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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tales from the Road: LSU

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The spring game is back in Louisiana.

Gone for several years because of a change in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association rules, spring games returned this year and provided great evaluation opportunities for coaches. You had matchups like West Monroe (with ESPN 150 offensive tackle Cameron Robinson) against Monroe Neville (ESPN 150 safety Laurence "Hootie" Jones).

You had quarterback Brandon Harris (Bossier City/Parkway) putting up big yards in a spring game. You had Baton Rouge's University Lab, featuring three major prospects in three different classes -- 2014 ESPN 150 offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield (LSU commit), 2015 running back prospect Nick Brossette and 2017 stud Dylan Moses -- taking on rising class 5A power Zachary.

It's May in Louisiana, but around high school campuses, there's a touch of September.

This week's targets: LSU's coaches were spread out at spring games over the weekend.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was in Bossier City to watch Harris, who recently picked up an LSU offer. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa watched Robinson and Jones in Monroe. Defensive line coach Brick Haley was in Covington, where ESPN 150 defensive lineman Garrald McDowell and his Lions teammates took on Destrehan, featuring linebacker prospect RaeJuan Marbley and quarterback Donovan Isom.

Area of interest: North Louisiana was a target this weekend. Neville and West Monroe, two of the state's most storied programs, are both in the metro area of Monroe, a town of just more than 50,000 people that produces players like a city many times its size.

Harris' scrimmage, the night before, was just 90 minutes down Interstate 20 in Bossier City, outside of Shreveport.

With three ESPN 150 players in greater Monroe (the other is wide receiver Cameron Sims of Monroe/Ouachita) and Harris in the same class, some of the focus will be off the more heavily populated I-10 stretch in south Louisiana on on the northern end of the state.

Word on the street: A question from Brandon in Connecticut from Tuesday's SportsNation chat: "If LSU locks down the top recruits within 200 miles of campus, do they automatically have the No. 1 class?"

Without question, it would have a great shot, though I wouldn't say "automatically."

When you look at the talent in the state -- 11 ESPN 150 players in Louisiana -- plus the fact that ESPN 150 cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and ESPN 150 athlete and LSU commit Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss.) live right by the state lines of their respective states, well within LSU's 200-mile radius -- the opportunity is there for LSU to fill 13 of 25 spots with ESPN 150 players who live relatively close to campus.

That would be hard to beat.

What to watch: LSU hosts its annual Bayou Picnic on Saturday, always a huge recruiting event emphasizing regional talent, though not exclusively.

Look for LSU to try to close the deal on some top players at the picnic. The recent decommitment of junior college wide receiver D'haquille Williams (LaPlace, La./Mississippi Gulf Coast) may allow the Tigers to try to close the deal on some of the state wide receivers.

Also this week, New Orleans powers Karr and Brother Martin square off in a spring game at Pan American Stadium in New Orleans. Karr has two ESPN 150 prospects in Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis III and Brother Martin features LSU commitment William Clapp on the offensive line.