Multiple LSU players continue legacies established by college football bloodlines

 

Sophomore tight end Chase Clement had a career game Saturday night during LSU's exciting 33-29 win against Florida.

The converted defensive end picked up his first reception as a Tiger on a 21-yard, first-quarter catch from junior quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

Clement also created the most crucial block of the night when he smashed Florida redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins and opened up a cruising lane for LSU senior kicker Josh Jasper on the Tigers' fake field goal in the fourth quarter.

But the highlight of his night may have come after the game clock struck zero.

"We went to the game and were looking for Chase after the game, but we couldn't find him," said Ruffin Rodrigue Sr., Clement's uncle and former LSU offensive lineman from 1962-64. "We found him on the team bus and knocked on the window. He couldn't wait to come talk to us and hug us and tell us how thankful he was that we came."

Clement is one of 11 Tigers extending the legacy of family members by playing college football.

The 261-pound, 6-foot-5-inch, tight end has four uncles who have donned purple and gold, including Rodrigue's son, Ruffin Rodrigue Jr., and the late Eric Andolsek, an All-American offensive lineman and team captain during LSU's 1986 and 1987 seasons.

"I've heard so many stories about him," Clement said about Andolsek.

Andolsek, a member of Athlon Sports' All-Time LSU team, died in 1992 when he was struck by a truck while working on his yard in Thibodaux.

"I heard he dominated everybody on the field," Clement said. "I just came here and am trying to follow the same course he did."

Four current LSU starters have bloodlines tied to former college football players — sophomore center P.J. Lonergan, junior offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert, Jasper and Clement.

Jasper also honors the legacy of a late family member every Saturday.

The kicker's grandfather, Bill Jasper, was a center for Tennessee's national championship team in 1951, and the Memphis, Tenn., native said being a college football player has made his dad proud.

"My dad was really excited because his dad played college football," Jasper said. "My dad hurt his knee, and he wasn't able to play football so he was real happy I got the chance."

P.J. followed in the footsteps of his dad, Pat Lonergan, who lettered on LSU's offensive line in 1978, and his uncle, who also suited up for the Tigers.

"It helps having somebody who will watch the game and give his honest opinion and know you can trust their opinion because they have done it before," P.J. said.

Pat said his perspective of football has changed since playing in Tiger Stadium 32 years ago.

"I'm glad LSU's winning," Pat Lonergan said. "But as I get older, I find myself more interested in if he gets up after the play."

P.J. and Hebert have often battled for the center position since 2009, and they share another connection by having dads with football histories.

T-Bob said Bobby Hebert, a former quarterback for Northwestern State University and the New Orleans Saints from 1983 to 1992, was hesitant to usher his son into the game.

"He never really pushed football on me," T-Bob said. "I had to beg him to play when I was 9, but he ended up being on the coaching staff of my little league team."

T-Bob may have followed the "Cajun Cannon" to football, but his 6-foot-3-inch, 280-pound frame led him to choose a different position than his legendary dad and younger brother, who plays quarterback for a high school football team in Atlanta.

"Something in the gene pool got a little switched up," T-Bob said, laughing. "I got the big-man genes."

For junior cornerback Ron Brooks, looking at his picture in the LSU media guide reminds him of his dad.

Anthony Brooks was a wide receiver for Texas A&M Commerce and the Chicago Bears during the early 1990s.

"He used to bring home the media guides," Ron said. "They had his picture in there. I used to imagine myself one day getting into a media guide like that."

The future looks bright for LSU players continuing the family tradition.

LSU's 2010 recruiting class brought in five players with college football ties, mostly notably freshman tight end Travis Dickson.

Travis' brother, Richard, was the starting tight end for LSU from 2008 to 2009, and his dad and grandfather also played football in the Southeastern Conference.

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Contact Michael Lambert at mlambert@lsureveille.com

 

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