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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Harris, Gibson reignite La. QB tradition

By Gary Laney

Quentin Gibson
Louisiana quarterback Quentin Gibson recently spent time chatting with LSU's Frank Wilson about the Tigers' offense and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

On a warm spring day at Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., a quarterback named Brandon Harris brought back memories of the good old days gone by.

Harris threw passes for coaches from four college programs: Ohio State, Indiana, Baylor and Texas Christian, and he showed the skills to be a dual-threat quarterback in a spread offense.

"They loved me," Harris reported, showing particular love for Ohio State, from which he hopes to get an offer by Friday. "Buckeye Nation is like no other."

To folks in the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area, this kind of thing is familiar, like a long-lost friend.

Louisiana was once a hotbed of quarterbacks, particularly the Shreveport area, which produced greats like Terry Bradshaw, Bert Jones and Joe Ferguson in its heyday, then the run of major college (and NFL) quarterbacks from Shreveport's Evangel Christian Academy, like Josh and John David Booty and Brock Berlin.

Shreveport wasn't alone. Louisiana has always been good for quarterback production, from Bubby Brister, to Peyton and Eli Manning, to Doug Williams and Jake Delhomme.

Lately, however, that hasn't been the case. While the state has thrived in producing football talent -- the state's per capita production of NFL players is unmatched -- the quarterback position has been thin. In the 2013 class, the only Louisiana quarterback to sign with a BCS-level program was Damian Williams of Metairie's Archbishop Rummel High. He'll join quarterbck Dak Prescott of Haughton, La., on the Bulldogs' roster. Munchie Legaux is also a veteran on Cincinnati's roster.

Otherwise, the pickings have been rather slim in Louisiana. LSU, which routinely loads up with in-state talent, hasn't taken a Louisiana quarterback since Jordan Jefferson in 2008.

Harris' workout Monday was perhaps a sign of a trend in the other direction.

His star has been on the rise throughout the spring, although it's questionable whether he'll break LSU's streak of years without an in-state quarterback. LSU has not offered Harris and wants him to attend camp to try to earn a scholarship offer. Harris has stronger interest from other schools and would likely focus on schools who already have offers out to him.

He isn't the only Louisiana quarterback getting noticed.

Quentin Gibson, a solid passer out of Archbishop Shaw High in the New Orleans suburb of Marrero, has seen his stock ramp up after a solid spring, particularly at the Dallas Elite 11 competition.

Last week, Gibson reported a visit from LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson at his school, where they discussed LSU's offense and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

"We had a nice conversation," Gibson said.

While he hopes for an invitation to the Elite 11 finals, he's still looking for major offers. In Louisiana, where the nation's No. 1 running back (Leonard Fournette) and No. 1 offensive lineman (Cameron Robinson) reside, to have a quarterback who's receiving major interest has become news.

Perhaps that will soon change. But for now, Harris and Gibson are the quarterbacks bringing Louisiana forward -- to its past.