Maybe it’s because former Calvary Baptist and LSU golfer Sam Burns was just named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team Tuesday.
Or that former Parkway women’s basketball star and LSU signee Mikaylah Williams is currently halfway around the world in Hungary playing for Team USA in the FIBA 3 on 3 Under 18 World Cup.
Through the years, there’s usually a continuous reminder of the athletic pipeline from Shreveport-Bossier to Louisiana’s flagship university.
It got me thinking, something my wife considers simultaneously sporadic and dangerous.
Who are the best all-time LSU athletes from Shreveport-Bossier City?
Here’s who’s on my list off the top of my head in alphabetical order because ranking them is just about impossible. And yes, I know I left off some great athletes. Apologies for that.
SAM BURNS, men’s golf: The Ryder Cup rookie played two seasons with the Tigers, turned professional in the summer of 2017 when he was named the NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year and a PING First-Team All-American as the SEC Player of the Year with an All-SEC first-team honor. Had a 71.13 scoring average in 27 tourneys (won four) and set LSU’s single-season scoring record with a career-low 70.05 stroke average as a sophomore. In his first 136 PGA events since joining the tour in 2019, he’s won five tournaments and earned $21,743,793.
WENDELL DAVIS, football: The former Fair Park wide receiver, a 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Davis remains the school record for career receptions with 183 after culminating four seasons by being named a two-time first-team All-American and SEC Player of the Year in 1987. He left LSU as the leader in receptions in a game, and in a single season, in single-season receiving yardage, in receiving TDs, in yards per game and in career receiving yards. He accomplished this in an era of 11-game regular seasons when bowl stats weren’t counted in the player’s stat total. He had 207 career catches for 3,000 yards and 14 TDs in 81 NFL games in six seasons for the Chicago Bears before he sustained a career-ending injury to both knees.
JACOB HESTER, football: A 3-star recruit from Evangel who was the Louisiana 5A Offensive MVP, yet flew under the recruiting radar as a fullback. In his four-year LSU career culminating with a vital role in the Tigers’ 2007 national championship, Hester blossomed into a durable tailback and fullback who excelled running between the tackles. Played in 52 games during his career, starting 29 times. Started 27 straight games at running back during his final two years with the Tigers. He finished his career with 1,780 yards rushing, 20 rushing touchdowns, 60 receptions for 454 yards and seven TDs. Played five seasons and 65 games in the NFL as a fullback.
STROMILE SWIFT, men’s basketball: The former Fair Park standout played just two seasons with the Tigers, but he took LSU from last place in the SEC West in 1998-99 to SEC champions in 1999-2000 with an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. He was the SEC Co-Player of the Year as a sophomore when he led LSU in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and blocks. He remains the second-best shot blocker in LSU history with 130 swats. Selected No. 2 overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, he played nine seasons for four teams averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. Was nicknamed “The Stro Show” for his highlight reel dunks.
DAVID TOMS, men’s golf: The former Airline High star, a two-time first-team All-American and SEC Player of the Year for LSU in 1988 and 1989, still holds school records including most tournament wins. In 35 years as a pro golfer, he’s won 20 tournaments including the 2001 PGA Championship and two PGA Champion tour victories – one the U.S. Senior Open. A three-time Ryder Cupper, he has more than $50 million in career earnings. His David Toms Foundation, established in 2003, has been a beacon of positivity in funding educational programs for underprivileged, abused and abandoned children.
TODD WALKER, baseball: A multi-sports star at Airline High, Walker’s three-year LSU career from 1992 to 1994 earned him the honor of having his jersey retired. He was a two-time first-team All-American second baseman, a College World Series MVP for the 1993 national champs and finished his career as the SEC’s all-time leader in hits, runs scored and total bases. Was the first LSU player to hit .400 in a season. Remains the school’s all-time leader in batting average (.396). Batted. 289 in 12 major league seasons.
Here’s a list of former Shreveport-Bossier athletes on LSU sports teams for 2023-24:
Hayden Travinski, C, Sr., Airline High (Bossier City)
Trenton Lape, P, Fr., Airline High (Bossier City)
Holden Webb, RS Fr., Loyola College Prep (Shreveport)
Noah McWilliams, Fr., Benton High (Benton)
Track and Field/Cross Country
Will Dart, Distance, Sr., Loyola College Prep (Shreveport)
Mikaylah Williams, G, Fr., Parkway High (Bossier City)
Raelin Chaffin, P, So., Airline High (Bossier City)
Swimming and Diving
Lillian Tichenor, Fr., Captain Shreve High (Shreveport)
Contact Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org