Still stunned after learning that he had been awarded the No. 18 jersey to wear for the LSU football team this season, Foster Moreau had one little thing to take care of when he emerged from a team meeting Friday night.
After reading a few text messages and tweets, he called his mother Tricia in New Orleans to give her the news that he’ll be the latest to carry on a tradition started in 2003 by former Tigers quarterback Matt Mauck.
“I called her and she’s like, ‘I’m not getting another jersey,’” a smiling Moreau said Sunday. “She’s tearing up and said, ‘I’ve got an 84 (his former number) and I’m not getting another one.’”
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When he repeatedly told her it was fine, she responded, “I’ll get another jersey.”
At the time, it was still a bit surreal for Moreau, who experienced another weird moment Saturday afternoon when he pulled the jersey on for the Tigers’ first preseason practice.
Upon leaving the locker room, he immediately came upon former LSU tailback Jacob Hester, whom Mauck passed the number to after leading the Tigers to the 2003 BCS title. Hester, now host of a local sports radio show, wore it from 2004-07.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ so I stopped and talked to Jacob for about 20 minutes,” Moreau said. “I was almost late (for practice) because I was talking to him. But it was like, ‘Wait, this is serious, we have to talk about this.’ It was really cool.”
There have been lighter moments as well, like how defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko views Moreau now.
“He keeps trolling me … he hasn’t said my name since, he just calls me 18,” Moreau said with a laugh. “But it’s just been so cool.”
Moreau had one further induction. During Saturday’s practice, Hester added Moreau to the iMessage group chat that includes all the former 18’s.
“I had to come back and respond to all the texts,” Moreau said. “Just first time talking to all the guys. I hadn’t met a lot of them. Just kind of like the first time introducing myself and telling them how humbled I was.”
He won’t be the guy hitting the other’s up for late-night food runs.
“I don’t want to screw it up,” Moreau said. “I’m not going to blow it up at all. I think I sent just one long text: Hey guys, it’s Foster here. Save my number, and all the other stuff.”
New at the nose
All-American middle linebacker Devin White had a new player lined up in front of him, Fehoko, when LSU went through its first practice session Saturday.
Fehoko, a transfer from Texas Tech who had been the projected starter at left end, was moved inside last week because Ed Alexander continues to have issues with the knee he injured during spring drills.
White’s first impression of the 6-foot-3, 298-pound Fehoko, who is a bit undersized for the position, was positive.
“He’s super athletic as a nose tackle,” White said. “When you think of a nose tackle, you think of a big guy just clogging the middle up. He makes so many plays in the (offensive) backfield.
“I know we didn’t have any pads on, but he lived in that backfield. He’s still big at the end of the day, but he’s more athletic. He looks like a small guy and he dresses like a small guy … but can hold his own in the middle.”
White said he admired how Fehoko, who can play left or right end, made the switch and slid inside just before the start of preseason camp.
“He’s a team player at the end of the day,” White said. “Coach (Ed Orgeron) told him, ‘I need you here.’ He didn’t blink; he just went in and he’s been doing his thing.”
A new look
During his news conference Friday that officially opened preseason camp, Orgeron noted that redshirt freshman nose tackle Tyler Shelvin had reported back to campus weighing 354 pounds.
Listed as 378 pounds on the LSU roster, Shelvin did indeed look slimmer than that, moving swiftly through the drills Orgeron and defensive line coach Dennis Johnson put their defensive linemen through.
Shelvin, the No. 1-rated prospect in Louisiana in the 2017 recruiting class, was ineligible to play in games because he was not a full academic qualifier. But he was allowed to practice and was listed on the LSU roster as being 6-3 and 378 pounds.
Advocate sportswriters Brooks Kubena and Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.