THE DANGEROUS LSU BACKFIELD

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

OR AN EXCUSE TO REMEMBER FOUR GAMES IN 1997

The LSU backfield remains one of the most dangerous places in college football, a diving platform nine hundred feet in the air for incoming talent. Hit the water clean, and the high scores of the judges will get you into the NFL for at least a few years, and possibly even secure you a nice league pension. Slip sideways or fail to get a full rotation, and you hit back-first and ruin your chances at a pro career, or much, much worse.

The most legendary example of not sticking the landing: Cecil Collins, the LSU running back who had four terrifying games as starter in 1997 before breaking his leg, wandering into ladies' rooms twice without invitations, and then being removed from the team prior to the 1998 season. Collins was still drafted by Jimmy Johnson because he was very talented, and also because Jimmy Johnson would have drafted the Green River Killer if he liked the way he threw a post route.* Collins is still in jail on other charges, and won't get out until February 2014.

*FYI: UDFA, Dolphins class of '99. Cut because he had asthma. --ed

The most recent example is running back Jeremy Hill, suspended indefinitely for his part in an off-campus fight. That role allegedly involved him punching a man with enough force to knock him unconscious, which would be Hill's second brush with the law after an arrest for oral sexual battery that delayed his enrollment at LSU a year. As a part of the probation resulting from that prior case, Hill was to refrain from "criminal conduct."

While LSU took official action, new details in a Baton Rouge police report disclosed additional details of the fight at Reggie’s Bar in Tigerland, including Hill and a second suspect reportedly exchanging a high-five after attacking a male victim from behind and the running back denying he’d been at the bar.

That's probably something that qualifies as criminal activity, and criminal activity reportedly caught on more than one cellphone video. In the great divide between Keiland Williams, Stevan Ridley, Joseph Addai, Jacob Hester and every other denizen of the LSU backfield pulling down a respectable NFL paycheck, there's a polar opposite:

Ryan Perriloux: Currently trying to throw knuckleballs on an MLB reality show.

Jamarcus Russell: Currently throwing knuckleballs without effort as an unsigned NFL free agent. Is Jamarcus Russell.

Justin Vincent: Working at LSU in player development after having one of the weirder career trajectories ever at the school, a job which makes perfect sense for him, actually. Good on you, sir.

Spencer Ware: taken in the sixth round after a positive synthetic marijuana test led to a suspension along with Tyrann Mathieu, all of which happened after he did the usual LSU running back thing of looking like an unstoppable diesel water buffalo and then doing something like failing a drug test and getting his hypertalented ass into the sixth damn round.

Matt Flynn: Europe's most notorious art thief. Also a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, the perfect cover for anyone who wants to disappear completely, and do things like steal art for a living. He hasn't been caught yet, but when he does you'll see why he's on this list.

It constitutes nothing close to a curse. Louisiana has strict standards for those written into the Napoleonic Code, and when they do curses, they do them with a real lasting stank on 'em. It is Louisiana in microcosm: when it's good, it's really, really good. When it goes off the rails, it doesn't stop until it hits bottom, and then perhaps gets involved in a riverboat casino counterfeiting scheme.

P.S. Addai had a nice run, even though he is an unsigned free agent at the moment. He does have the weirdest Wiki hack of the day, however:

Screen_shot_2013-04-29_at_5

Bill Belichick only wants the alt-est running backs.

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