If you were an ordinary high school kicker looking to find a spot on a team, one place you didn’t want to be was Acadiana High, circa 2007.
If you were there, you would have had to compete with Drew Alleman, who was one of the nation’s top kickers as a senior and, as a junior, kicked the game-winning field goal in a 13-10 Class 5A state championship game with Sulphur.
Alleman is now the field goal specialist for LSU, where he’s 10-for-12 in field goals this year.
So maybe you could have been his backup?
Um, maybe not.
Alleman handled both punting and kicking duties for three years at Acadiana. In Alleman’s senior season in 2007, his backup and junior varsity kicker was a sophomore named Cody Mandell.
Mandell became Acadiana’s varsity kicker/punter after Alleman left for LSU. And after his prep career, he walked on at Alabama, where he’s now the starting punter for the Crimson Tide, averaging 39 yards a boot.
“We always had fun competing against each other at practice,” Alleman recalled of Mandell. “He was a great guy. I look forward to seeing him again.”
Alleman’s holder is punter Brad Wing, who punted and kicked against Mandell when Mandell’s Acadiana team and Wing’s alma mater, Parkview Baptist, played a regular-season game in 2009.
Wing, the SEC’s leading punter, got the LSU scholarship offer in 2009 and, after redshirting last season, became the starter this year as a redshirt freshman. Mandell didn’t get a bad alternative when he became a recruited walk-on at Alabama.
“He had a better chance (at Alabama),” Alleman said.
It won’t be the only matchup of former teammates Saturday. When he carries Saturday, Alabama backup running back Eddie Lacy will try to avoid LSU safety Eric Reid. The two were teammates at Dutchtown High.
But they didn’t play the same position, a distinction that Alleman and Mandell shared at Acadiana.