The state of Mississippi has been fertile recruiting territory for the University of Louisville since Bobby Petrino returned as head coach.
Madison Central offensive lineman Jimmie Terry was a signing day surprise last February and the Cardinals first pledge for the 2015 class was three-star safety T.J. Jallow of Olive Branch. In addition to Jallow, the U of L staff has extended scholarship offers more than 10 more prospects from the Magnolia State.
Among the group that are being actively recruited is three-star wide receiver Keenan Barnes, a former teammate of Terry's at Madison Central. An All-Metro choice following a junior season that saw him eclipse 1,200 receiving yards, Barnes has become a hot prospect throughout the spring.
Both major in-state schools, Mississippi and Mississippi State, have offered a scholarship, as have Louisville, Louisiana Tech and Memphis. Others such as Alabama, Auburn, Missouri and Tennessee are keeping a close eye on him.
Barnes relationship with the U of L coaching staff has helped put the Cardinals among his early favorites.
"Right now they are a contender," he said. "I talk to the coaches, mostly Coach K, and we all get along great. They've told me that I can come in and play right away. It's a place that I'm really looking at and can see myself playing at.
"They say that I can be an explosive receiver for them. They believe that I can make big plays for their offense in the passing game."
Cardinals offensive line coach Chris Klenakis is the primary recruiter for Barnes and the two have discussed an unofficial visit in July. He'll attend the 'Big Dog' camp at Mississippi State on July 18.
Joining Louisville in the contender category are "Ole Miss, Mississippi State and La Tech."
Interest will continue to climb for Barnes and he's in no hurry to make his college decision.
"I don't know if I'll do it before signing day or not, but I know it'll be after my high school football season."