Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Best available: Louisiana prospects
By Craig Haubert
Louisiana is no stranger to producing excellent talent, but 2014 represents an especially strong year in the state. It is home to 18 ESPN 300 prospects, the fifth most among all states, and it currently boasts four players who are No. 1 at their respective positions. Among the outstanding talent in the Pelican State are three five-star prospects, including the nation’s No. 1 overall player. The quality of talent is not breaking news at this point in the recruiting cycle, but what is interesting is how many of the top prospects in Louisiana remain uncommitted. Of the eighteen ESPN 300 prospects, 10 are still undeclared (including the top six). With the 2013 season upon us, Louisiana and the available talent it possesses can still have a big impact on the recruiting landscape leading up to signing day.
(New Orleans/St. Augustine) | Highlights | List of schools considering 6-1, 226 pounds | ESPN 300 rank: 1 | RB rank: 1 | Grade: 95 | Stars: 5 The five-star running back's outstanding blend of size, speed and agility make him a special prospect at running back. He’s an every-down back with the size and strength to wear down defenders but also possesses excellent speed for his size and presents a big-play threat as well. His abilities, coupled with RB being one of the easier positions to be able to transition to the college level at, could allow him to be an instant difference maker.
(West Monroe, La./West Monroe) | Highlights | List of schools considering 6-5, 330 pounds | ESPN 300 rank: 3 | OT rank: 1 | Grade: 95 | Stars: 5 Robinson is proving to be a special talent at offensive tackle. He has excellent size, while also still possessing continued physical upside with room to further develop his large and lengthy frame. He is much more than just a big body, though, as he’s incredibly agile for his size and can handle speed off the edge and changes in direction. He's a big, strong kid with a competitive temperament -- it's no easier to try and overpower him. There is room for development, but Robinson has all the tools to be an elite left tackle, and while it can be more difficult to transition to the college level along the offensive line, he is one of those rare big men who could be a plug-and-play type.
(New Orleans/Karr) | Highlights | List of schools considering 6-0, 176 pounds | ESPN 300 rank: 8 | ATH rank: 1 | Grade: 90 | Stars: 5 The name helps to paint a picture when it comes to this five-star recruit. The nation's top-rated athlete, Noil can help a program in multiple ways and present a real big-play threat on both offense and special teams. An electric player with soft hands, excellent top-end speed and the ability to make defenders miss, he can prove to be a versatile and dangerous weapon for a college offense.
(Monroe, La./Neville) | Highlights | List of schools considering 6-2, 208 pounds | ESPN 300 rank: 24 | S rank: 2 | Grade: 87 | Stars: 4 Of the players on this list, Jones is the one who can seem to get overlooked a bit. Instinctive with good range and ball skills, he can be an active and versatile back-seven defender for a program. The No. 2-rated safety in the class, Jones is a prospect with the tools to not only develop into an excellent college player but could also potentially be a quick contributor.
(River Ridge, La./John Curtis) | Highlights | List of schools considering 6-3, 187 pounds | ESPN 300 rank: 26 | WR rank: 1 | Grade: 87 | Stars: 4 The top-rated wide receiver is a big target with a nice combination of size and speed. He comes across as a smart, savvy and consistent player who can create matchup problems and be a big-play presence. With enough speed to present a vertical threat, the lengthy target with strong hands can also win jump-ball battles and be a nice red zone weapon.
The Impact: The talent in Louisiana is no secret and there are programs throughout the nation working to try and secure some of these prospects, but no program may have more to gain then LSU. Consistently keeping top talent close to home is key for any program, and the Tigers have a proven track record in their backyard. Led by the recent addition of WR Trey Quinn, LSU is already working to secure in-state talent for 2014 with verbals from six of the ESPN 300 prospects. What remains, though, can have a huge impact for LSU. The Tigers are squarely in the mix for all five players listed above, but competition will be tough, especially from Alabama and other SEC programs. Where those players -- especially Fournette, Robinson and Noil -- end up could shift the balance of power in the SEC West.