receptions (LSU single-season record) -1,740 rec. yards (LSU/SEC single-season record) -145.0 rec. yards per game (LSU/SEC single-season record) -3,001 rec. yards (LSU/SEC career record) -11 100-yard games (LSU single-season record) -18 100-yard games (LSU career record) -14 rec. vs. Illinois (LSU/Sugar Bowl record) -239 rec. yards vs. Illinois (LSU/Sugar Bowl record)

WR JA'MARR CHASE


While some may pick other favorites such as Michael Clayton or Dwayne Bowe, Ja'Marr Chase didn't just become one of my all time personally beloved Tigers during 2019, Chase evolved into a firm legend.

Some will cry out "he only started for one season at LSU!"

Others may say "he opted out of his junior year...."

Some might wonder why Ja'Marr Chase?

I'll explain.

WHY THE HELL WOULD HE NOT BE ON THIS LIST?

Pound for pound the most talented receiver to ever grace Death Valley or wear the purple & gold, Rummel High Raider Ja'Marr Chase easily belongs on our list.

Not only did Chase deliver the most productive single season in program history for both all purpose receiving and touchdowns (breaking Josh Reed's 2001 mark by 40 yards), he set the all time SEC record in receiving touchdowns (20, broken by Devonta Smith the next year), the all time National Championship Game record for receiving yards (221 against Clemson), while registering 416 yards, 4 TDs and 20 catches over 4 postseason games: Ja'Marr delivered for LSU when it mattered most.

Playing for his hometown inside the Superdome, Ja'Marr Chase shook off a shaky start to deliver one of the greatest offensive performances for LSU ever.

We all remember his long go route down the sideline vs AJ Terrell, icing him for the score which would wake the Tigers up. Later in the half, when LSU were staring down a 10 point deficit, he caught numerous passes to move the chains, all before reeling in a towering score right at halftime to capture a lead they would not relinquish.

Chase was a freak all throughout his career, however short, ripping off a 2nd all time school record 4 receiving touchdowns vs Vanderbilt, another 200+ yard outing where Ja'Marr displayed just how good he was to anyone still in question over his abilities.......if Les Miles still wondered whether Ja'Marr would make a better cornerback, here was proof otherwise....

Chase's 2019 season is on par with Josh Reed's illustrious 2001 campaign, and I argue Ja'Marr's year may be better:

LSU were vying for a National Championship while Chase snapped up monumental, game-defining, game-turning TDs against Alabama, Florida, A&M, UGA, Ole Miss and the aforementioned 2 first half scores vs Clemson in the title game;

During awards season, he was honored just like Joe Burrow, Coach Orgeron, Joe Brady and Grant Delpit, becoming the first Tiger to win the Biletnikoff since Josh Reed. In addition, Chase was named to the All-American and All-SEC teams, but he didn't just get his:

Due to Chase's incredible production, the sophomore picked up a big share of attention in coverage.....which in turn helped Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall and Thaddeus Moss catch 35 touchdowns between themselves.

At the same time, Jefferson may have caught 27 more passes than Chase, yet Ja'Marr still put up 240 more yards and 2 more TDs.....that's all about his unbelievable yards after catch abilities: Ja'Marr put up an SEC best 21.2 yards per grab......his career average of 19.6 ranks 4th all time in SEC history.

It's really sad we didn't see Chase at LSU for one more season in 2020, watching him practice in spring and early summer as the team's new #7......however, he obviously made the right decision to opt out of his junior year:

It looks like Tiger history will be repeating itself in the NFL once again....notice a theme, here?


WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON


If the Ja'Marr Chase pick wasn't controversial to some, my Justin Jefferson pick will definitely be a choice of some contention.

Where's Wendell Davis, some will shout, the school's all-time 2nd leading receiver?

What about OBJ????

Where the hell is Brandon LaFell or LSU's all time leader in TD catches, Dwayne Bowe?

I understand, I grew up watching LaFell and Bowe tearing it up within lesser QB situations than 2018-19 Joe Burrow, but 2005-2006 JaMarcus Russell, another #1 overall pick, wasn't that bad of a scenario himself.

Regardless, neither produced what Justin Jefferson was able to over 3 seasons.

The younger brother of 2011 LSU QB Jordan Jefferson is ranked 3rd all time on LSU's single season receiving yards list at 1,540 yards. Though his mark is 200 yards below Josh Reed, Jefferson's spot is also 296 yards above Wendell Davis' 4th all time ranking;

Jets even captured the NCAA's receptions lead in 2019 with 111, a record which still stands to this day.

The Minnesota Vikings' 1st Round pick also set himself up at the 6th all time spot for career yards, 7th place for single game receiving (vs Oklahoma), and ranks 3rd (career overall), 2nd (single game), and 2nd (single season) regarding touchdowns, grabbing 24 total, 18 during LSU's G.O.A.T 2019 campaign, and 4 during the 1st half alone in an obliteration vs Oklahoma, a record within itself.

Just like Chase setting Jefferson, Marshall and Moss free, you can argue the same for Justin's contributions helping unleash Ja'Marr Chase's 20 TD, record-topping year;

In fact, Jefferson's 2019 contributions remained far less heralded than Chase, even playing Robin to Ja'Marr's Batman at varying points across the year (Clemson most notably). Regardless of the narrative, Justin and Ja'Marr pushed each other to their ultimate....and what did we receive in return?

The greatest LSU Tiger receiving duo of all time.....you can't put one of 'em on this list without the other.


TE BILLY CANNON /

RICHARD DICKSON


Right when you're about to start screaming "this 2019-obsessed summabiotch is putting Jefferson over Tony Moss?" or "that hipster fruitcake thinks Eric Martin isn't good enough for his list, damnit?!", just hang with me here as we go for a blast into the past.

Initially, I wanted to scrap the tight end position for a 4th wide receiver spot, however in trying to stay true to the point of this entire thing, finding out which LSU Tigers were best in each and every position on the field, I knew I couldn't leave out tight end.....

Immediately, without even thinking about it......I typed in Richard Dickson's name....and.....it has sit there ever since....until...I found out something interesting about Billy Cannon.

Cannon was usually rushing the ball as a running back or full back, but when he was lined up as a tight end, the Gray Ghost himself caught 21 touchdowns and over 500 yards at the position.....pretty incredible stuff.

How can anyone argue with Cannon?

While Richard Dickson is the school's most decorated, productive and celebrated modern tight end, LSU's first Heisman-winner didn't just require a spot in our Greatest 24 Tigers list because of politics....he damn well earned it.

Averaging 16.8 yards per catch, hauling in 522 yards from 31 catches, Billy scored 21 times from TE.....absolutely astonishing statistics. The 1958 Heisman / National Championship-winner additionally recorded a filthy 0.67 TDs per catch ratio....

But honor must be given to Dickson:

Leaving school as LSU's most productive tight end ever, Richard Dickson played a major role during the 2008 BCS title game, catching 2 TDs from QB Matt Flynn, both arriving inside the red zone during critical moments. Dickson's first TD tied the game early 10-10 after LSU suffered an early 10-0 deficit.

#82, an instant fan favorite, made big catches in front of the raucous, nervous Superdome crowd, including one which parked LSU inside the 2 yard line. He caught his 2nd TD of the night to set up the final score, icing Ohio State 38-24 for the school's 3rd National Championship, as well as second in 4 years; becoming the first program to win multiple titles during the BCS era.

Despite Cannon's history at tight end, Dickson holds the school's official TE records for receptions, yards and touchdowns (952 Yards, 90 Catches and 10 TDs), named to the All-SEC freshman team in 2006 and again as a junior in 2008.

Later wearing the coveted #18 jersey, passed on to him by Jacob Hester, Dickson made 50 appearances for LSU, an incredible achievement in and of itself.


DEFENSIVE EDITION

ARRIVES SOON!


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

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1 Comment


Daryl Gold
Daryl Gold
May 06, 2022

Cannon only played tight end in the latter part of his pro career. He played left halfback his entire LSU career, and was the greatest running back ever at LSU.

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