As LSU continues to stockpile another monster recruiting class, there is a national flavor to the 2009 group. The Tigers have commitments from prospects in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Mississippi. As always though, LSU is right in the mix with some of the best prospects in its backyard - which also means that it is in the mix with some of the best prospects in the nation.
The Preseason Louisiana Top 40 is headed by the nation's top wide receiver prospect, five-star standout Rueben Randle. At 6-foot-3, the Bastrop, La., native is so athletic he makes almost every play look routine. He is in the Larry Fitzgerald mold - good frame, great hands, deceptive speed and beautiful route-running.
Don't forget how good Randle is as a wide receiver, because after his senior season there will be plenty of people that will be calling him the best quarterback prospect in the state. Because of the departure of Bastrop signal-caller Randall Mackey, Randle will be moving under center - further illustrating his unique athleticism - for his senior season.
Following Randle at the top of the Louisiana list is another five-star prospect, defensive tackle Chris Davenport, who is hearing from every major program in the country. LSU sits in the driver's seat for Davenport's services. If he ends up in Purple and Gold, LSU's strong defensive line tradition is sure to continue.
Davenport is an athletic defensive lineman with limitless potential. At 6 feet 3 and 315 pounds, Davenport runs like a linebacker and overpowers smaller offensive linemen.
Another prospect with a high ceiling is West Monroe's Barkevious Mingo. The slender linebacker is still relatively new to the game and comes in at No. 5 in the state due to his great frame, elite athleticism and outstanding upside as a pass-rusher on the next level.
The top rated offensive lineman in the state is LSU commit Chris Faulk, a massive 6-foot-6, 280-pounder that has the frame to be a dominant tackle in the SEC. Faulk is ranked as the No. 8 player in the state, and is followed shortly thereafter by a much smaller offensive lineman in Patrick Lewis at No. 12.
At just under 6 feet 2, Lewis has some height restrictions. However, his run-blocking ability and athleticism - as well as his ability to snap the ball - make him a great prospect at guard or center at the college level.
Coming in at Nos. 14 and 16, respectively, are teammates of the top-ranked Randle. DeQuinta Jones and Josh Downs lead the defensive line for Bastrop. Downs will be heading to LSU to play in college, while Jones has seen his offer list swell to include schools such as Alabama, California, Michigan and Arkansas - among others.
While the top of the list is very strong with five-stars and four-stars to spare, the depth in the state is outstanding. There are several players whose stock may just now be starting to rise.
Kendrick Washington from Shreveport Huntington is an intriguing prospect as a basketball standout, but he has some great football upside. He lands at the No. 18 spot on the list, two spots ahead of Metarie Rummel safety Jarvis Walker. A Kentucky commit, Walker is one of the hardest hitters in the state. He could be a star either as a safety or a linebacker in college.
There is speed in the latter half of the list as well, with Mamou running back Robert Walker debuting at No. 32. At only 5 feet 7, Walker has a great burst and acceleration out of the backfield and has been incredibly productive in his high school career. Two spots ahead of him at No. 30 is E.J. Celestie, an all-purpose player who could be a real steal for Texas Tech.
No. 35 is D.J. Banks, who spent 2007 as the backup quarterback for West Monroe while filling in at kick returner and in the slot on offense. He is projected as a defensive back at the next level, and he made the most of his opportunity to showcase his skills at the Nike Camp this spring. Banks took home Defensive Back MVP honors at the Baton Rouge event. His athleticism will be on display again this fall as the starting quarterback for West Monroe.
A list of only 40 fails to mention some of the top prospects in a deep state for talent. However, as the fall season approaches, there will be ample opportunity to see new names emerge throughout the season.