LSU offensive tackle Alex Hurst was a no-show for Saturday’s LSU-South Carolina game in Tiger Stadium amid rumors and reports that he left the team earlier this week.
Sixth-year senior Josh Dworaczyk started at left tackle in place of Hurst, who started there the past two games. Freshman Vadal Alexander started at right tackle.
“All I can tell you is he wasn’t here and we wish him the very best,” LSU coach Les Miles said without indicating why Hurst was absent. “He will be sidelined for some time.”
Right guard Josh Williford also didn’t play after suffering a concussion last week at Florida. Williford was replaced by redshirt freshman Trai Turner, making his first career start.
Also making his first career start was true freshman Lamar Louis at strongside linebacker. Louis replaced fellow freshman Kwon Alexander, who suffered a broken ankle at Florida.
LSU has now started four freshmen this season.
Big recruiting weekend
The biggest home game of the season in Tiger Stadium was expected to bring out some of the nation’s biggest recruits for 2013 and 2014 out to watch LSU and South Carolina in person.
One of the nation’s biggest prospects was in attendance: linebacker Rueben Foster (6-foot-2, 242 pounds) of Auburn, Ala.
Foster, ranked as the nation’s No. 2 prospect by ESPN, Rivals and Scout, is committed to Auburn but took the visit with former high school teammate Christian Cumberlander (6-3, 190), a wide receiver now in prep school.
East Feliciana linebacker Kendell Beckwith (6-3, 225), arguably the state’s top prospect for 2013, was also on the sideline, as were many of LSU’s 2013 commitments.
Scheduled to make his first visit to an LSU home game this season was 2014 running back Leonard Fournette (6-1, 232) of New Orleans-St. Augustine.
Fournette’s team had a District 10-4A game Saturday afternoon in New Orleans against Warren Easton, but he told Rivals.com he looked forward to making the trip.
Fournette’s one college camp this summer was at LSU.
“I had fun,” Fournette told Rivals. “I have a real nice relationship with (running backs coach and recruiting coordinator) Frank Wilson. He’s real close with my dad. I like LSU. It’s nice over there.”
A pair of Fournette’s former St. Aug teammates play for LSU — offensive lineman Jonah Austin and Turner — and are naturally trying to pull him to Tigertown.
“I talk to them two or three times a week,” Fournette said. “They’re already recruiting me, but I’m really just trying to focus on my last two school years. I haven’t made any decisions yet.”
Also sure to be hot on Fournette’s trail is Alabama recruiting coordinator Burton Burns, who also has St. Aug ties.
Fournette is rated by 24/7 Sports as the nation’s No. 1 running back and No. 5 prospect overall for the Class of 2014.
In all, more than 60 prospects from 2013-16 were expected to attend the game, a number that included West Monroe’s Cameron Robinson (6-5, 330), the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle prospect for 2014 per 24/7 Sports.
A number for former LSU players and coaches were recognized during Saturday’s game.
Members of LSU’s 1982 team, the last group of Tigers to play in the Orange Bowl, were recognized during pregame festivities. That team went 8-3-1, including a 20-10 win over Alabama that was LSU’s first over the Crimson Tide since 1970.
Former LSU All-American punter Chad Kessler served as an honorary game captain. Kessler still holds the LSU and NCAA record for season punting average with 50.3 yards per kick in 1997.
New LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones was recognized on the field during the first quarter, as was former Tigers pitcher Kevin Gausman. Gausman was drafted with the fourth overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles and signed with the club in July for $4.32 million.
Former LSU and South Carolina coach Paul Dietzel was recognized between the first and second quarters. Dietzel was LSU’s coach from 1955-61 and served at South Carolina from 1966-74.
At halftime, LSU radio play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne, the “Voice of the Tigers,” was recognized for his 30 years of calling LSU football.
LSU accepting nominees
Nominations are being accepted for the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame through Nov. 16.
Any former LSU student-athlete, coach or administrator who meets the qualifications for induction into the Hall of Fame may be considered.
Nominaton forms can be obtained by calling the LSU athletic director’s office at (225) 578-3600 or downloaded at http://www.LSUSports.net/nominations. Each form must include a resumé and two letters of recommendation.
Tune in Sunday
TV network and kickoff time for LSU’s game next Saturday at Texas A&M will be announced Sunday. Typically games are selected two Mondays before, but CBS exercised a six-day option on several games this weekend.
Not superior lately
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was 11-1 against LSU as a coach at Florida but is now 0-3 against the Tigers at USC. LSU coach Les Miles is 3-0 against the Gamecocks.
LSU now leads the South Carolina series 17-2-1, including five straight wins. The Gamecocks only two victories in the series were by one point each time, 7-6 in 1930 and 18-17 in 1994. ... LSU players wore pink ribbons on the back of their helmets Saturday in recognition of breast cancer awareness month…. South Carolina players wore special gray “battle” uniforms for the game with white numbers and white helmets. LSU wore its traditional home uniforms: white jerseys with gold helmets and pants. … This game marked LSU’s latest Southeastern Conference home opener since the Tigers hosted Vanderbilt on Oct. 13, 1984. … After A&M, LSU has an open date before returning home Nov. 3 to host Alabama (7 p.m., CBS).
Advocate sportswriters Les East and Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.