Tiger Rag's Top 40

Luther Davis checks in at No. 5

Everyone wants to know who the top prospects are and today Tiger Rag gives you its Top 40 in the Bayou State for 2007.

 

Louisiana's Top 40

This is our first ranking of the Top 40 college prospects in Louisiana for 2007. These rankings will be adjusted several times throughout the year as some will move up and down the chart, and some who are not ranked will take the place of some who made our initial list. Keep in mind that this is not a ranking of the Top 40 high school players in the Bayou State as this is a list of who I feel are the top college prospects based on a player's skills, upside and potential.

 

Disclaimer: The schools listed below are not listed in any particular order. Some prospects were strongly considered for the Top 40 but I never received their highlight film or had the opportunity to evaluate them. Once I have a chance to do so they will receive consideration for the July rankings.

 

1. ATH Joe McKnight            5-11, 190, 4.5          John Curtis

McKnight is easily the state's top rated prospect and is one of the most versatile and exciting players in the country. As a junior he rushed for 502 yards and nine touchdowns on 36 attempts, and hauled in 20 passes for 497 yards and five scores. Returning kicks was when McKnight was especially lethal as he averaged over 38 yards a kickoff return with 1 touchdown and 29 yards a punt return with four more scores. For his efforts he was selected 1st Team All-State and has an excellent chance of being a five-star recruit when Scout.com releases its first edition of the Class of 2007 player ratings.

 

2. S/LB Chad Jones             6-2, 220, 4.5           Southern Lab

After transferring to Southern Lab after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Jones was a big splash for the Kittens as he rolled up 84 tackles, picked off four passes and earned Class 1A 1st Team All-State honors. He has great speed and quickness for someone his size and could end up at safety or linebacker. Some projects Jones to be an early to mid-round draft pick in the MLB Draft because he is a big southpaw that reportedly throws in the low 90's. He is the brother of current LSU defensive end Al Jones.

 

3. DT Will Blackwell             6-3, 295, 4.8           West Monroe

Blackwell is very strong and has a good first step off the ball.  He could play end or tackle but is destined to move inside at the next level. As a junior, Blackwell was named Class 5A 1st Team All-State, All-Northeast Louisiana, and All-District after totaling 80 tackles and eight sacks for the season.

 

4. S/LB Stefoin Francois     6-2, 200, 4.6             East St. John

In eight regular season games, Francois recorded a total of 141 tackles (67 sols and 74 assists), five and a half sacks, picked off two passes with one going all the way back for a touchdown, and forced four fumbles. Those numbers did not include three playoff games where he estimated that he had at least 40-50 more tackles. The only question regarding Francois is will he end up at linebacker or safety? He has the speed and skills to play either.

 

5. DE/DT Luther Davis         6-3, 250, 4.75           West Monroe

As a junior, Davis finished with 74 tackles, six sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and 14 tackles for a loss. He was named Class 5A 1st Team All-State, All-District, and All-Northeast Louisiana for his play on the field. If you like recruiting drama then you are going to love following Davis' recruitment over the next nine months because his favorites change often.

 

6. ATH John Williams           5-10, 175, 4.5   Breaux Bridge

Williams is a true two-way star who earned Class 4A 1st Team All-State honors on both sides of the ball. He rushed for 967 yards and 15 touchdowns, and passed for another 901 yards and eight more scores. Defensively, he picked off eight passes with one going all the way back for six and added 96 total tackles from his free safety spot. Williams projects on both sides of the ball but look for him to get a look at corner first.

 

7. WR Gabriel Bryant         6-2, 190, 4.5   Jonesboro Hodge

Bryant played his junior season at Crossett (Ark.) and finished with 54 catches for 1,154 yards and 8 touchdowns. He will finish up his high school days at Jonesboro-Hodge and is expected to play quarterback as a senior. Several sources in Arkansas followed Bryant during his junior season and said that he was already a better prospect than Arkansas signee Damian Williams, who was regarded by all of the recruiting services as one of the top receivers in the country.

 

8. DT Drake Nevis              6-1, 285, 4.8            John Ehret

Ole Miss got an early commitment from Nevis but the Rebels will have to fend off many suitors after his impressive performance at the Nike Combine at LSU. He was named MVP after posting a 4.87 time in the 40-yard dash and blowing past the competition in the individual drills. As a junior, Nevis registered 80 tackles, eight sacks, and earned 1st Team All-District and 1st Team All-West Bank honors. The talented defensive tackle says he is committed to the Rebels but plans on taking some visits thus leaving the door open for other coaches.

 

9. WR  DeAngelo Benton      6-2, 190, 4.5            Bastrop

Some consider Benton a member of the Class of 2008 because academically speaking he will be a junior, but his eligibility on the field will expire following the upcoming season. Bastrop head coach Brad Bradshaw said the plan is for Benton to take extra classes so that he can graduate with his class in 2007 so that is what we are going with. On the field, Benton is a super talent that has received offers from some of the top programs around. Last season he was a Class 4A 1st Team All-State selection after catching 41 passes for 869 yards and 11 touchdowns.

 

10. DT Rolando Melancon     6-1, 270, 4.8            Lutcher

Melancon burst onto the scene when he was voted first team all-state and his district's most valuable player after his freshman campaign. His production never dropped off over his sophomore and junior seasons as he recorded 198 tackles with 48 behind the line of scrimmage, 14 sacks, and 12 forced fumbles. There are several defensive tackles in the Bayou State that will be mentioned frequently during the recruiting process but none are as quick as Melancon.

 

11. WR Toddrick Bajoie        6-1, 205, 4.5           Catholic-Pointe Coupee

Louisiana is loaded with blue-chip receivers and Bajoie is one of the state's best. His athleticism is what jumps out at you to go with his nice blend of size and speed. As a junior, Bajoie hauled in 36 passes for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Hornets and was a Class 1A 1st Team All-State selection. He averaged over 30 yards a catch and finished with over 1,500 all-purpose yards. The only knock on Bajoie is that he plays in a small classification but this kid can flat out play.

 

12. S Tarence Calais           5-11, 190, 4.5          Patterson

Calais' father is former LSU safety Ivory Hilliard and if the Tigers offer he will almost certainly follow in his father's footsteps and end up at LSU. Calais has all of the ingredients you look for in a safety. He is very physical, coves a lot of ground, and reacts well to the ball when it is in the air. During his junior campaign, Calais registered 162 total tackles (97 solos), including 17 tackles for a loss, forced nine fumbles, and was voted Class 3A 1st Team All-State.

 

13. TE Mitch Joseph            6-4, 250, 4.8           Catholic-New Iberia

As a junior, Joseph was a Class 3A 1st Team All-State, All-District and All-Acadiana selection after hauling in 16 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns. He is a dominant run blocker with good hands and good speed. Joseph committed to LSU at junior day after receiving an offer from Ole Miss and interest from several top programs.

 

14. WR Ahmad Paige            6-2, 165, 4.4          Sterlington

Speed is the name of the game with Paige. He was a Class 2A 1st Team All-State selection after hauling in 44 passes for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns. As impressive as those stats are, though, what really sticks out is the fact that he averaged 27.2 yards a catch and found the end zone nearly once every three times he caught the ball. Paige would be rated higher but there are some question marks regarding his weight and ability to get off jams at the next level.

 

15. DE Jason Peters            6-3, 250, 4.85          Catholic-Baton Rouge

Peters turned his game up a notch over the latter half of his junior season and if he carries that over to his senior year he will give Luther Davis a running for the state's top defensive end spot. Peters is technically sound and is a strong presence coming off the edge. Last season, he had a breakout junior campaign with 58 tackles, 14 stops hind the line, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, and was voted Class 5A 1st team All-State.

 

16. DT Kantravis Aubrey      6-3, 285, 5.2           Bastrop

Aubrey is very strong, which is evident from his 385-pound bench, and he moves well. Don't be surprised if he gets a strong look on the other side of the ball at guard when he gets to LSU. As junior, he was a Class 4A 1st Team All-State selection after recording 81 tackles, 10 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. Aubrey committed to LSU after receiving the offer at LSU's Junior Day.

 

17. D'Montreal Wilson          6-4, 300, 5.0           Rayville

After making the move to offensive tackle late in his junior campaign, Wilson has quickly emerged as one of the top tackles in the South. He has very quick feet for a big man and his long arms make him a good fit for defending the edge. Wilson could also play defensive tackle at the next level but LSU needs offensive tackles and the Tigers got a good one.

 

18. Earl Patin                     6-1, 225, 4.7           Southern Lab

Patin is a true middle linebacker prospect with good instincts and he is very well put together from a physical standpoint. He was named Class 1A 1st Team All-State and finished his junior season with 80 tackles, including eight behind the line of scrimmage and six sacks.

 

19. ATH Jasmine Dalton       6-3, 205, 4.6            Independence

He may not end up at receiver but Dalton will make some coach very happy on National Signing Day. He is an exceptional athlete who could end up staying at receiver, or making a move to safety, linebacker, or even tight end. During his junior year, Dalton was voted Class 3A 1ST Team All-State after hauling in 49 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns.

 

20. LB Korey Williams         6-1, 218, 4.6            Edna Karr

Williams will give Earl Patin a run for his money at middle linebacker but Patin gets the early nod for tops in the state. While Patin plays a little more instinctively, Williams has a little more quickness. Williams' junior campaign was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina but he still had a solid showing in the abbreviated season with 80 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, six sacks, two caused fumbles and three interceptions.

 

21. LB/S Grant Fleming       6-2, 200, 4.6            St. Thomas More

Fleming plays free safety for the Cougars but anyone who has seen him play can see that he has the traits of an outside linebacker. He is a huge hitter with good speed and could easily be in the 210-pound range for his senior year. Fleming was a Class 4A 1st Team All-State selection as a sophomore and even though opposing coaches chose not to test the middle of the field, he finished his junior year with 77 total tackles, two sacks and five pass break ups.

 

22. OL Alex Williams            6-5, 290, 5.2           French Settlement

Williams played his sophomore season at L.B. Landry in New Orleans but the school got demolished by Hurricane Katrina. He did not play as a junior because the school he transferred to does not have a football team so he will have some rust to work off when he gets back in pads. Williams is projected to play at O. Perry Walker for his senior year and he could potentially be one of the top offensive tackles in the South. If he lives up to his potential then he will make a huge jump in our rankings.

 

23. WR/CB Aaron Johnson    5-10, 180, 4.5          Southern Lab

Johnson was voted the MVP at an Ohio State summer camp following his sophomore season and the Buckeyes are the team to beat. On offense, he is very fast and tough to tackle when he gets in open space. Johnson could end up at corner too as he can cover with the best in the state.

 

24. WR/CB Edwin Reed        5-9, 175, 4.5            Destrehan

"Little Reed", as he is often called by his coaches and teammates, is the younger brother of former Miami Hurricane and current NFL Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed. Edwin will likely end up at wide out when he moves on to college and end up as a slot receiver. As a junior, he logged 34 catches for 645 yards and five scores.

 

25. CB Terry Carter            5-10, 170, 4.4          West Monroe

After playing safety as a junior, Carter expects to move back to corner for his senior year to take advantage of his blazing speed. In addition to excelling on the gridiron, Carter is also a standout track performer with personal bests in the 100-meters of 10.4 seconds and 21.37 seconds in the 200-meters.

 

26. DE Harvey Haynes         6-4, 220, 4.8            East Jefferson

Haynes is a pass rushing specialist but he would make a nice SAM linebacker at the next level. He is strong enough to play on the line and quick enough to drop back and cover the short routes.

 

27. DT Jonathan English       6-0, 295, 5.1            John Curtis

Some may question English's height but there is no questioning his ability to stop the run. He is a clog in the middle that often takes on double and triple teams. When he goes one-on-one in some summer camps coaches will see the true worth he brings to the defensive front. English had a stellar junior year with 102 tackles, 11 sacks, and he even picked off a pair of passes.

 

28. OL Alex Washington       6-4, 315, 5.3            Carroll

Washington played every position on the line in Carroll's spread offense but this year he is expected to settle in at guard which is where he is projected to play at the next level. He has good feet and the quickness to get out and pull and get downfield. Washington has some good numbers in the weight room with a 345-pound bench and a 500-pound squat.

 

29. DT Mason Hitt               6-2, 255, 4.8            Parkview Baptist

Coaches went to Parkview Baptist two years ago to evaluate Lyle Hitt, who signed with LSU, and now they are back after Mason. His first step is very quick coming off the edge but once he moves inside to tackle he should really flourish.

 

30. Reggie Weams              6-0, 190, 4.5            Redemptorist

Weams has good range and does not shy away from contact. He has a knack for being around the ball and making big plays when they are needed. As a junior, Weams picked off seven passes and registered 112 tackles in leading the Wolves to a state championship.

 

31. CB Joshua Victorian       5-10, 170, 4.4          Destrehan

Victorian impressed scouts at the U.S. Army All-American Combine when he ran a 4.4. As a junior, he picked off eight passes playing opposite of Edwin Reed. Victorian is a solid cover guy who could see his stock rise with another outstanding season.

 

32. OL Matt Stone              6-4, 316, 5.4            Ruston

Stone occupies the left tackle position for the Bearcats but is probably better suited for guard once he moves on. He has great upper body strength and can drive defenders down the field. If Stone works on his footwork and quickness look for him to end up playing major D-I school.

 

33. LB Jacob Dufrene                    6-1, 210, 4.7            John Curtis

J.T. Curtis has had more than his share of Division-I players over the years and when he says Dufrene falls into that category you better trust the Patriots' headman. Dufrene is not the fastest, nor is he the biggest, but you can deny the fact that he is always around the ball making plays. He logged 95 tackles and 14 sacks as a junior.

 

34. LB Dusty Rust               6-3, 195, 4.75          Captain Shreve

If you are looking for a player that loves to hit then Rust has to be on your radar. Coaches are still trying to decide if he is a linebacker or safety at the next level. Rust racked up 123 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions and six pass breakups last year.

 

35. OT/DE Josh Dworaczyk  6-5, 260, 4.9            Catholic-New Iberia

Dworaczyk plays defensive end for Catholic but he has the tools to play on the edge on the other side of the ball. He has a long wingspan, quick feet and he plays with an attitude. If he shows those skills and traits at camps then his stock could take off.

 

36. OT Kyle Plouhar             6-6, 290, 5.3            Fontainebleau

Plouhar played his junior season at Sprague High School in Salem, Oregon, but is back at Fontainebleau to finish up his high school career. He has a big upside with his size and should benefit from being back in Fontainebleau's weight lifting program.

 

37. TE/DE Frank Alexander  6-4, 228, 4.7            Southern Lab

Alexander was a first team all-district selection on both sides of the ball for the Kittens. He started at tight end and defensive end, and with his frame and quickness he can play either at the college level.

 

38. RB Philip Livas               5-8, 155, 4.3            South Terrebonne

Livas may not be the fastest person in the state but he could very well be the fastest on the gridiron for 2007. What he lacks in size he makes up for with his 4.3 speed. Livas had 1,223 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns as a junior, and he also returned four kickoffs for scores.

 

39. CB Sonny Roseborough  5-9, 170, 4.5            Pickering

Despite playing for a small school, Roseborough is getting plenty of attention from some of the big boys. Coaches are uncertain on where he will end up at but with his speed and athleticism receiver or corner would be a good fit.

 

40. LB C.C. Carpenter         6-0, 210, 4.8            West Monroe

Carpenter was a Class 5A 1st Team All-State selection last year after leading West Monroe in tackles with 122 and he added four sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. He has a good nose for the ball and loves to hit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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