ESPN 150 released, LSU targets abound

Kendell Beckwith (East Feliciana, La.) is a top target for LSU and Alabama, among others. Tom Hauck for ESPN.com

BATON ROUGE -- Given the way LSU has recruited in recent years, the release of Tuesday's initial ESPN 150 gives cause for a double-take.

Throughout the lengthy list of the nation's top football talent for 2013, there isn't a single mention of LSU's current nine-man crop. None of the Tigers commits to this point made the initial list.

Of course, there are still plenty of twists and turns ahead on the recruiting calendar. The list will see new names as players begin their senior seasons and have a chance to make themselves noticed.

For now, it's not just LSU that is poorly represented on the ESPN 150, but the state of Louisiana as a whole. Only five prospects in the 150 come from the Pelican State -- with highly-regarded names (and Tiger commits) like Jeryl Brazil and John Diarse missing the cut.

Of the five Louisiana names, four are uncommitted. East Feliciana linebacker Kendell Beckwith is the state's top prospect at No. 16, and he has drawn the attention worthy of that accolade. Both LSU and Alabama are very interested in the outside linebacker.

Baton Rouge native Tim Williams is second on the list at No. 33. Tight ends Standish Dobard and DeSean Smith follow at No. 131 and No. 137, respectively. Offensive guard Christopher Taylor from Zachary rounds out the group at No. 139.

Dobard committed to play for Miami back at the beginning of April, while the other four are undecided.

Most of this probably isn't very troubling to anyone at LSU. The Tigers are routinely in play for some of the nation's best players, but the coaching staff under Les Miles has long been adept at identifying talent on its own terms. The number of stars associated with players doesn't mean much to Miles.

But its worth noting that if there isn't a lot of elite talent in Louisiana this year, the Tigers would do well to lock up what they can. In-state talent has been the bread and butter for LSU's success much of the past decade, and that has to take special significance after the program lost two of Louisiana's best 2012 players to out-of-state suitors.

Of course, the Tigers are in play for other talent on the ESPN 150. Top prospect Robert Nkemdiche visited Baton Rouge last month and came away quite impressed. There are other names like cornerback Priest Willis and defensive tackle Justin Manning.

But those players come from farther away -- as near as Texas and as far as Arizona. LSU has been known to bring in players from far-flung locations. But the vast majority of any LSU recruiting class will always be Louisiana players. All nine Tiger commits to this point are homestate products.

With that in mind, the Tigers would do well to keep an eye on the elite Louisiana talent that's out there.