Posted by Jerry Hinnen
There's rarely a dull moment where LSU football -- the program of Les Miles, the "Honey Badger," Death Valley, etc. -- is concerned. And as if we needed any further evidence, the first week of the Tigers' 2012 spring camp could see even more SEC history being made on the bayou.
Former LSU women's soccer goalkeeper Mo Isom will attempt to walk on to the Tiger roster Tuesday, putting her soccer-honed leg to the test in a tryout to become the team's newest placekicker. Isom would become the first female college football player in SEC history and just the second in FBS history, following former Colorado and New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida.
A fifth-year senior who has exhausted her eligibility on the soccer field, Isom has been planning the tryout since early 2011 and began working on field goals and kickoffs with the football team in workouts last September, station WDSU reported.
"I had [trying out] in my mind, and I approached some of the players I know, and they were so enthusiastic. And then I talked to some of the coaching staff, because of course I wanted to be in their good graces," Isom told LSU blog And the Valley Shook in a November interview. "I was expecting to see some resistance but all the doors were open to me, and everybody has been so excited, which is so great."
The daughter of a former college football player at Division II Carson-Newman , Isom said Tuesday her only motivation was attempting to make the team.
"People's first presumption is that it's a media stunt or some attempt for attention and glory," she said. "That couldn't be any farther from the truth."
Miles said in a statement following practice Tuesday that if he felt adding Isom to the roster would help the team, he wouldn't hesitate to do it.
"If she gave us an opportunity and an advantage, and I mean add an advantage, then certainly we would consider that," he said. "The good thing about it is she's an athlete. She's been through team before. She understands the commitment."
"I would have much less reservations with her than I would any number of other people that frankly didn't know what they were getting into," he added. "Obviously, she's got ball skills. She's been around it."
A Georgia native, Isom's difficult life away from the soccer field -- including her father's suicide and a battle with bulimia, as documented in this SI.com piece -- means she won't likely find the tryout process over-intimidating.
Isom told ATVS that she had connected on a 51-yarder in practice, and to judge by this highlight, leg strength may not be much of an issue:
"It would just be a fantastic way to spend my last year as a Tiger," she told ATVS. "And I love the guys on the team. I just think it would be a really special experience."
Isom would have a difficult time seeing the field even if she made the roster; rising senior Drew Alleman returns as the Tiger starter after hitting 16-of-18 field goals and 62 of his 63 extra points in 2011.
But whatever level of success she found with the Tigers, Isom would be breaking new ground in the SEC. The Southeast as a region has not been unfriendly towards female kickers, however; Ashley Martin became the first woman to score in a Division I game for FCS Jacksonville (Ala.) State, and in 2003 Tonya Butler became the first female kicker to kick an NCAA field goal at Division II West Alabama.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples pointed out that Isom has already competed against members of the current Tigers' roster, taking on defensive back Tryann Mathieu in an episode of Isom's "Meaux Vs." YouTube series.
Photo by LSU Sports Information, via ATVS. HT their way for the SI link as well. For more on Isom and other reports from LSU's spring practice, follow Glenn Guilbeau's CBSSports.com Tiger RapidReports.
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