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May 16, 2008Before the calendar turned to April 2007, Barkavious "Keke" Mingo had never donned a pair of shoulder pads. He didn't know how to strap on a helmet. Then, the five-time 5A state champion West Monroe Rebels football coaches came calling.
Mingo, a three star on the basketball court along with older brother Hugh, quickly caught the eye of everyone of the over one hundred Rebel fans that came out each day to watch practice in August of that year.
At 6-4, 205 pounds and a spot on the track team that has developed his 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Mingo has risen from the turf of Rebel Stadium to become one of the shining stars in the upcoming Louisiana recruiting class.
Coaches are salivating on the use of this freak of nature. Mingo has the experience at outside linebacker, but the strength and upside to play as a gifted defensive end as well.
All Mingo did in his first season in pads was record 55 tackles and six sacks on a 5A playoff team. He earned LSWA 5A All-State honors his junior year as well.
As Mingo also stars on his school's track and basketball teams, he still finds time to hit the books and the weight room at night.
Mingo was seen throughout 2007 disrupting the backfield of every opponent on the Rebels schedule. 5A playoff teams Ouachita, Ruston, Byrd, and Huntington, and Acadiana all visited the Rebels in 2007 and then Mingo always clearly held an advantage in the competitive district 1-5A on a nightly basis.
The joke around Rebel Stadium every Friday night in 2007 was that Mingo was "going to be really good once he figured out the game of football.'
The joke was always on opposing teams as Mingo showed a talent few could imagine in his first season.
His quickness and size combination unmatched by opponents, he continued to gain momentum each game before West Monroe stumbled and fell in the second round for the second consecutive year against a good Acadiana squad, 19-14.
As the ever growing world of college football recruiting begins to stir, it is clear that coaches from across America will be rebelling against the norm. They will be looking to acquire Barkavious Mingo. The new kid on the block. But what a block party 2007 was and no telling what the future might hold. Currently he holds offers from ULM, Ole Miss, LSU, and Louisiana Tech.