Glenn Gilbeau / GANNETTLOUISIANA
BATON ROUGE Tailback Terrence Magee on Sunday night became the seventh player to be awarded LSU's No. 18 jersey since staff members made the number a special honor entering the 2004 season.
Magee, a senior from Franklinton, is coming off his best season as a Tiger after getting buried on the depth chart in 2011 as a true freshman tailback and again playing very little in 2012 as a deep backup at wide receiver. Magee returned to tailback in 2013 and is LSU's leading returning rusher entering the 2014 season as he gained 626 yards on 86 carries with eight touchdowns last season.
'I didn't expect to get it,' Magee said Monday afternoon after the Tigers opened preseason practices that morning. 'I feel like there are a lot of guys that are very worthy of wearing the No. 18.'
As an honor to outgoing quarterback Matt Mauck, who wore No. 18 in LSU's 2003 national championship season, LSU head trainer Jack Marucci, equipment manager Greg Stringfellow and sports information director Michael Bonnette decided to award the No. 18 for the 2004 season to someone who was expected to be a top player as well as someone who possesses a strong character.
The trio along with Mauck on the phone, as he is a dentist in Denver, discuss the candidates and pick the new No. 18 before each season and give the selection to LSU coach Les Miles, who has gone along with their pick every year, including this season.
'I was sitting in the seat as Coach Miles began to go into his speech about the No. 18, and I kind of got chills,' Magee said. 'When he called my name and presented it to me, it was a very good feeling to know that the coaches and the rest of the staff thought enough of me to choose me to wear the No. 18.'
Magee feels like he earned it.
'When a young guy comes to college, he's trying to find his way,' he said. 'For me, it took a little longer than for most people. I just had to keep fighting and go through some hardships of having a bunch of guys in front of me, from a position change to being moved back to running back and having to fight for a spot again. I just had to continue to stay the course. I just want to thank everybody who thought enough of me to present me with this number and give me the opportunity.'
LSU's previous special No. 18s were:
-Tailback Jacob Hester of Shreveport (2004-07), tight end Richard Dickson of Ocean Springs, Miss. (2008-09), tailback Richard Murphy of Rayville (2010), safety Brandon Taylor of Franklinton (2011), defensive tackle Bennie Logan of Coushatta (2012) and outside linebacker Lamin Barrow of Marrero (2013).
RASCO, THOMPSON HEALTHY: Senior starting defensive end Jermauria Rasco of Shreveport and junior safety Corey Thompson of Missouri City, Texas, both practiced Monday after each missed most of spring drills with injuries.
'Everything that I have is they're ready to roll,' Miles said.
Rasco missed the spring after minor shoulder surgery. Thompson missed the spring after knee surgery.
FRESHMEN SENSATIONS: Apparently, true freshmen defensive backs Jamal Adams of Carrollton, Texas, and John Battle of Hallandale, Fla., are already expected to be in the playing mix this season.
'We like Jamal Adams and John Battle,' Miles said. 'To me, those are some guys who are pretty talented guys that will fit in very comfortably.'
Adams was the No. 3 safety in the country coming out of high school while Battle was the No. 20 cornerback, according to Rivals.com.