As LSU football players answered questions from reporters Monday, a repeated thumping sound came from the opposite end of the program’s indoor facility.
It was Drew Alleman’s right foot continuously connecting with a football.
Alleman, the former LSU kicker, has used the team’s facility since August as he prepares to make another run at professional football. It was only coincidence that Alleman was thumping footballs during interviews Monday night ahead of No. 4 LSU’s showdown at No. 7 Alabama.
Alleman accounted for all of the Tigers’ points in the team’s last win over Alabama – that 9-6, overtime thriller in Tuscaloosa.
Alleman, 25, is just returning to full strength after tearing his ACL last October. He’s spent a full year rehabilitating with his sights on pro ball. Alleman took a crack at the NFL after his final year at LSU in 2012, and then took a year off. He restarted his training last year before suffering the ACL tear while practicing a kickoff.
He has a kicking coach and agent based in Dallas, and he’s scheduled to compete in the kicker combine events in March and April. He kicks three days a week, booting anywhere from 60 to 80 field goals each session – all with the goal of getting one last shot to make an NFL team.
“If I don’t make it,” he said, “I’ll hang it up.”
Alleman joined us for a quick Q&A.
Alleman: Every year since I graduated, I always get calls and interviews for this week coming up. My phone starts blowing up. I think we’re due for one.
What comes to mind is just how awesome that team was (in 2011). I think it’s one of the best teams to take the field as LSU Tigers. This team’s doing really well as well. But you look back at 2011, even though we didn’t win a national championship, I think that’s one of the strongest teams I’ve seen in a long time here at LSU.
Q: What do you remember about that 25-yard game-winning kick to beat Alabama?
We ran back out there and Brad before I kicked it looked up to me and said, ‘What do you want to do after the kick?’ I said, ‘Let’s just run down and celebrate.’ We made it and we ran down and celebrated.
Q: Do you hear from NFL teams a lot?
Alleman: They’ll contact my agent. Just talking to my agent, what he’s saying is this year wasn’t a great year for kickers in the NFL.
This is the year a lot of teams will be looking for backups or someone to come in and compete for the starting job. It’s kind of perfect timing for me. Like I said, I was going to give it one more shot. Just didn’t know when ever since I took that break. Obviously, I couldn’t do it last year because of what happened to me so this is a perfect year.
I’m right at 25 years old, three years removed. That’s the perfect time. if I don’t make it, I’ll hang it up. I think I’ve matured a lot, strength wise, physically and mentally. I do work part time, really full time. I have a financial business. That really helps mentally learning different things. I wouldn’t say physically, kicking, but just the mindset I have going into it because most kicking is all mental.
I’m just excited to see what happens. Ultimately, excited about this weekend.
Alleman: The first couple of weeks were tough. It’s a painful surgery. It’s just tough knowing that that was the dream to get to the NFL. When it happens, you know that this could be it.
I had great doctors. LSU did a great job of getting me back. Even though I wasn’t (on the team) they fully supported me getting rehab and all of that stuff. It’s been awesome. It’s tough going through an injury. It’s tough knowing that you don’t know if you’ll ever be the same. But they’ve got great doctors.
Q: The NFL moved extra points back to the 15-yard line. You must be practicing from that spot a lot right?
Alleman: Absolutely. It’s about a 32-yarder, 33-yarder. It’s a little different from the visual side of it.
I’m anxious to see if they’re going to switch it in college. Usually college follows NFL. I don’t think they’ll do it. NFL is such a big difference. The kickers are so much better. I’m not saying college kickers are bad, but (NFL) is so much better. If they did it in college, it would be extremely interesting how games go.