Some LSU Players Thrived As Saints While Others Faltered

Posted on May 24, 2022

The Who Dat Nation is thrilled to hear the news. “Honey Badger” is coming home. New Orleans native and NFL veteran Tyrann Mathieu recently signed with the Saints.

Fans hope the former LSU star plays well for New Orleans in the 2022-2023 season. Some former LSU players who have played for the Saints have been super Tigers. Others have been soft kittens.

Saints fans love every player on the team, but when they’re local, and if they were a star at Death Valley, it only heightens the expectations and excitement. With the addition of Mathieu, who has played for the Cardinals, Chiefs and Texans, BetMGM LA has the Saints listed as the second favorite to win the NFC South next season at +450.

Unfortunately, the Saints didn’t land LSU star Derek Stingley, Jr. at this year’s draft. Here’s how some former LSU players who have played for the Saints fared.

Super Tigers who shined with the Saints

Eric Martin

Eric Martin was originally a running back at LSU and moved to wide receiver after his freshman year.

What a great decision.

During the Saints’ first heyday — the good Jim Mora years from 1987-1993 — Martin was the Saints’ one consistent wide receiver threat. His 7,854 yards with the Saints still rank him second on the all-time Saints receiving yardage list.

Devery Henderson

“He could do the backstroke into the end zone!” Who will ever forget Saints radio announcer Jim Henderson’s call of the Devery Henderson touchdown on Monday Night Football against the Patriots in 2009.

Devery was a second round pick out of LSU in 2004. He gave quarterback Drew Brees a big play threat. He averaged 17.9 yards a reception in his career.

Dalton Hilliard

Football was such a different game in the ’80s. Teams still ran the ball a lot. Dalton Hillard, part of the legendary Hilliard and Garry James Gang backfield at LSU, formed a tandem with Rueben Mayes to give the Saints a great 1-2 combination.

Mayes got hurt. Hilliard kept on chugging. His 18 touchdowns led the NFL in 1986. He was a fantasy football star before that was even a thing.

Randall Gay

The Saints got Randall Gay from the Patriots, where he had won a Super Bowl. The Saints hoped his experience and knowledge would pay off.

It did.

Gay was a key player in the Saints secondary on their Super Bowl championship team in 2009. Sadly, a concussion ended his career a year later.

Eddie Kennison

Eddie Kennison was one of my favorite players when I was at LSU. When he signed with the Saints in 1999, it was exciting. He had good hands and was just blazing fast.

But nothing was going to save the 1999 Saints. They were doomed. It was the year of the Billy Joes (QBs Billy Joe Tolliver and Billy Joe Herbert). Coach Mike Ditka had no idea what he was doing.

Kennison had 61 catches for the Saints and was a bright spot. He scored on a 90-yarder, one of the longest plays in franchise history. They played the Falcons. The Saints lost on a field goal by former Saints legend Morten Andersen.

Those were bad times. Kennison smartly got out and had productive years with the Chiefs.

LSU Tigers turned soft kittens with the Saints

Jim Taylor

Former Packers fullback Jim Taylor was part of the NFL’s signature dynasty of the 1960s. When he was signed by the Saints, who were just starting as a franchise, it was a big deal. Here was a bonafide NFL star coming back home.

But Taylor was old and slow. The Packers had pulled one over on the Saints. Taylor had just 390 yards on 130 carries in one year.

Ken Bordelon

Ken Bordelon was a New Orleans native who played at Brother Martin High School. The LSU linebacker spent six seasons with the Saints and was part of the famous Archie Manning-led 8-8 team in 1979 and the infamous 1-15 team in 1980.

Tom Hodson

Do you even remember that “Touchdown Tommy” played for the Saints? He was QB Jim Everett’s backup in 1995. Tom Hodson was a star at LSU and had a few good years with the Patriots. His last season in the NFL was 1995.

Nicky Savoie

The Saints drafted Nick Savoie (pronounced Salve-WAH) in the sixth round in 1997. It was another weird Ditka pick. Savoie had been a good player on some poor LSU teams, but he barely played for the black and gold.

Matt Flynn

That’s right, the Saints had Matt Flynn briefly in 2015. He was a star in Baton Rouge, leading LSU to a national title in 2007. Flynn earned a ridiculous amount of money in his career as a backup. He was all set to be the Seattle Seahawks starter in 2012.

Then Russell Wilson happened.

Flynn bounced around after that and never actually played for the Saints.

Photo by Associated Press
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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