I was actually right in the middle of getting my thoughts together on the SEC outlook for this season today...Then Mamma D stepped in my office and said "hey little boy (as she refers to me from time to time) did you hear about this?" This was the breaking news about LSU RB Jeremy Hill. The news is that Hill will be charged with misdemeanor simple battery for his alleged involvement in an incident that took place in a bar parking lot back in April.
So, as we have speculated before, I said to myself, "Self, what if the "Hill" is gone and he can't suit up for the Tigers this season? What does that mean to the team? What does that do to the Tigers RB rotation?"
If Hill can't go, the Tigers lose their leading rusher from a season ago. Hill had a strong finish last season, ending the year with 755 yards on 142 carries for an average of 5.3 yards per rush. Hill also scored 12 TDs in 2012.
So let's speculate and see what may happen if Hill can't play in 2013.
Current LSU Running Backs (that are not in trouble with the law at the time this is being typed:)
#4 Alfred Blue 6-2 235 pound senior: 40 att, 270 yards, 6.8 yards per carry, 2 TDs - Blue started out the 2012 season with some impressive numbers, but then the former Hahnville star was lost for the season in the Tigers game against Idaho. At the time Blue was lost for the season he was the 2nd leading rusher in the SEC. Blue was solid in the Tigers first two games with a 123 yard effort against North Texas, and Blue rushed for 101 yards in the Tigers' win over Washington.
Here are Alfred Blue's notes on his previous two seasons prior to the 2012 campaign: Played in 12 games in 2011. Blue started against Auburn ... Rushed for 539 yards and seven touchdowns in helping LSU to the SEC title and a 13-1 overall mark ... Was one of the three LSU running backs with more than 500 yards rushing in 2011 ... Joined Michael Ford (756 yards) and Spencer Ware (727) to become the first LSU trio of backs to each rush for 500 yards or more since 1997 when Kevin Faulk (1,144), Rondell Mealey (664) and Cecil Collins (596) did it ... Led the team in rushing in four games this season: 72 yards vs. Kentucky, 119 yards vs. Western Kentucky, 74 yards at Ole Miss and 94 yards vs. Georgia ... Held the longest run from scrimmage on a 57-yard scamper at Ole Miss ... Did not play against Arkansas due to injury ... Set career highs with 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns on nine carries against Western Kentucky ...
In his freshman season Blue made a name for himself playing in 11 games. Blue Rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries for the year ... Best outing came vs. Mississippi State when he rushed for 36 yards on five carries in what was his first career start ... Had a long run of 16 yards vs. Mississippi State ... Scored first touchdown of college career on a 6-yard run vs. Vanderbilt ... Carried a career-best six times for 31 yards in win over Louisiana-Monroe ... Contributed with five tackles and a forced fumble on special teams ... Missed the McNeese and Auburn games with an injury.
#27 Kenny Hillard 6-0, 231 poundn junior: 82 att, 464 yards, 5.7 yards per carry, 6 TDs in 2012. Here are the notes from the LSU Web site on Hillard: In 2012 Hillard Played in 12 games with one start ... Ranked second on team with 464 rushing yards and six TDs … Averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 82 attempts … Had first (and only) start of his career vs. Auburn and responded with 40 rushing yards on 10 carries … Also caught a pass for seven yards in 12-10 win over Auburn … Opened season with career-best 141 yards and a pair of TDs in win over North Texas … Followed that with 46 yards and two TDs in 41-3 win over Washington … Had his third straight game with two rushing TDs against Idaho … Added 116 rushing yards on 11 carries in win over Idaho … Became the first LSU player since LaBrandon Toefield in 2001 (3 vs. Alabama, 2 vs. Middle Tennessee., 3 vs. Arkansas) to have at least two rushing TDs in three straight games … Also, became the first LSU running back to rush for 2 TDs in each of the first three games of a season since Charles Alexander in 1978 ... Joined Alfred Blue to become the first duo of LSU running backs each to eclipse 100 yards rushing in a season opener since 1982. 2011 LSU notes on Hillard. Played in 13 games with no starts ... Came on late in the season to give LSU a four-headed rushing attack ... Tied with Spencer Ware for the team lead in touchdowns scored with nine total (eight rushing, one receiving) ... His eight rushing TDs was the most in a single season by an LSU freshman since Justin Vincent rushed for 10 TDs as a freshman in 2003 … Scored a career-high three touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia when he rushed for two TDs and caught one in the third quarter ... Posted two rushing TDs against Auburn, Western Kentucky and Georgia ... Earned SEC Freshman of the Week distinction after he set career highs with 19 carries and 102 yards and also added one touchdown against Arkansas ... Produced two one-yard touchdowns against Western Kentucky ... Saw action at fullback and tailback ... Stepped in at running back against Auburn and rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
#14 Terrence Magee 5-9, 212 pound junior - last season Magee played in nine games with no starts ... Made his first career reception for seven yards against Idaho Coach Miles moved Magee to WR where he had no impact. Here are Magee's numbers from his freshman season in 2011. He rushed seven times for 55 yards at Ole Miss ... Saw his first action as a Tiger against Kentucky and carried the ball 12 times for 38 yards and a touchdown.
#28 Jonathan Juneau 5-11 198 RFr. - Has not current stats according to the LSU football website.
Other possibilities: Well, coaches get paid to coach. And I'm quite sure that Coach Miles has a plan in place as far as another possible player that could lend a hand in the Tigers backfield if needed.
LSU did not sign a running back in their recruiting class of 2013. But there is one player that played RB in high school: Loranger's Jeryl Brazil was a running back his entire career in high school. Brazil also played QB at times but was primarily a RB on the prep level. Brazil is not a big guy at just 181 pounds, but the youngster from Tangipahoa Parish is lightening quick. And, Brazil could be used in certain situations in the running game like former players Russell Sheppard and Trindon Holiday.
It's all about the legal process now. Hill obviously must get cleared from a legal standpoint in order to be ready for the 2013 season. But the general rule of thumb in sports when it comes to a situation like LSU is facing, the team has to coach and prepare as if the "Hill" is gone.
Weather or not Hill is gone for good remains to be seen!