NCF On The Trail: D.J. Chark



With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at which programs compiled the nation's best overall position classes in 2014. For the full top position classes series, click here.

Quarterbacks: Florida
The Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating up-tempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.

Top position classes: WR 

February, 12, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
While the Baylor Bears had an exceptional wide receiver class, the nod here goes to LSU. Not only did the Tigers sign the nation's No. 1 receiver in Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), but also the No. 3 ranked receiver in Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) and ESPN 300 No. 271 D.J. Chark (Alexandria, La./Alexandria Senior) and No. 283 Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Dawson). In Dupre, LSU snagged the No. 17 prospect overall on signing day. He has a tall, lengthy frame with a near ideal size-and-speed combination and elite high-point ball skills. Quinn will enter LSU as an advanced route-runner with separation skills and the ability to pluck the ball outside of the framework of his body. Chark brings initial quickness and the vertical speed to take the top off a defense, and Upchurch is a big body who continues to add bulk and could eventually transition to a flex type of position.

The Tigers had the nation’s best wide receiver class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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BATON ROUGE, La. – National signing day isn't always dramatic, but this could be a memorable one at LSU.

Between the half-dozen spots still available, the uncommitted heavyweights who are reportedly still considering the Tigers and the players who have already committed to LSU and recently considered other options, Les Miles and his staff have plenty of work to do before the end of the day Wednesday.

We'll start our look at how LSU is addressing its positions of need with the group that is the source of the most intrigue -- the defensive line -- before discussing how premium talent such as tailback Leonard Fournette, receiver Trey Quinn, linebacker Clifton Garrett and offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield should make this one of the nation's top signing classes regardless of what happens with the Tigers' uncommitted targets.

Defensive line: Position coach Brick Haley might not sleep too well tonight, as even he is probably unsure of who will become a Tiger on Wednesday.

Not only have committed ESPN 300 defensive ends Deondre Clark (Oklahoma, Arizona State) and Davon Godchaux (UCLA, Auburn) looked around a bit lately, but several prospects are still flirting with LSU late in the process.

The biggest fish was ESPN's No. 14 overall prospect Lorenzo Carter -- most recruiting analysts predict he will sign with home-state Georgia -- but LSU also seems to be in the mix for No. 164 overall prospect and No. 11 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic) and four-star tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren). The Tigers also received a weekend visit from three-star end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), a Texas commit whose brother Maea -- the No. 38 prospect and No. 2 offensive guard in the ESPN Junior 300 -- seems likely to sign next season with the school Sione chooses Wednesday.

As of now, Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) and Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) are LSU's only publicly committed defensive linemen, so the quality and size of this group is far from set. Stay tuned.

Receiver: The good news is that LSU is on the verge of signing one of the nation's top groups of wide receivers regardless of what happens with ESPN's top player at the position, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis). Dupre is set to announce on Wednesday -- he visited UCLA over the weekend after a whirlwind of trips to LSU, Alabama, Florida State and Ole Miss -- and LSU seems to be the favorite.

[+] EnlargeMalachi Dupre
Courtesy of IntersportIf LSU signs Malachi Dupre, the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, the Tigers would have a fantastic class of wide receivers.
Generally considered the must-have prospect among LSU's remaining targets, Dupre would join record-setting receiver Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe), ESPN's No. 3 wideout, and fellow ESPN 300 honorees D.J. Chark (Alexandria, La./Alexandria Senior) and Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Glenda Dawson) in the class. The Tigers also continue to pursue four-star TCU commit Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln).

With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham entering the NFL draft after exceptional junior seasons, LSU has an immediate need at receiver because the Tigers have no proven options at the position. Some members of this signing class will almost certainly become immediate contributors in the fall.

Secondary: As with Carter, five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) -- ESPN's No. 9 overall prospect and No. 3 cornerback -- makes LSU recruitniks' hearts go pitter-pat. There has been heavy competition from USC, Florida and UCLA, but LSU gave Jackson its best sales pitch. And he could make an immediate impact if he picks the Tigers. LSU returns almost everyone from a young secondary, save senior Craig Loston, but will almost certainly feature one or two 2014 signees in some role this fall.

Early enrollee Edward Paris Jr. (Arlington, Texas/Timberview), ESPN's No. 50 overall prospect and No. 4 safety, is the first name that comes to mind, as he will participate in spring practice. But No. 18 overall prospect and No. 2 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) -- a huge get when the Tigers missed out on in-state prospect Hootie Jones – could also figure into the mix.

LSU also has a commitment from ESPN 300 athlete Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss./Wilkinson County), who should play safety, and three-star defensive backs John Battle IV (Hallandale Beach, Fla/Hallandale) and Russell Gage (Baton Rouge, La./Redemptorist).

Running back: Every recruiting analyst has thoroughly covered by now that LSU's commitment from No. 1 overall prospect Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) was massive. With Jeremy Hill leaving for the draft, the Tigers needed to sign a top-tier back and Fournette should more than fit the bill. The Tigers are also adding three-star back Darrel Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret), whose north-south running style should fit well in the Tigers' running game.

Offensive line: The Tigers return four starters along the offensive line, so it's not an immediate need. Rarely does a school sign high school offensive linemen looking to fill immediate needs, however. Down the road, ESPN's No. 1 guard and No. 54 overall prospect Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory) should become a fixture in the lineup. The Tigers also have a commitment from four-star guard William Clapp (New Orleans/Brother Martin) and continued to pursue three-star tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) late in the process.

Linebacker: This much we know: No. 31 overall prospect and No. 2 inside linebacker Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) looks like LSU's next great run-stopping linebacker. He and ESPN 300 outside linebacker Donnie Alexander (New Orleans/Edna Karr) are the Tigers' two committed linebackers. LSU is also among the leading suitors for Dupre's teammate Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), who will also announce on Wednesday.

The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale also reported Monday that LSU reiterated its interest in Miami commit Terry McCray (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanch Ely), a three-star outside linebacker.


The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: reasons for LSU fans to be patient, Ohio State's start, and Sonny Dykes reloading.


Patience is a virtue for LSU

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LSU was a dream school for Alexandria (La.) Senior High School receiver D.J. Chark growing up.

So when the 2014 prospect got the opportunity to become a Tiger while on an unofficial visit to campus on Monday, he took advantage and gave LSU his verbal pledge.

"It's great," Chark said. "I feel really good."

Chark, who was recruited by special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, named a top three of LSU, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M going into the visit and was planning a return visit to the Aggies after they offered him on Sunday night, a week after he performed at their June 2 camp.

But after touring the campus and soaking in everything LSU had to offer academically and athletically and spending time with the coaching staff, Chark believed it was time to make a pledge right then and there in Les Miles' office.

"I was convinced about coming to LSU and that's when we shook on my commitment," Chark said.

The 6-foot-1, 176-pound receiver won't be visiting the Aggies now and is happy to be staying with his home state Tigers. Chark built a good relationship with McGaughey, who hopes to use him on special teams in addition to receiver when Chark arrives at LSU.

"He became like a mentor," Chark said. "He knows what he's doing and he does it well."

Aside from his top three, Chark had offers from Memphis, Tulane, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern University.
When he made his first trip to College Station, Texas, in October for the Texas A&M-LSU game, Alexandria (La.) Senior High School 2014 receiver D.J. Chark remembers enjoying the experience.

On June 2, Chark returned to Aggieland, this time for their first Sunday camp of 2013. He performed well enough to earn a scholarship offer from the staff, which he was told about on Sunday night after the Aggies' second Sunday camp, which he did not attend.


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New Orleans SPARQ All-Combine team

February, 19, 2013
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NEW ORLEANS -- Over 980 athletes gathered Feb. 2 at Joe Brown Memorial Park for the New Orleans stop of the Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour. Here is a look at the 25 standout performers who make up the New Orleans All-Combine team.

Note: Selections are based upon combine performance as well as past and projected on-field performance. Athletes must have completed two of the four combine tests to be eligible for selection. Athletes are in the Class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.

OFFENSE

QB: Donovan Isom, 6-foot-3 , 245 pounds, Destrehan (La.)
Results: 5.00 40-yard dash, 4.60 shuttle, 33-foot power ball throw, 31.3-inch vertical jump, 79.14 SPARQ rating
Breakdown: Good athlete with great frame who could end up on defense or at tight end in college if quarterback doesn’t work out.

RB: Dontrell Hilliard, 5-11, 186, Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville
Results: 4.62 40, 3.95 shuttle, 41.5’ PB, 34.9” VJ, 126.63 SPARQ
Breakdown: The 2012 District 4-5A Louisiana Offensive Player of the Year as a junior has the nation’s top SPARQ Rating through two combines.

RB: Jeremy Smith, 6-0 , 196, Hammond (La.)
Results: 4.72 40, 4.52 shuttle, 35’ PB, 33.6” VJ, 86.22 SPARQ
Breakdown: Bigger back also doubles as a linebacker and earned all-district on both sides of the ball as a junior.

WR: D.J. Chark, 6-0 , 170, Alexandria (La.)
Results: 4.55 40, 4.10 shuttle, 35’ PB, 37.0” VJ, 106.95 SPARQ
Breakdown: Totaled over 1,000 yards receiving and rushing and 11 touchdowns last fall.

WR: Gabe Fuselier, 5-10, 173, Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic
Results: 4.61 40, 4.06 shuttle, 35’ PB, 33.7” VJ, 101.58 SPARQ
Breakdown: Snagged 77 passes for over 1,200 yards and 19 scores last fall.

WR: Glenn Irons, 5-8 , 148, New Orleans Edna Karr
Results: 4.68 40, 4.15 shuttle, 32’ PB, 36.3” VJ, 89.73 SPARQ
Breakdown: Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama have offered Irons, who helped Karr to a state title in 2012.

WR: Corey McBride, 6-1, 173, Geismar (La.) Dutchtown
Results: 4.46 40, 4.40 shuttle, 32’ PB, 35.5” VJ, 94.08 SPARQ
Breakdown: McBride backed up his rep as one of the Bayou State’s fastest players with a 4.46 40.

WR: Speedy Noil, 5-10 , 176, New Orleans Edna Karr
Results: 4.45 40, 4.18 shuttle, 36’ PB, 41.7” VJ, 120.54 SPARQ
Breakdown: ESPN Watch List recruit locked up the second invite to The Opening this summer.

OL: Alex Anderson, 6-3, 267, New Orleans O. Perry Walker
Results: 5.21 40, 4.78 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 23.5” VJ, 67.56 SPARQ
Breakdown: Impressive two-way lineman held his own versus state’s best last fall.

OL: Ethan Frith, 6-7, 336, Summit (Miss.) North Pike
Results: 5.49 40, 5.41 shuttle, 33’ PB, 21.8” VJ, 67.26 SPARQ
Breakdown: Showed solid athleticism, and you can’t teach 6-foot-7, 336 pounds.

ATH: Dylan Moses (2017) , 6-1, 210, Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab
Breakdown: Youth league phenom picked up an offer from LSU at the Tigers’ camp last summer.

DEFENSE

DL: Deldrick Canty, 6-1 , 252, Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville
Results: 5.08 40, 4.69 shuttle, 37.5’ PB, 34.5” VJ, 94.32 SPARQ
Breakdown: Well-built defensive lineman displayed explosive athleticism for a 252-pound prospect.

DL: Christian Gill, 6-3, 237, Navarre (Fla.)
Results: 5.11 40, 4.34 shuttle, 34.5’ PB, 30.8” VJ, 84.60 SPARQ
Breakdown: A second-team all-area selection as a junior, Gill recently landed offer No. 1 from Louisville.

DL: Chuck Harlow, 6-3, 292, DeRidder (La.)
Results: 5.44 40, 4.52 shuttle, 34’ PB, 28.5” VJ, 83.31 SPARQ
Breakdown: Strong and athletic, Harlow was a breakout performer in New Orleans.

DL: Raekwan McClellan, 5-11 , 251, Biloxi (Miss.)
Results: 5.09 40, 4.89 shuttle, 40.5’ PB, 33.2” VJ, 94.44 SPARQ
Breakdown: Sturdy defensive end totaled 13 tackles for loss as a junior.

DL: Garrald McDowell, 6-1, 244, Covington (La.)
Results: 5.11 40, 4.75 shuttle, 32’ PB, 24.4” VJ, 60.60 SPARQ
Breakdown: Kansas State and Arkansas have offered this Class 5A all-state player who had 10.5 sacks as a junior.

LB: RaeJuan Marbley, 5-11, 211, Destrehan (La.)
Results: 4.84 40, 4.50 shuttle, 37’ PB, 33.0” VJ, 88.53 SPARQ
Breakdown: All-district selection as a junior, Marbley is regarded by locals as one of Bayou State’s best LB prospects in this class.

LB: Arthur McGinnis (2015) , 6-1 , 203, New Orleans Warren Easton
Results: 4.78 40, 4.70 shuttle, 41.5’ PB, 32.8” VJ, 96.12 SPARQ
Breakdown: Rising sophomore already physically resembles an SEC linebacker.

LB: Alvin Moore, 5-11, 183, Bassfield (Miss.)
Results: 4.40 40, 4.28 shuttle, 33’ PB, 36.4” VJ, 106.74 SPARQ
Breakdown: Southern Miss is the first offer for Moore, who totaled 103 tackles and four sacks last fall.

LB: Delvin Purifoy, 6-1 , 234, Pensacola (Fla.) Catholic
Results: 4.70 40, 4.87 shuttle, 36’ PB, 33.6” VJ, 89.64 SPARQ
Breakdown: Early FSU pledge racked up 116 tackles as a junior to earn Class 3A all-state honors.

LB: Josh Watson, 6-1, 233, Blue Springs (Mo.) South
Results: 4.83 40, 4.22 shuttle, 37.5’ PB, 31.7” VJ, 102.00 SPARQ
Breakdown: Big, sturdy Show Me State ‘backer made the 15-hour drive worth it with a 100-plus SPARQ Rating.

DB: Camyron Brown, 5-9 , 180, Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point
Results: 4.67 40, 4.29 shuttle, 34.5’ PB, 33.6” VJ, 91.32 SPARQ
Breakdown: Texas State and UTSA are first two offers for Brown, a second-team all-district pick as a junior.

DB: Molefi Maat, 5-10, 159, Cordova (Tenn.)
Results: 4.51 40, 4.44 shuttle, 33’ PB, 40.9” VJ, 97.38 SPARQ
Breakdown: Elite track performer also earned all-district honors on the gridiron as a junior.

DB: Curtis Mikell, 5-7 , 161, Bassfield (Miss.)
Results: 4.34 40, 4.46 shuttle, 32’ PB, 42.2” VJ, 105.93 SPARQ
Breakdown: Small, speedy corner had five interceptions as a junior.

ATH: Calvin Moore, 5-11, 184, Bassfield (Miss.)
Results: 4.53 40, 4.28 shuttle, 35’ PB, 38.6” VJ, 106.86 SPARQ
Breakdown: Alvin Moore’s twin brother was part of a tremendous showing by Bassfield prospects.

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