Thursday, March 21, 2013
Louisiana has bumper crop of 2014 WRs
By Gary Laney
Trey Quinn leads what could be Louisiana's best wide-receiver class in recent memory.
Rueben Randle came out of Bastrop High School in north Louisiana as the nation's top wide receiver in the Class of 2009. He went on to star at LSU and now plays for the New York Giants.
In the same class, his prep teammate DeAngelo Benton was a late qualifier on his way to Auburn, Kenny Bell was on his way to Alabama from Rayville, and Travante Stallworth, coming out of Leesville, also was headed for Auburn.
That was the last year Louisiana had a wide receiver class that even comes close to rivaling what the state is producing for the 2014 class at the position.
Louisiana has four wide receivers on the ESPN Watch List and the group likely will be the best foursome of receivers to come out of the state in the same year since ESPN started rating recruits in 2006.
In three of the six years, Louisiana did not have a highly-rated receiver prospect. This year, the state might have more elite receivers than home-state LSU has room for.
One of the four, Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita), has yet to land an LSU offer. But that doesn't mean he lacks interest. His offer sheet includes five SEC schools, most notably Alabama and Georgia. Major powers will love his build -- Sims is 6-foot-4 and long -- and surprising speed for somebody his size.
LSU might prefer another Louisiana player with similar traits, Malachi Dupre of powerhouse John Curtis in the New Orleans suburb of Marrero. Tall and with surprising speed, Dupre got an LSU offer at camp last summer, the same camp Sims attended. Not that LSU is his only offer, not by a longshot. He has offers from all over the country, including most major programs.
Where Sims and Dupre are size receivers, Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Karr) is pure lightning. A wildcat quarterback for Karr, he has unbelievable change of direction and acceleration that will make him a tough cover if he ends up, as expected, at wide receiver. Watching film of Noil, one might do a double-take, thinking the film's in fast forward -- until one notices the other players seem to be moving at normal speed.
The most advanced prospect might be Trey Quinn (Lake Charles/Barbe). On course to become the state's all-time leading receiver (and possibly the nation's), Quinn has great hands and runs precise routes in a passing offense and has shown surprising speed in track.
Here's what to expect from the foursome:
Most likely to commit next: At this point, I'd go with Quinn, whose father is an LSU graduate. LSU seems committed to the pass this spring under Cam Cameron, and that might have been the only issue keeping Quinn at bay early. Right now, the Quinns are talking about going through the process and weighing their options, but things might line up quickly to end it.
Best home run threat: I'm going to go with Dupre, who is a big target to throw to downfield and, in camp settings, showed a knack for separating himself from corners to go up and get the ball.
Most likely to leave the state: Sims, without a doubt. He didn't camp well at LSU last year in the same camp where Dupre, who has a similar skill set, excelled. So Dupre has an LSU offer, and Sims does not. That hasn't slowed down his recruitment by out-of-state programs. Things might change, but right now I'm thinking an SEC rival might get a quality Louisiana receiver.
Most game-ready: That would be Quinn, who runs routes with an advanced understanding of his position, the result of playing at a large high school in competitive class 5A that throws the ball on 60 percent of his plays. Quinn has played as a slot receiver and on the outside, so the adjustment to college schemes would likely would be less than the other prospects.
Fastest: Who else? Noil is called "Speedy" for a reason. Quinn has run 4.39 at LSU camps, but Noil is one of those guys that goes from zero to 60 in a heartbeat. His 40 won't tell the whole story of how hard it will be to keep up with him in space.
Most upside: I might go with Dupre here. He showed surprising understanding of the position in camp settings last year, and he appears to be a guy who will adjust quickly to the college game and being part of a pro or spread offense. He'll improve his position-specific ability by leaps and bounds in college.
Most resourceful: I'll go with Noil. He's a quarterback and a leader on a state championship team. He's accustomed to improvising with the ball in his hand and making things happen. Those skills will translate to a get-it-done ability in college.