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Monday, June 17, 2013
ESPN 300 analysis: LSU Tigers

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's been since Jordan Jefferson in 2008 that one could find a Louisiana quarterback who met the four-star threshold.

Back then, before RecruitingNation issued stars, Jefferson was given an 80 score, which translates to four stars.

Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) broke that drought this year. And now he's done something no Louisiana quarterback has done in the RecruitingNation era.

Harris checked in at No. 48 in the 2014 ESPN 150/300 that came out Monday. Harris is the fastest-rising player on the board -- he and Alabama cornerback Stephen Roberts (No. 83) are the only two who went from unranked to the top 100 -- and the highlight player on a Louisiana-dominated list that was otherwise rather short on news this go around.

Brandon Harris
Brandon Harris' surge up the ESPN 150 makes him Louisiana's highest-rated quarterback in six years.
Louisiana has a strong presence in the new rankings, with 12 players in the ESPN 150 and 18 in the ESPN 300. But many of those players were at the same, or very similar, spots in April when the initial ESPN 150 was released.

The No. 1-ranked player remains running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine). The addition of Harris gives Louisiana eight of the top 48 players in the nation, along with Fournette, West Monroe High offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (No. 7), New Orleans Karr athlete Speedy Noil (No. 8), Monroe Neville safety Laurence "Hootie" Jones (No. 23, down from No. 21), River Ridge John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre (No. 28, up from 29), New Orleans Karr defensive tackle Gerald Willis (No. 29, up from No. 31) and Lake Charles Barbe wide receiver Trey Quinn (No. 38, up from No. 39).

There will be plenty of drama upcoming for these athletes, as none have chosen their college destination yet.

Harris bumped Louisiana's ESPN 150 total from 11 to 12, with Monroe Ouachita wide receiver Cameron Sims (No. 63, up from 64), Baton Rouge University offensive guard Garrett Brumfield (No. 101, down from 98), Covington High defensive tackle Garrald McDowell (No. 108, down from No. 105) and Westlake High tight end Jacory Washington (120, down fro 119) all close to their April ranking.

Louisiana has six players in the second half of the 300, led by New Orleans St. Augustine cornerback Jermaine Roberts (165), River Ridge John Curtis safety Mattrell McGraw (186), Bossier City Airline defensive tackle O.J. Smith (211), New Orleans Karr linebacker Donnie Alexander (271), Alexandria wide receiver D.J. Chark (278) and Plaquemine defensive end Davon Godchaux (280).

The rankings are mostly good news for LSU, which has commitments from in-state targets Brumfield, Washington, Alexander and Chark. The only other committed Louisiana players in the 300 are Roberts (Texas) and Smith (Alabama). LSU remains a contender for all of the Louisiana players it has extended offers to, including all of the eight players in the top 48.

LSU has commitments from three out-of-state players in the ESPN 300: Mansfield, Arlington (Texas) Timberview safety Edward Paris Jr. (No. 52), Woodville, Miss., athlete Devin Voorhies (No. 106) and Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed (No. 132).

The Tigers are also considered a major contender for several other ESPN 300 players: Gardena (Calif.) Serra cornerback Adoree' Jackson (No. 5), Beaumont (Texas) Ozen cornerback Tony Brown (No. 27), Plainfield (Ill.) South High linebacker Clifton Garrett (No. 59) and Manalapan (N.J.) wide receiver Saeed Blacknall (No. 111).