ENGSTER: NFL Pipeline runs through LSU

LSU and Alabama lead the parade of colleges in the number of NFL draft choices produced in the last decade with 65 selections apiece. Not surprisingly, the Tigers and Tide are atop the list of colleges for most players on NFL rosters.

SEC schools own six of the top eleven spots on the NFL list of colleges for its 1,696 roster spots to start the 2018 season. There are 335 players in the league from the conference, which means one in five athletes in the NFL hails from one of the 14 schools of the SEC, 20-percent of the league representation.

Here is the list of SEC members and the number of 2018 NFL roster spots.

  1. Alabama 44
  2. LSU 40
  3. Florida 38
  4. Auburn 28
  5. Georgia 28
  6. Tennessee 27
  7. Texas A&M 24
  8. Ole Miss 22
  9. South Carolina 22
  10. Mississippi St. 17
  11. Missouri 16
  12. Arkansas 13
  13. Kentucky 8
  14. Vanderbilt 8

Former LSU standout Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants has signed the most lucrative non-quarterback contract in the history of the NFL, $95 million over five years.

Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals will earn more than $14 million this year in the last year of a five-year pact. He should garner an even more lucrative deal next year.

Neither Beckham nor Peterson is likely to earn a degree from LSU, so according to the rules of the school’s Hall of Fame, they will be barred from entrance into the LSU shrine, the same fate the late Pete Maravich faced after he left TigerTown in 1970. Forty-eight years later, there is no Pistol Pete in the Hall located in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

A year ago, Danny Etling was the starting LSU quarterback. As a seventh round draft pick, he has earned a position on the practice roster of the New England Patriots. Etling notably had an 86-yard touchdown run against the Steelers in a pre-season contest. Perhaps he should swap roles and try out as a running back considering the long odds of his scamper.

Here is a list of some NFL Hall of Fame rushers and their longest professional runs.

Barry Sanders    85 yards

Jim Taylor            84 yards

Jim Brown           80 yards

Walter Payton   76 yards

Emmitt Smith     75 yards

Steve Van Buren 70 yards

SEC is Trump Country

Jimmy Carter of Georgia won the White House in 1976 in large part by winning all eleven states of the current SEC. Carter used his appeal in his native territory to outpoint Gerald Ford of Michigan in a close race.

The 38th American president rewarded the region with some cabinet posts in his administration, including LSU graduate Ray Marshall who was Carter’s Secretary of Labor and Moon Landrieu of New Orleans who was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Forty years later, Donald Trump took the states of the SEC to whip Hillary Clinton in a battle of two candidates who call New York home.

Trump won the Southeastern Conference by a margin of 5,172,836 votes while Clinton outpolled Trump in the other 39 states and the District of Columbia by a margin of 8,041,522 votes.

The lone SEC representative in the Trump cabinet is Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who received his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.

Donald Trump opened his campaign for the White House at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile with Sessions at his side. At 5-5, the lawmaker was a giant in the Senate, so his endorsement of Trump was critical to the early momentum for the 6-2 candidate from Gotham City. But the two men born in 1946 have split the sheets over the Justice Department’s probe of Russia and the Trump campaign.

According to Politico, Trump told both aides and lawmakers in the last few weeks that Sessions does not have the “Ivy League pedigree” favored by the president, who is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Trump reportedly added “that he can’t stand his (Sessions) southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president because he “talks like has marbles in his mouth.”

Lots of people with southern accents proudly supported Trump in 2016 with the eleven states in the league producing 150 electoral votes that were essential to his upset victory.

It is easy to listen to the Attorney General and discern the region that Sessions calls home, but he has some positives the president lacks. Unlike the commander-in-chief, Sessions looks to be in reasonably good physical condition as a septuagenarian, and he served 13 years in the U.S. Army, noble qualities for American men aiming to make our country great again.

Paul Dietzel gone but not forgotten

This month marks 94 years since the birth of Paul Franklin Dietzel in Fremont, OH. Dietzel died five years ago on Sept. 24, 2013 in Baton Rouge.

At 34, Tall Paul directed the LSU footballers to their last undefeated season 60 years ago. He was just 15 years removed from heroism as a teenager in WWII. He successfully executed several missions over enemy fire and lived to talk about it, but rarely did.

As a member of the Army Air Corps, the 6-4 bomber pilot flew 12 combat missions over Japan. Dietzel married his high school sweetheart, Anne Wilson, in 1944. The union lasted until his death 69 years later.

Dietzel commented that when he arrived on campus at LSU for the first time in 1954, the biggest sport at the Ole War Skule was boxing. Pugilistic bouts drew droves of fans at the Cow Palace, and football was such an afterthought that Dietzel was hired for three years as head football coach with an annual payout of $13,000.

Dietzel permanently changed the emphasis on football at Death Valley and left LSU the first time when was only 37 with a national title and two SEC championships. His return to West Point where he had been an assistant to Earl “Red” Blaik was the talk of the nation.

In Dietzel’s obituary, The New York Times quoted historian Fred Russell: “Tall and trim, with blue-gray eyes, thick blond hair and boyish smile, he is an engaging conversationalist among men and has a courtly way with the ladies.”

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