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Power rankings: Mingo makes difference

9/2/2012

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Each week, we'll rank the Tigers making the biggest contributions. With one week of games to choose from, we'll start with a big five and eventually build to a regular top 10. Here's who we like after LSU's 41-14 win over North Texas:

1. DE Barkevious Mingo: First, Les Miles called him the most improved player in August camp. Then, he wreaked havoc against the Mean Green with six tackles, one for loss, and always seemed to be disrupting plays in the backfield.

2. RB Kenny Hilliard: We knew he'd be a guy LSU could turn to for tough, inside yards. But at a svelte 230 pounds, Hilliard showed some nifty moves and a burst when he exploded through holes on runs of 60 and 38 yards en route to a game-high 141 yards on just 13 carries.

3. FS Eric Reid: With seven tackles, an interception and a pass broken up, at first glance, you'd think he'd be at the top of the list. But Reid admitted he erred to allow big plays on both North Texas touchdowns, which knocks him down a couple of notches.

4. WR-PR Odell Beckham, Jr.: Like Tyrann Mathieu a season ago, Beckham took what he wanted in the return game, running a punt back 70 yards for a touchdown while another TD return was negated by a block in the back. While he didn't have a huge receiving game (three receptions, 30 yards), he's establishing himself as a quick-strike threat in the return game.

5. WR Jarvis Landry: He had eight catches for 82 yards, including two highlight-reel catches on passes of 33 and 19 yards from Zach Mettenberger. He also provided some crushing blocks both in the running back and on special teams, although his block in the back negated one of Beckham's punt returns for touchdown.