LSU Tigers: Standish Dobard

NEW ORLEANS -- When Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in 2005, it looked like a game-changer, maybe even a game-ender, for the city's storied high school football history.

Many of the city's schools never re-opened. Others came back as shells of their former selves -- even under different names with different missions. The traditional Catholic League broke apart as some schools struggled to rebound. The future looked bleak.


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BATON ROUGE, La. -- How deep is the football talent in Louisiana?

Consider this: Every football bowl subdivision (FBS) conference in the nation has had a least two Louisiana players sign letters of intent with its member schools for the 2013 recruiting cycle, according to the ESPN database of recruits.


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LSU gets commit from loaded HS

February, 24, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Donnie Alexander is used to being surrounded by high-end college talent.

Playing for Louisiana Class 4A state champion New Orleans Edna Karr, Alexander played on the same team as 2013 ESPN 300 prospects Standish Dobard (Miami (Fla) signee) and Noel Ellis (Texas A&M) and 2014 watch list prospects Gerald Willis III and Speedy Noil.

Count Alexander among the high-end Karr prospects.

Donnie Alexander
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comNew Orleans linebacker Donnie Alexander committed to LSU on Sunday, becoming the fifth 2014 commit for the Tigers.
The 2014 linebacker was offered by LSU on a weekend trip to Baton Rouge. After returning home and talking it over with his mother, he decided to pull the trigger and commit.

"LSU's the school I always wanted to go to since I was small," he said. "I didn't really want to wait."

The name may be an unknown to fans, who were perhaps expecting one of the 12 Louisiana players on the ESPN Watch List to be the next to commit.

Truth be told, Alexander was surprised, too.

"I was (surprised)," he said. "I really wasn't expecting it. They like my speed. They like that I'm a good tackler. They like that I make plays."

In that regard, he is perhaps comparable to 2013 signee Duke Riley, who share's Alexander's smaller build, but speed that will allow him to be versatile in areas like pass coverage.

"I think I do have good coverage skills," he said. "I get good drops and I'll come up and stick a slot receiver."

And he knows how to win. Karr went unbeaten in 2014, beating a talented Monroe Neville team for the 4A title.

"At Karr, we strive toward winning and being successful young men," he said. "That's what our coaches preach to us. Now that we've won, we have to maintain, don't let it get to our head."
In Louisiana's prep football playoffs, a 21 seed (New Orleans/McDonogh 35) made the Class 4A semifinals, a 22 seed (Kendell Beckwith-led Clinton/East Feliciana) made the Class 3A semis and three teams seeded 21 or lower made the Class 2A quarterfinals.

Considering that the five enrollment classes have 32-team fields, one might say this was the year of the upset.

The Superdome
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiState champion are traditionally determined in the Superdome in a one-weekend event that began in 1981.
Until now.

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Leonard Fournette is now in off-season mode. The dream's long over for Jeryl Brazil and countless others.

But for 20 Louisiana teams and many of the state's top prospects, semifinal week brings them within one game of their ultimate goal as high school football players from the Pelican State: A chance to play at the LHSAA/State Farm Prep Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

In Louisiana, state championship games in five enrollment classes are played in the Superdome over two days. This year, the Classic is Dec. 7-8. The matchups will be determined in packed prep stadiums around the state on Friday. Here's a brief look at the matchups:

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Thanksgiving brings prime-time matchups 

November, 21, 2012
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In the Louisiana High School Athletic Association football playoffs, Thanksgiving weekend is the time the state's football playoffs shift gears. With each of the five classes down to eight teams, the quarterfinals usually give football fans plenty of intriguing matchups for fans after Black Friday shopping is done.

This year, fans will miss some top prospects. Jeryl Brazil's Loranger team was upset by Jennings last week while Darian Claiborne's Port Allen team was knocked off by Brusly, spoiling a would-be Brazil-Claiborne showdown in Class 3A.

But most of the state's best players are still alive, some in potentially tight matchups Friday. Here are the best ones.

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As Louisiana's high school football playoffs reach their second week, the matchups get better in the five classes, each whittled down to a field of 16 remaining teams, many who feature some of the state's top prospects. In Class 5A, West Monroe and Scott/Acadiana meet in a matchup of traditional powers. In 4A, Neville meets Breaux Bridge in a rematch of an epic semifinal matchup last year. Here are the top games involving major prospects this week: Class 5A

No. 16 Geismar/Dutchtown (8-2) at No. 1 Metairie/Rummel (10-0): Dutchtown has plenty of talent, including Mississippi State commit Shelby Christy at wide reciever. It was surprising to see the Griffons slip to the No. 16 seed. It's a tough draw for the top-seeded Raiders, led by dual-threat quarterback Damian Williams, who sports a Kansas State offer.

No. 9 Monroe/Ouachita Parish (9-2) at No. 25 Ruston (6-5): The Monroe area, which won three of last year's five state championships last season, showed its toughness again last week when Ruston upset No. 8 seed South Lafourche, creating an all-Northeast Louisiana second-round match. Ouachita features three-star receiver and Washington commit Caleb Tucker at linebacker and Taijuan Thomas and 2014 ESPN Watch List member Cameron Sims at wide receiver.

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Games to watch for Louisiana recruits 

November, 1, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Saturday will be a who's who of Louisiana's top prospects in one place when LSU hosts Alabama at Tiger Stadium.

The night before, the state's best high school players will be scattered throughout the state, closing their regular seasons, many playing games with strong district-championship and postseason ramifications. Here are the best games involving players headed for major college programs:

Geismar Dutchtown (7-1) vs. Baton Rouge Catholic (6-2): The championship will be on the line in District 5-5A, which includes the largest city and suburban schools on the south side of Baton Rouge. Dutchtown, the alma mater of LSU's Eric Reid and Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Landon Collins, has another SEC-level recruit in Mississippi State commit Shelby Christy.

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Games to watch for Louisiana recruits 

October, 25, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- The dream prospect matchups of the non-district schedules are over, and now Louisiana's top teams and top prospects are coming down the home stretch of their regular seasons.

That doesn't necessarily make for compelling blue chip vs. blue chip matchups, but what you have are a lot of top prospects playing big games for their teams this weekend. With LSU off, here are games LSU fans might want to check out around the state this weekend:

New Orleans/St. Augustine (6-2) at Metairie/East Jefferson (6-1): When you think of high school football, you think of "Friday Night Lights." There haven't been many Friday nights this year for St. Augustine and RB Leonard Fournette in urban New Orleans, where a scarcity of stadiums has had the Purple Knights playing many Thursday and Saturday game. This week, the Friday lights will shine on Fournette, one of the top players in the 2014 class, when St. Augustine heads to suburban Metairie for a huge District 10-4A game.

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Weekend prep preview: Louisiana 

September, 20, 2012
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The games roll on in Louisiana high school football. Although LSU is out of town on its first road trip of the season, there will still be plenty of games between many of the Tigers' best commits and prospects to watch out for.

Hahnville vs. St. Augustine: Hahnville is not at the powerhouse level it has been in recent seasons, but that's not the main motivation at work. St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, a 2014 prospect, might be the best tailback in the state. The Purple Knights will be a stiff challenge for the Class 5A talent at Hahnville, and it should be a chance for Fournette to showcase himself and shed some light on why LSU and Alabama are gunning for his talents.

Edna Karr vs. Salmen: A juicy battle between two of the top teams in Class 4A. Karr was the runner-up at this level last year, and Salmen beat the Cougars in overtime last September. This should be a fun matchup, as the Cougars boast a plethora of BCS-caliber talent like Miami commit Standish Dobard and Texas A&M commit Noel Ellis -- and that doesn't include 2014 talents Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis. The Spartans boast one of LSU's top commits in wide receiver Chuck Baker.

Westlake vs. Winnfield: Undefeated Class 2A Winnfield goes up against undefeated Class 3A Westlake on Friday night in Winnfield. This should be a good test for Winnfield defensive end standout and 2013 LSU commit Michael Patterson, who is one of the commits that Tigers fans have seen and heard the least about. It's also an early chance to take a look at 2014 tight end Jacory Washington -- an early target for LSU.

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Weekend recruiting preview: Louisiana 

September, 14, 2012
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As you'd expect, dozens of LSU commits and targets will be in action across the state this weekend. As we move toward the second month of the high school season, here is a handful of games and players for LSU fans to keep an eye on:

Barbe vs. Evangel Christian -- Barbe, the No. 3 team in the most recent Class 5A power rankings, takes on the No. 3 team in Class 2A. Barbe has been considered a state championship contender since the end of last season, largely thanks to the contributions of tight end and LSU commit DeSean Smith. Smith combines with speedy wide receiver and 2014 LSU target Trey Quinn to make the Barbe offense tough to stop. But the Buccaneers have been unable to get over the hump against Evangel in recent seasons.

Neville vs. Ouachita Parish -- Defending Class 4A state champion Neville takes on a regional rival and the No. 2 team in Class 5A. ESPN 150 athlete and LSU commit John Diarse quarterbacks the Tigers, and Neville has other talent like 2014 cornerback target Laurence Jones. Top 2014 wide receiver prospect Cameron Sims lines up for Ouachita.

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Prep games worth watching 

August, 23, 2012
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GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throughout August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, David Helman has six suggestions for high school games featuring LSU prospects this season.

When the dust finally settles on the jamborees this weekend, it will officially be game week in Louisiana -- for both LSU and the high schools it recruits.

With so much top tier talent in the state, there will be plenty of juicy matchups between big names at the prep level. Here's an incomplete guide to seeing LSU commits and targets in action this fall.

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LSU recruiting: Scrimmage notes 

August, 20, 2012
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For high school prospects, just as much as the much-discussed LSU football team, practice is getting old.

[+] EnlargeHayden Rettig
Garry Paskwietz/WeAreSC.comLSU QB commit Hayden Rettig performed well in his high school's recent scrimmage.
After several weeks of running the same drills and seeing the same faces, the monotony of fall camp has set in. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they still have two weeks to wait for a true opponent. That's not the case at the high school level, where schools (and recruits across the state) got their first taste of live action in scrimmages this weekend.

A quick look at some prospects in LSU's sights from this past weekend:

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NEW ORLEANS - In Louisiana, it's not uncommon to see the best player on a high school team lined up at quarterback, even if it's not his natural position. With the ball in his hands during every snap, the quarterback can make things happen and fire off big plays.

Speedy Noil
David Helman/ESPN.comSpeedy Noil is emerging as Louisiana's best wide receiver in the 2014 class.
But after watching him scrimmage Thursday night against Amite (Amite City, La.) High School, it's hard to imagine Edna Karr (New Orleans) High School receiver Speedy Noil making more plays at quarterback than wide receiver. The Cougars' talented junior played quarterback for Karr last fall, but he spent his night exclusively at wideout against Amite.

The results were devastating. He outran the coverage for touchdowns on post routes. He jumped over the coverage (sometimes double coverage, at that) for touchdowns on fade routes. At one point in the scrimmage, Noil caught a bubble screen in traffic, bulldozed an Amite linebacker, then outran nine other defenders to the sideline for big yards.

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LSU's coaching staff got a first-hand look at its newest batch of offensive talent on Saturday, and the results were impressive to say the least.

The Louisiana Bootleggers -- an all-star 7-on-7 team comprised of mostly LSU commitments and targets -- blitzed through Saturday's 7-on-7 tournament in style, capping off a tournament victory with a 24-13 win against Edna Karr.

Desean Smith
Gary Laney/ESPN.comLSU tight end commit DeSean Smith had a solid day for the Louisiana Bootleggers.
The list of future Tigers featured on the Bootleggers was almost as impressive as the plays they were making. Two-star quarterback Shane McCarley (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) went to the line with the likes of Tigers commit and ESPN 150 member DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) lined up to his right, and fellow commits Tre'Davious White (Shreveport, La./Green Oaks) and John Diarse (Monroe, La./Neville) lined up to his left.

If there was any doubt as to why the trio is among the most coveted recruits in Louisiana, Saturday's games proved why. Smith was a matchup nightmare all afternoon with repeated catches over the middle of the field, and his leaping touchdown reception on a corner fade against St. Augustine belongs on any highlight tape.

White not only excelled as a receiver, but he got into the mix and proved his worth as a cornerback with stifling jams and several breakups.

There was no MVP award, but Diarse truly proved himself as the star of the day. Many consider the four-star athlete to be the best player in Louisiana, and it's hard to argue after watching Diarse race his way to two touchdowns in the championship game. On top of that he switched from receiver to safety on multiple occasions and made several gorgeous picks.

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