SEC: Charles Alexander
On Tuesday, Alexander, who played at LSU from 1975-78, was honored for his grueling play by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
During his famed LSU career, the bruising Alexander was selected as a two-time, first-team All-American (1977 and 1978) and finished his LSU career with nine SEC records, tied for another and held 27 school records. He still owns the LSU records for most rushes in a game (43), most yards in a season (1,686) and yards per game in a single season (153.3).
Even after a rough debut with the Tigers as a freshman in 1975, Alexander went on to total 1,177 rushing yards as a backup during his first two years, including 876 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore.
The next two years were stellar for Alexander, as he rushed for 2,858 yards on 592 carries. He averaged 28.3 and 25.5 carries per game, respectively, during those two years -- ˙˙˙the top two marks in LSU’s record books.
He ranks third all time in school history in career rushing yards (4,035) and rushing touchdowns (40).
Alexander’s record-breaking year in 1977, in which he ran away with LSU’s single-season rushing record, was highlighted by four big individual performances in which he ran for 237 yards against Oregon, 231 against Wyoming, 199 against Tulane and 183 against Vanderbilt -- all LSU wins.
Alexander was later a first-round NFL draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1979 and played seven seasons in the league, starting Super Bowl XVI in 1982.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The bitter taste of last season's disappointing 8-5 finish lingering, LSU opens preseason practice Thursday trying to prove once and for all that last year was an aberration and not the start of some sort of downward trend.
The Tigers, two years removed from winning the national championship in 2007, have won 42 games over the past four seasons, which is second only to Florida during that span in the SEC. The Gators have won 44.
But LSU coach Les Miles made it clear in talking with reporters Wednesday that there was nothing acceptable about what happened last season on the Bayou.
"To be honest with you, we used to play and are used to playing for championships," Miles said. "We'll have achievement. I have to be honest with you. We won 11 games and won the SEC West in my first year here, and we fell a little short. That's how it is.
"These falls are marked by great efforts, great games and certainly improvement. A team that improves and achieves certainly is worthy of that recognition, but this program is designed to hang banners in this building. You just look around, and that's what we want to do."
Here's noting the Tigers as they get set to kick off preseason practice:
- Freshman safety Craig Loston and freshman linebacker Tahj Jones are still working through the NCAA Clearinghouse process. Miles hopes to hear something on Jones in the next day or so, but it will be a while before anything is known concerning Loston's status. Miles remains optimistic, but said Loston wouldn't be on campus until the start of fall semester classes at the earliest (Aug. 24). Loston still has some correspondence courses to complete and is not on the current 105-man roster. Even with the delay, Miles thinks Loston, one of the top safety prospects in the country last year, can work his way into the secondary rotation this season.
- Junior college defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is good to go academically and reported with the rest of the team Wednesday. He should be a factor right away. The Tigers can use the depth up front.
- Sophomore defensive end Sidell Corley, whose mother was killed in May, has left the program. Miles expects him to transfer. Corley is from Mobile, Ala., so Alabama could be a possibility.
- Updating some of the players returning from injury, Miles said center T-Bob Hebert and running back Stevan Ridley were full-go, although Miles said the Tigers would be careful with Ridley initially. Ridley injured his knee during the spring. Receiver Tim Molton (knee) is out for the season after getting injured during 7-on-7 work this summer. Defensive tackle Charles Alexander has lost some weight and is in better shape, according to Miles.
- True freshman Russell Shepard will start out at quarterback during the preseason, but Miles still isn't ready to say what other roles Shepard will play. "If I knew it, I would tell you," Miles said. "We'll find out. He's a very talented man. He has great ability at a number of positions."
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The 2009 College Football Hall of Fame ballot has been released, and 13 of the players are from SEC schools.
There are no SEC coaches on the ballot this year.
The FBS Hall of Fame class will be announced live on ESPNEWS at a noon press conference in New York City on April 30 and inducted at The National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner on Dec. 8, 2009, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The players from SEC schools on the ballot include Ole Miss fullback Billy Ray Adams (1959-61), LSU running back Charles Alexander (1975-78), Arkansas center Ronnie Caveness (1962-64), Auburn fullback Ed Dyas (1958-60), Tennessee receiver Willie Gault (1979-82), Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey (1985-88), Alabama linebacker Woodrow Lowe (1972-75), Tennessee defensive back Bobby Majors (1969-71), Auburn defensive tackle Ken Rice (1958-60), Georgia defensive back Jake Scott (1967-68), Tennessee receiver Larry Seivers (1974-76), South Carolina receiver Sterling Sharpe (1984-87) and Ole Miss offensive/defensive guard Marvin Terrell (1957-59).
Alexander, Humphrey and Rice are on the ballot for the first time.