Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU place-kicker James Hairston kicks off against Ole Miss laSt season at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. Hairston transferred to Rice in hopes of adding field goals to his kickoff duties.

Former LSU kickoff specialist James Hairston transferred to Rice, the school announced Monday.

Hairston, a rising senior, was the primary handler of LSU’s kickoffs over the previous three seasons. He announced his departure in March because he wants a shot at kicking field goals.

A graduate of LSU in finance, Hairston is eligible to play this season under NCAA rules.

Hairston is a Dallas native, and he has an uncle who played football and baseball for Rice.

Hairston has kicked all of LSU’s kickoffs the past two seasons. He handled the kickoff duties in 11 of 14 games during his freshman season in 2011.

Forty-five of Hairston’s 86 kickoffs last season went for a touchbacks, and he had a 63-yard average.

Colby Delahoussaye, a freshman walk-on, won the job kicking field goals last season. He made 13 of 14 attempts.

Hairston’s absence leaves the kickoff job open to a group of players, including Delahoussaye, signee Cameron Gamble, sophomore Trent Domingue and redshirt freshman Alex Kjellsten.

Delahoussaye was listed as the starting kickoff man in LSU’s preseason depth chart, followed by Domingue.

REPORT: Mettenberger puched in bar: Former LSU and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sucker punched in a Nashville bar, according to the bar’s owner.

The Tennessean posted a story Monday afternoon detailing the incident. The Titan did not comment to the newspaper.

Steve Ford, owner of Loser’s Most Wanted Bar & Grill on Division Street, said Mettenberger did nothing to provoke another bar patron, but the quarterback ended up getting punched in the face.

He did not require medical attention, the newspaper reported.

“Here’s the truth: The guy said something about ‘Roll Tide!’ to Zach, and Zach turned around and said ‘Good luck with that,’” Ford told The Tennessean. “And the guy’s buddy then sucker-punched Zach.”