Wrapping up our series on Dan Whitehurst, we spotlight his partner in mayhem at linebacker: the equally hard-hitting Larry Strickland. This personal account of the colorful Strickland -- including his infamous bite -- is courtesy of Garnet & Great reader Al Washington, who played with Larry at Rickards and knew him well at Florida State. Al graduated from FSU in 1972, then served 30 years in the Marines, retiring as a Colonel. Thanks for the memories, Al.
In the fall of 1967, Larry Strickland was being recruited by several Southern football powers. Larry's reputation as a relentless, hard-nosed linebacker---(his football motor NEVER stopped during games or at practice)---quickly spread throughout the North Florida area. I was his teammate at Rickards High School in Tallahassee. Before the start of a scheduled scrimmage in early September 1967, our head coach approached me and asked me to play running back in a special drill (3-on-1) in which Larry as the defender would face two offensive lineman with the back running for the open hole. After the first whistle blew, I realized that Larry wasn't going to allow for an open hole, in fact, he plowed through lineman after lineman to tackle me in the backfield. After 5 straight losses carrying the ball and eating a lot of dirt, I staggered away and saw for the first time that college scouts from Georgia Tech, Auburn, Florida, Miami and FSU were on hand to watch the drill. Larry completed the season in a starring role (All Big Bend, 1st Team All State AAA) and led Rickards to our first state playoff berth. Coach Bob Harbison handled Larry's FSU recruitment.