After a stop in Fort Worth, Texas, the second leg on the Nike Football Training Camp tour this weekend will take place in Baton Rouge at LSU and it will likely have no less talent than its neighbor to the West. The talent will come from within the state, Mississippi, Florida and even Texas. In fact, one of the top players slated to attend hails from Houston, Texas, though he will be wearing Purple and Gold in college.
Russell Shepard is expected to be on hand representing the quarterbacks and he will likely feel right at home on his future home turf. The five-star prospect will be throwing the ball alongside 2010 prospect Terrance Broadway who is expected one of top quarterbacks in his class in the state of Louisiana.
At least two other LSU commits will likely be on hand, including Janzen Jackson out of Lake Charles Barbe High School. Jackson is a hard-hitting defensive back that could wind up at corner or safety in the SEC.
The third LSU commit that is expected to attend is Michael Ford of Leesville High School. After missing much of his junior season, Ford will be out to show that he is back from injury and one of the best backs in the nation.
However, the running back position isn't limited to Ford as far as talent. Eddie Lacy may be the best running back the state has to offer in terms of pure talent but both he and Ford will get some stiff competition in the form of Mississippi's best running back Kendrick Hardy.
LSU and many other schools around the nation would also love to land several of the other prospects expected to be in attendance.
Chris Davenport, at 6 feet 3 and 305 pounds, is a massive but athletic defensive tackle that has favored LSU for some time but will still get loads of attention from programs around the nation. He will do battle against two very talented offensive linemen: Chris Faulk of Slidell Northshore and East St. John's Patrick Lewis.
2008 NIKE CAMP SCHEDULE
Miami, Fla. – Camp Recap
Gainesville, Fla. – Camp Recap
Los Angeles, Calif. – Camp Recap
Fort Worth, Texas – April 26
Baton Rouge, La. – April 27
Chapel Hill, N.C. – May 2
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – May 3
Columbus, Ohio – May 9
State College, Pa. – May 10
Stanford, Calif. – May 17
Eugene, Ore. – June 7
Provo, Utah - June 14
Also in the mix in the trenches is a talented defensive tackle out of Mississippi, Josh Boyd. Boyd has had to deal with some injury issues but when healthy, could develop into one of the top defensive linemen in the 2009 class.
Kenny Bell, a wide receiver out of Rayville High School in Northern Louisiana, will put his speed on display and show why he has become such a priority to LSU and some neighboring SEC programs.
He will also be challenged by a Mississippi visitor in D'Iberville's Kevin Norwood. At 6 feet 3 and 180 pounds, Norwood holds offers from all of the major programs in the state of Mississippi and could earn many more after a strong showing in Baton Rouge.
Another top target for LSU is Barkevious Mingo, a raw but talented outside linebacker with great size and great speed. Mingo will be joined by several of his talented West Monroe teammates including running back Ladarius Abrams and athlete prospect D.J. Banks.
All the way from Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., Matt Coffee will be on hand and could line up as either a running back or a linebacker at the event. Because of his explosive athleticism and his great strength, Coffee has become one of the most highly recruited players in the Florida panhandle.
Travante Stallworth may elect to play quarterback at the LSU Camp but after rushing for close to 1,000 yards as a junior, he clearly has shown that he has the ability to play other roles on the next level.
Though not a quarterback, Barbe standout Ernest Celestie has that versatility as well and will be using the camp setting as a platform to show that college coaches are missing out on the explosive athlete.
Some other players will be looking to make a statement as well such as Lamin Barrow who can justify his lofty four-star ranking with a good showing in Baton Rouge.
Tyrone Duplessis out of O.P. Walker in New Orleans is a bowling ball of a running back and if he excels within the camp setting, his 5-foot-8 stature may soon become less of a question mark.
The proving grounds will be hot with opportunity this weekend and somebody will seize the moment.