Here is the initial “SNS Top 21″, ranking the top prospects in the state of Louisiana for the Class of 2012. As is the case every year, this list will see lots of movement…especially once the summer camp circuit has concluded. But this is my opinion….for now. I’ve got free video of each prospect whenever it is available. You can always find the most current rankings at the “Recruiting Pages” menu at the top of the home page and click on SNS Top 21 – LA State Rankings. Hope you enjoy:
1. Landon Collins S Dutchtown – Collins is the prototypical strong safety and is clearly the top prospect in the state of Louisiana. He checks in at 6’0″ 200 pounds and has run a legit 4.4 in the 40. He has a great burst and delivers a big punch when hitting the ball carrier. He should be phenomenal on blitzes at the next level. Right now, he’s better as he gets closer to the line of scrimmage but with his speed, he can cover a lot of ground in the secondary too. He is closer to a linebacker than he is a cornerback, so if he can improve, it would be in man coverage.
2. Torshiro Davis DE Woodlawn - Davis checks in at 6’3″ 220 and has a ton of quickness off the edge. Some project him as a linebacker, but he seems much better suited to play on the line at the college level. His speed makes him a tough match-up, but he does not lack strength either. He is very well put together and could probably easily hold about 240 – 250 pounds on his frame without too much trouble. He is a great fit for what John Chavis likes from his defensive ends, and that’s speed over size. He fits the mold of guys like Sam Montgomery, Jermauria Rasco, and Justin Maclin.
3. Lorenzo Phillips LB Patterson – Phillips is an outstanding outside linebacker prospect and one of the best linebackers to come from the state of Louisiana in quite some time. Right now, he’s about 6’1″ 205 pounds but has superior athleticism and lots of football speed. Most of his highlights are of him speed rushing off the edge and making plays in the backfield. However, Phillips also shows off very good linebacker instincts. He has a knack of finding the ball carrier, squaring up, and making a sound tackle. He shows good ability to diagnose and sniff out a play and his 23 tackles for loss as a junior reflect that. Phillips spends very little time reacting to the play. He decides where he wants to go and he gets there in a hurry. He looks like a natural at the weakside linebacker position in LSU’s defense that Ryan Baker currently occupies. Like Baker, Phillips would be deadly on the blitz.
4. Denzel Devall DE/LB Bastrop – Devall is a similar player to Torshiro Davis but perhaps a bit more versatile. He can certainly play on the line and rush the passer. But he also looks to have the lateral quickness needed to possibly play middle linebacker too. At 6’2″ 235 pounds, he could go either way. Devall’s tackling really stands out on his film. He does a very nice job of wrapping up and driving the runner backwards. He shows better than average burst and I suspect that if all of his highlights were of him playing linebacker, he’d still be a very highly rated prospect. Devall also sports a 3.9 GPA which is nice to see from a middle linebacker who typically runs the defense. The big question is how much more Devall will grow. Already at 235 pounds as a high school junior, it’s not a stretch to picture him up over 250 once he is in a college strength and conditioning program. At that size, he may be better suited to playing on the line than at linebacker. His possesses some nice weight room numbers with a 315 pound bench and a 485 pound squat. That strength, along with his versatility, will help him see the field early in his career.
5. Dwayne Thomas CB OP Walker – Thomas is the kind of big corner that has excelled at LSU in recent years. With his 6’1″ 175 pound frame that is sure to fill out, he will remind many of guys like Corey Webster, Chevis Jackson, Travis Daniels, or Morris Claiborne. Thomas is not a burner but he has plenty enough speed. He has quick feet, good ball skills, and he’s much more physical than most cornerbacks at this stage of their career. He clearly looks to be the top corner prospect in Louisiana for the Class of 2012.
6. Lamar Louis LB/RB Breaux Bridge – Louis goes about 6’0″ 205 pounds and can play either outside linebacker or running back. He has good speed for either position, running a 4.54 at a combine in February. He looks like a legit prospect on either side of the ball and that versatility makes him very attractive to college coaches. His running style will remind you a bit of Michael Ford. He does not waste much time behind the line of scrimmage and he is a very physical runner who can make some nice cuts. On defense, Ryan Baker comes to mind. He uses his speed to get through gaps and into the backfield. And he delivers a pretty good punch when he makes a hit. Louis had early offers from Florida and Texas A&M, among others. Most consider Louis a linebacker at the next level though I actually prefer him at running back. Louis did not play high school ball as a junior due to eligibility issues, so his highlights are from his sophomore year. Lamar recently won the MVP for the running back position at a Nike camp in Houston, TX.
7. Ronnie Feist LB West St. John – Feist is another outstanding linebacker from the state of Louisiana. He projects on the outside, coming in at 6’1″ 210 pounds. He rushes the passer from the end quite a bit in high school, and he shows off top notch speed and burst. That should translate to being great on blitzes in college. He also shows up with an attitude when he gets to the ball. However, Feist does not spend as much time playing a traditional linebacker role, so he will have a learning curve. But it’s tough to deny that Feist has the speed, athleticism, and physicality needed to be a starter in the SEC.
8. Devante Bourque ATH Crowley – Bourque is a high school running back that is built like a college receiver, which is where most schools are recruiting him. He goes about 6’2″ 200 pounds and has a very upright running style. With the ball in his hands, Bourquie is a very exciting player. He shows very good burst and acceleration, and he demonstrates better than average cutting ability. His top end speed is good, but not elite. As a running back, he’s projects as a player very similar to former LSU Tiger Richard Murphy. As a receiver, he is an unknown since he has never played the position. Can he catch? Can he run routes? Can he block on the edge? Many schools are offering based on his talent and his ability after the catch. They are willing to take a risk that he can learn the other aspects of playing receiver.
9. John Thomas TE Airline Bossier – Thomas is a big tight-end prospect with good athleticism. He checks in at 6’6″ 235 pounds but will certainly fill out that frame more. He looks like someone that could develop as an all-around tight-end and allow LSU to get away from the “blocking tight-end” and “receiving tight-end” positions on the team. Thomas may be able to fill both roles and add some extra versatility to the Tigers’ offense. As a junior, Thomas hauled in 30 passes for 575 yards and seven touchdowns. That 19 yard per reception average is very good for a big tight-end. Thomas can improve his blocking, but that is easily coachable for someone with his size and skills. He compares favorably to current Tiger Nic Jacobs.
10. Travin Dural WR Breaux Bridge – Dural looks to be the state’s top receiver prospect. He currently has a tall, slender frame that will remind many of Brandon Lafell coming out of high school. At 6’2″ 175 pounds, he is likely a tad shorter than Lafell, but his style of play is very similar. He has very good speed and frequently gets behind the defense for big plays. He shows good ability to come down with jump balls and to catch balls over defenders. He primarily works on the outside and his highlights do not show him working in the middle of the field, though that’s not to say he cannot do that. He clearly excels on deeper routes and it remains to be seen whether he can execute shorter, more precise routes.
11. Jordan Batiste CB Lutcher - Batiste lacks ideal size, listed at just 5’9″ 170 pounds, but he makes up for that with solid cover skills and good run support. He plays much bigger than his size and excels at press coverage. He’s also outstanding in run support. He shows good speed and change of direction skills and would likely excel at covering slot receivers as a nickel back in LSU’s defense. He has a Tyrann Mathieu-like play making ability to him.
12. Darion Monroe CB East St. John - Monroe plays quarterback for Est St. John but projects as a cornerback at the next level. Since his film shows him behind center, it’s tough to project him in the secondary. He is clearly a very good overall athlete, and he has decent size at 5’11″ 175 pounds. He shows very good “shake” and change of direction when he takes off with the ball, and that should translate to solid coverage skills. After a workout last summer at Texas A&M’s camp, he earned an offer from the Aggies.
13. Dillon Gordon TE John Curtis - Gordon fits the profile of the “blocking tight-end” and he has superior size at 6’5″ 240 pounds. He will probably play in college at around 265 or 270 pounds. Gordon is at his best on the line of scrimmage, and he likely won’t be flexed out very often. But having a solid blocker that can act as a sixth offensive lineman in the running game can prove to be quite valuable. Gordon is not without some athleticism though, and he can hold his own as a receiver.
14. Terrell Lathan DE West Monroe - Lathan has very good size at 6’4″ 235 pounds, and he has all the skills you could want in a defensive end. He shows equal amounts of toughness and speed, and looks like the complete package. However, he lacks consistency. His highlight film has the “wow” factor, but the knock on him is that he doesn’t give full effort on every play. If he comes to LSU’s camp and shows a willingness to work and learn, he could very well earn an offer. He holds offers from Mississippi State and Arkansas.
15. Trey Granier LB Thibodaux - Granier is a classic middle linebacker prospect. He’s got the size at 6’1″ 225 pounds, and he has the stats to match. Granier does a good job of moving to the football, especially between the tackles. However, he looks a step slow especially when in pursuit to the outside. He also has a tendency to get caught up in traffic, and he needs to improve on shedding blocks. But Granier does have the size and enough athleticism to be a contributor at the SEC level.
16. Daniel Taylor RB Lutcher - Taylor is the most electric player in the state with the ball in his hands. But he does not have prototypical size, listed at just 5’9″ 170 pounds. What he does have is great speed, athleticism, and moves. He’s not going to run the ball between the tackles very often, but he can be a difference maker, even at the SEC level, as a big play / change of pace back. Think of players like Onterio McCaleb, Dexter McCluster, and Trindon Holliday when you think of Taylor. I believe Taylor has the potential to make that kind of impact in the SEC. He holds offers from a few SEC schools, including Auburn.
18. Deion Jones LB Jesuit - Jones is yet another good looking outside linebacker in the state this year. However at 6’2″ 200 pounds, Jones currently lacks the size that some of the others have and he appears to lack the frame to put on the weight he’ll need at the next level. That’s not to say he cannot be effective. A number of linebackers have excelled in the SEC at less than 210 pounds. Jerico Nelson, Tony Bua, and Travis Williams come to mind; however, those guys are exceptions to the rule. LSU of course likes a smaller, quicker linebacker on the strong side and Jones could have some potential to fill that spot. Jones is very active, tallying 118 tackles as a junior. As a hitter, he packs a punch that is bigger than his size would indicate. He has plans on camping at LSU where the coaches will get a good look at his skills.
19. Bryan Singleton DE Destrehan - Singleton is a solid strong side defensive end with better than average quickness and pass rushing skills. Listed anywhere between 6’3″ 240 pounds to 6’4″ 255 pounds, Singleton is not a speed rusher. But he looks like a very solid player with a pretty high floor. I see him as a player that may eventually make the move inside to defensive tackle, similar to guys like Pep Levingston, Bennie Logan, and Ego Ferguson. You’ll notice that no defensive tackles are on this list, and that may help Singleton land an offer from LSU if he comes to camp and impresses. He has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, and SMU thus far.
20. Alonzo Moore WR/ATH Winnified – I’m projecting a bit here by including Moore in my rankings, especially since he has no offers at this point and no film to see but I believe Moore has an extremely high ceiling. Moore plays all over the field for Winnifield but best projects as a receiver at the college level. He has good size, listed anywhere between 6’2″ and 6’4″ and about 180 – 190 pounds. For that size, he has outstanding speed, clocking a 4.49 and 4.51 at LSU’s camp last summer. At Winnifield, Moore was incredibly productive. Per Rivals.com, Moore caught 49 balls for 1,246 yards and 17 TDs. That’s a ridiculosu 25.4 yards per reception. He also rushed for 591 yards on 53 carries and nine more touchdowns, averaging over 11 yards per carry. In the playoffs, he rushed for 100 yards in two straight games before catching seven passes for 250 yards in the third game. If Moore camps at LSU this summer, I think he stands a very good chance of getting noticed and earning an offer.
21. Jaydrick Declouet WR Patterson - Declouet is a natural receiver that shows very good hands and has good speed, consistently clocked in the 4.5 range. The only thing he lacks is size at just 5’10″ 175 pounds. He impresses on film, showing the ability to play both inside and outside and looks fairly polished. While his top end speed is not elite, he accelerates well and gets out of his breaks quickly. He is also very good after the catch, routinely making defenders miss and wasting no time in getting up field. His production has been great. As a junior, Declouet hauled in 60 passes for 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. He holds a number of offers with only one, from Vanderbilt, at the BCS conference level. He reminds me a bit of former Tiger Larry Foster.
TreVon Stewart CB Patterson
Jacoby Briscoe DT Carencro
James McFarland DE West Monroe
Brandon Wilson RB Calvary Baptist
Jalen Richard RB Peabody
Alex Johnson RB Carencro
Blaine Poydras OL Scotlandville
Otha Peters LB Covington
Tylor Harris DE Episcopal
Lloyd Grogan LB/S Central Catholic
Alonzo Williams DE Abbeville
Torrey Bell DE John Curtis