Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Watch List WR Speedy Noil taking it slow
By Max Olson
The legend of Devante “Speedy” Noil has been building for years and years, and the latest chapter is about as impressive as it gets.
As a junior, the coveted New Orleans Edna Karr athlete accounted for 3,975 total yards and 50 touchdowns -- 21 of them rushing -- as the program’s unstoppable lefty quarterback. Edna Karr went 14-0 and finally won the state title game it had lost in 2010 and 2011. It was, for all intents and purposes, a dream season.
ESPN Watch List receiver Speedy Noil has an early top four of Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and USC.
What comes next is a recruiting process that, despite his nickname, Noil doesn’t see any reason to rush.
“I’m just going with the flow,” the ESPN Watch List receiver said. “I’m not really worried about it that much.”
Four schools are in front of the rest right now, in no particular order: Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and USC. Noil said if he had to come up with a top five today, it would include Louisiana Tech. That’s because former Edna Karr coach Jabbar Juluke is now an assistant for the Bulldogs.
Noil admits LSU has the advantage of being his "home team," but he's looking to get outside the state for his next few unofficial visits. He's planning to visit Texas A&M sometime this spring or summer, though his track season has his full attention right now. A track meet prevented him from attending Texas’ second junior day, and he’s not sure whether another will prevent him from making it to the Orange-White spring game March 30.
A&M gained a serious advantage in the recruitment of Noil when it signed Edna Karr cornerback Noel Ellis in its 2013 class, and Noil likes what the Aggies have to offer after the two visited together in January.
“The coaches were showing respect,” he said. “They were telling me that I would be able to play as a freshman and come in with Johnny Manziel on Heisman watch and come in with Noel and play in a wide-open offense.”
Noil is less sure of what he thinks of the Longhorns. He attended summer camp with Ellis last summer in Austin and continues to hear from receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, but the 5-foot-11, 176-pound junior doesn’t consider UT one of his favorite schools.
“I’ve talked to them. [Wyatt] talked about me playing Wildcat, but I’m not a Wildcat,” Noil said. “I’m a wide receiver. I don’t want to become a Wildcat quarterback at the next level because I know I can be better as a wide receiver.
“I’ll talk to them more, but I don’t really think they’ve shown that much interest in me.”
New Edna Karr coach Nathaniel Jones was instantly wowed when he first reviewed film of Noil’s junior-season exploits. He’s going to keep Noil at quarterback, because a team's best playmaker should have the ball in his hands as much as possible, but he knows the possibilities at the college level for Noil are seemingly endless.
“You don’t get many kids of that caliber, really, in your lifetime,” Jones said. “You may get one or two kids that can actually change the game at any point. When you get those kids, you’re real excited.”
By now Noil is plenty used to the rigors of becoming a better quarterback -- and he was a 70 percent passer in 2012 -- while trying to get even better as a wideout. He has been practicing and playing at both spots throughout high school.
“In my opinion, him with the ball in his hands, he’s a player,” Jones said. “If I were a university I’d think about punt return, kickoff return, receiver, maybe have him do a little Charles Woodson and play both ways.”
It’s a big question, and one that Noil cares quite a bit about, especially as recruiters continue to tell him everything he wants to hear. He wants to be recruited as a slot receiver. He wants to play right away. And he wants to take official visits in the fall before he comes to a decision.
A long time has to pass before he can start making those paid trips. So Speedy is content to slow down for now.
“I’d say I’ll decide at the All-American game that I play in,” Noil said, “but I’m not worried about it until then.”