Tiger Rag’s 2011 Dirty Dozen
Listing the top 12 high school prospects in Louisiana
Franklinton’s Terrance Magee, pictured left, piloted the Demons to a state championship in 2010 playing quarterback. At the next level in Tiger Town, he projects as a running back (photo courtesy of Jason Ball/The Bogalusa Daily News).
Tiger Rag Staff Report
Since Tiger Rag stepped onto the scene in 1978 as the brainchild of founder Steve Myers, the “Bible of LSU Sports” has released an annual Dirty Dozen in advance of National Signing Day.
Now, with Feb. 2 close at hand, it’s time to unveil our 33rd annual Dirty Dozen, highlighting the top 12 high school football prospects from around the Pelican State in the Class of 2011.
We’ve also put together a Second Dozen with the next 12 in-state players in line, in the view of Tiger Rag. CLICK HERE for our Second Dozen. (Quick Note: At the end of the Second Dozen post, we provide a statistical breakdown of the 24 players combined, including where they all attended high school, where they plan to attend college and which positions the state stockpiles and lacks by comparison.)
Editor’s Notes: Editor Ben Love selected the dozen and Richard Fischer, assistant editor, put together the following player capsules. The heights, weights and 40-yard dash times listed below are compiled from Scout.com. Also, the list is given in alphabetical order and is not meant to indicate any rankings among the 12 prospects.
After spending his entire senior season undecided, LSU received its second commit in as many years from Isidore Newman High School when Odell Beckham, Jr. donned an LSU cap during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl January 8 in San Antonio. Beckham’s long-awaited decision now seems like a no-brainer as his father played halfback for LSU in the late 1980s and early-90s and his mother was an All American in track and field. “He’s just been raised as a Tiger, if you will, in terms of them going to games and visiting the university,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. The two-way standout will likely play wide receiver at the collegiate level, opposite his former Newman teammate, defensive back Ronnie Vinson. Beckham was the first Greenie to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Cooper Manning in 1991, and he chose the Tigers from a field of 22 scholarship offers.
LSU’s first verbal commit of its 2011 class could wind up being its best in the form of offensive tackle La’el Collins. Rated as a five star and one of the best offensive linemen in the country by just about every recruiting publication, the Baton Rouge native looks forward to staying home and playing in Tiger Stadium. “I am 100 percent Tiger, and [LSU fans] do not have to worry about me decommitting or anything like that,” said Collins immediately following his verbal pledge in August 2009. “Tell [LSU fans] I am going to focus on becoming better for the Class of 2011.” With the departure of left tackle Joseph Barksdale, Collins should have a strong opportunity to compete with Chris Faulk for the starting job right away.
The career of the Acadiana Wreckin’ Ram culminated with a win in the 5A State Championship Game over traditional power West Monroe. The running back rushed for 121 yards and the winning touchdown on a one-yard scamper, ending a 29-game Rebels winning streak. For the season, Micah Eugene ran for about 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, but even though he showed tremendous promise in the offensive backfield, the LSU commit will likely switch over to the defensive backfield when he arrives on campus, playing back-up to Tyrann Mathieu at nickelback. Eugene chose LSU in December 2010 over written scholarship offers from USC, UL-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern State. He is ranked as a three star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Previous TR story on Micah Eugene: December 20, 2010
Jeremy Hill joined teammate La’el Collins as LSU’s first verbal pledges of its 2011 class, but the road to Tiger Stadium hasn’t gone quite so smoothly for the Redemptorist running back since. After a fine senior season, Hill decommitted from LSU in early December 2010, citing the fact he wanted to take other official visits, and Les Miles has a policy that current verbal commits cannot visit other schools. After visiting Alabama and Auburn, Hill recommitted to LSU on Jan. 7. But the plot thickened even more when he was arrested Jan. 12 for Oral Sexual Battery. If the Tigers decide to hold on to Hill (he could be a greyshirt candidate for this class), he’ll bring a great deal of speed and elusiveness to the running back position which would go well with the power and size of fellow verbal commit Kenny Hilliard.
LSU’s recruit from Patterson ran into the state record books by breaking the Louisiana high school football record for total yards, as he ran for well over 8,000 yards in four years at Patterson. Hilliard led the Lumberjacks to the brink of the state championship before falling in the title game to Parkview Baptist. He will enroll with a combination of size and speed rare for most backs as true freshmen, and after the departure of junior Stevan Ridley, expect Hilliard to compete for snaps right away. “He is a great player,” said Rick Gaille, head coach of rival St. James and former assistant at Tulane. “I can’t say enough about him. Without question, he can play for any school in the country.” Hilliard committed to the Tigers on December 19, 2009, and had written offers from Alabama, Miami, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Tulsa.
Maybe the greatest coup of LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson’s move from Tennessee to LSU will be the signing of Anthony “Freak” Johnson, who switched his commitment from the Vols to the Tigers as soon as the fellow New Orleans native took his new post in Baton Rouge. Just about every expert would tell you the O. Perry Walker product is the best defensive tackle in the nation, and after doing 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press as a junior in high school, who could argue? Due to seniors Drake Nevis and Pep Levingston leaving the program, Johnson figures to be a strong candidate to see immediate playing time. “The future is very bright for him,” said O. Perry Walker head coach Emanuel Powell. “The ceiling is the limit for what he can do, but I think it’s better for him to get in and get his feet wet early and get a touch of that SEC.”
Once again LSU has nabbed the top wide receiver in the Pelican State, and this time it’s Jarvis Landry of Lutcher. The four star spurned offers from Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas A&M to trade in his Bulldog purple and gold for Tiger purple and gold. “It’s a great feeling, but once again you can’t let the hype get to you,” Landry said regarding the attention he has been receiving from the recruiting world. But that attention only increased when he was named Offensive MVP of his team at the Under Armour All American Bowl for snaring eight catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in the Orlando-based all-star game. His score would have won the game for his team had it not been for a last second field goal by the other team’s kicker.
On the heels of winning the state championship with Franklinton, Terrence Magee enters LSU in the same mold that Spencer Ware did a year ago - a big, physical high school quarterback that seems to translate to running back at the collegiate level. Like Ware, Magee had quite a bit of success with his arm and his legs in high school, with 2,421 yards through the air and 33 touchdowns passing touchdown compared to only three interceptions this year. He added two scores on the ground, but he only rushed 15 times, fine tuning his passing skills in his senior year. “He runs with toughness and a physical mentality,” said Franklinton coach Shane Smith. “You see him on contact, he’s always moving forward for an additional one, two or three yards.”
Previous TR story on Terrance Magee: March 4, 2010
One player receiving national attention from the northern part of the state is Evangel Christian defensive end Jermauria Rasco, and if the Tigers can continue to protect the borders and keep him in-state, LSU’s 2011 class could compete with just about anyone around the nation. Rasco has been a terror to opposing quarterbacks since his eighth grade season, with more than 50 sacks in his career before even playing a single snap of his senior season. Prior to the start of the year, Rasco’s defensive line coach at Evangel - and former LSU defensive tackle from 1998-2002, Byron Dawson - said Rasco had received upward of 65 scholarship offers. “He’s a big kid. He works hard. He does all the little things right. He’s a stand up, humble, quiet, please, thank you kind of kid,” said Dawson.
The one dominant interior presence from Louisiana that LSU may have let get away in its 2011 recruiting class is Greg Robinson of Thibodaux. That’s because Robinson chose the SEC’s blue and orange Tigers over the league’s purple and gold Tigers. Robinson’s former teammate at Thibodaux, Trovon Reed, also left the Bayou Region for the Plains of Auburn in 2010, giving the big offensive lineman a friendly face to have at Auburn next year. “He’s so quick and flexible for his size. He’s got the strength to take on a bull rush from a big player and quickness,” said former Thibodaux head coach Dennis Lorio. A graduate assistant offensive line coach at LSU from 1992-94, Lorio added that Robinson’s skill set reminds him of former LSU great Alan Faneca.
Previous TR story on Greg Robinson: June 24, 2010
LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson’s prowess in the New Orleans area continues to show itself with the verbal commitment of big offensive lineman Trai Turner from St. Augustine High School. The massive Purple Knight tackle will likely move to guard at the collegiate level, a transition his high school coach David Johnson said should give him no trouble. “He’s a real good pass blocker, and he’s dominant on the run block,” said Johnson. Behind Turner, St. Augustine accumulated about 6,000 yards of total offense this season, according to Johnson. Turner joins his offensive-line-mate Jonah Austin in LSU’s 2011 recruiting class as well as current Tiger and former Purple Knight Tyrann Mathieu. “Tyrann talks to him all the time,” continued Johnson. “He tells him about the atmosphere, how he really likes it.” Johnson even called Mathieu a “big brother” to Turner.
East St. John’s prize receiver began the recruiting search off everyone’s radar, because he didn’t begin playing football until his junior season, but that didn’t stop former East St. John football coach Larry Dauterive from calling him the best player he’s ever coached. That’s pretty high praise coming from a man who coached Ryan Perrilloux, Derron Thomas, Kirston Pittman, Stefoin Francois and Ricky Dixon at the high school level. “I always told myself that Ryan would be the best athlete that I’d ever coach, but let me tell you, D’haquille is better,” said Dauterive. “This kid can do lots and lots of things, and he’s a truly special talent.” In his first year on the gridiron, Williams caught 44 passes for 1,161 yards and 21 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Williams has a credit situation that will not allow him to qualify for a Division-1 college in time for the 2011 season. He will instead enroll at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and is a name to look out for in a few years should Williams become qualified academically.
Previous TR story on D’haquille Williams: October 28, 2010
There you have it - Tiger Rag’s top 12 high school football prospects from the Class of 2011.
We’ll have a full breakdown of all 24 prospects after releasing our Second Dozen, but here’s how the count shakes out for now:
- 9 of the 12 are currently LSU commitments
- 1 of the 12 is an Auburn commitment
- 1 of the 12 is undecided
- 1 of the 12 is headed to Community College
- 9 of the 12 project as offensive players in college (3 are WRs, 3 RBs, 2 OGs and 1 OT)
- 3 of the 12 project as defensive players in college (1 DE, 1 DT and 1 S)
For photographic assistance, Tiger Rag would like to thank the following: Jason Ball of the Daily News in Bogalusa, Shea Dixon and Scout.com, Casey Gisclair, Claude Price, O. Perry Walker High School, Patterson High School and Redemptorist High School.