Fresh faces: LSU

July, 27, 2009
7/27/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Everybody knows what kind of young talent Nick Saban brought into the LSU program, but the Tigers' recruiting hasn't slowed down under Les Miles. This freshman class has a chance to be special.

Russell Shepard, QB/WR: LSU coach Les Miles has assured everybody on the Bayou that they're going to get the ball in Shepard's hands this fall. And after watching him during spring practice and how electric he is in the open field, the Tigers would be wise to get him the ball as much as possible. He still has to become more consistent as a passer if he's going to be a full-time quarterback, but he throws the ball well enough to keep defenses honest. LSU fans are going to love this guy. He's a big play waiting to happen and should have a leg up on most true freshmen because he went through the spring.

Rueben Randle, WR: It's been tough sledding for the LSU receiving corps. Jared Mitchell is going the baseball route, and Tim Molton blew out his knee this summer following a promising spring. The Tigers not only need Randle to play right away. They need the talented true freshman to be one of their top playmakers right away. He has all the credentials. One of those guys who could have gone anywhere in the country, the 6-3, 195-pound Randle was rated by Scouts Inc. as the No. 1 receiver prospect in the country coming out of Bastrop, La. He has great hands and terrific after-the-catch skills.

Sam Montgomery, DE: The Tigers can use some help on the defensive line this season, particularly at end. The 6-5, 260-pound Montgomery is one of those bigger ends in the mold of Tyson Jackson, who's now counting his money in the NFL after being drafted third overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Nobody's expecting Montgomery to step right in and be the kind of player Jackson was (at least not as a true freshman), but he could play a key role in the Tigers' rotation up front. Montgomery was rated by Scouts Inc. last year as the No. 2 defensive end prospect in the country. He specializes in getting to the quarterback and recorded 26 sacks during his last two years of high school in Greenwood, S.C.

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