Commentary

LSU continues to corral in-state talent

Originally Published: September 15, 2008
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

Athletes, athletes, athletes. Get the picture? Louisiana consistently produces speed, quickness and versatility at just about every position. Each of the past three classes have produced some of the nation's top wide receiving prospects in Chris Tolliver (LSU, 2008), Ricky Dixon (LSU, 2006) and even DeAngelo Benton, who has yet to qualify academically, as well as some of the nation's most dominant defensive tackles in 2009 prospects Chris Davenport (Mansfield, La.) and the underrated Josh Downs (Bastrop, La.), 2006 LSU signee Al Woods and 2006 Miami signee Chaz Washington.

The running backs haven't been too shabby either. Charles Scott (LSU, 2006) and Chris Brown (Oklahoma, 2006) have been prominent factors in their respective offenses early on in their careers. Oh yeah, a guy named Joe McKnight has been as advertised at USC after departing the 2007 class as the No.1 overall player in the ESPNU 150.

For the most part, LSU has put a fence around Louisiana top-to-bottom in recruiting and kept the best the state has to offer at home. Outside of losing McKnight to USC, of the state's top 10 rated prospects in each of the past three classes, 21 of 30 signed with LSU. The Tigers are not slowing down anytime soon, as three of the top five prospects we have graded so far in 2009 have committed to LSU.

Top recruit

Rueben Randle, wide receiver
Bastrop, La.
Considering: LSU, Alabama, Michigan, Miami, among others

Rueben Randle proved his worth over the course of his sophomore and junior seasons. And while Louisiana has produced some great receivers since 2006, none have been as good as Randle. The No. 10 player in the country and No. 1 rated wide receiver in the class has been shifted to quarterback for his senior year, further proving his skill level and versatility. His abilities were on display as he and his Bastrop teammates dismantled Dollarway (Ark.) in a 42-6 rout on ESPNU Friday. In the win, Randle rushed and threw for a touchdown.

The 6-foot-3 strider is the ideal blend of size, speed and strength. Though he has his choice of any SEC school or national recruiter, it may be difficult to lure him away from in-state power LSU. However, that doesn't make it a done deal.

Randle made unofficial visits this summer to Miami, Alabama and Cal, and wanting to take his time, expect him to exercise all five allotted official visits before making his final decision.

Under the radar recruit

Wes Luquette, quarterback
Isidore Newman HS (New Orleans) Considering: Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Ole Miss

Guys like Todd Reesing at Kansas give credence to not overlooking prospects like 6-foot QB Wes Luquette in the recruiting process. Seeing him on tape in the spring intrigued us, and then seeing him play again at the Nike camp in Alabama this summer sold us even more on his skills and ability to perform at the FBS level. The question is will someone be willing to take a chance on him?

He is unorthodox in his methods and lacks ideal height, but he is darn productive as both a runner and passer with a live arm and quick feet. If put in the shotgun and provided with the tools in the spread offense to succeed, Luquette is certainly capable of overcoming his height. We believe college recruiters are intrigued and impressed with Luquette, but the staff with the guts to pull the trigger could find themselves with a fine player under center for them someday.

On the Trail

LSU, 18 commits (Sept. 15)
Unlike the state of Florida with four BCS-conference schools competing for the state's best players, Louisiana is home to just one BCS conference school. That school, LSU, is the envy of the SEC and ACC with no competition in-state. LSU's biggest recruiting competitors are Auburn, Alabama and Florida, but the Tigers are off to a hot start with the nation's current No. 3 recruiting class and nine ESPNU 150 prospects.

Ironically, LSU's top two-ranked commitments -- ATH Russell Shepard (Houston/Cy-Ridge) and OT Stavion Lowe (Brownwood, Texas) -- hail from Texas. Defensive tackle Chris Davenport (Mansfield, La.) leads the way in-state along with six other Louisiana prospects.

Surprisingly, LSU has become a national recruiter as well with commits from Alabama, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Texas.

Tulane, 9 commits (Sept. 15)
Bob Toledo's surprisingly competitive Green Wave are off to a solid start with nine verbal commitments to this point. Running back Stephen Barnett (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) and ATH D.J. Banks (West Monroe, La.) provide much needed speed and athleticism as Tulane tries to build a resurgence and bring competitive college football back to New Orleans.

Louisiana-Monroe, 7 commits (Sept. 15)
The Warhawks class, comprised of prospects from Texas, Florida and in-state, is headed by quarterback Aaron Munoz (Pace, Fla.). He's a bit undersized at 6-0 and his delivery mechanics aren't ideal, but he's a gritty dual-threat with the potential to outperform others who may look better on paper.

Louisiana Tech, 4 commits (Sept. 15)
Top-80 safety Cassetti Brown (Leesville, La.) plays centerfield as well as anyone at the high school level. His leadership skills should translate to college and he should be a field general for the Bulldogs.

Louisiana-Lafayette has no known 2009 commits.

ESPNRISE.com Louisiana Game of the Week

Byrd-Shreveport (2-0) at West Monroe (2-0), Friday, 8 p.m. ET:
District 1-5A heats up with a pair of unbeaten teams. West Monroe jumped on Huntington-Shreveport early and often, scoring 22 points in the opening six minutes en route to a 43-0 win. Running back LaDarius Abrams paces the offense with six touchdowns, three in each game.

Byrd won its second straight, beating Airline-Shreveport 28-0. The Yellow Jackets blew open a tight game with 21 points in the second quarter, and running back Tramario Hall ran for 144 yards and two scores. -- Christopher Lawlor

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Luginbill is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.