Wildcard Player: Jarvis Landry
Lutcher wide receiver primed to play right away for LSU
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
Saddling a football prospect with the term “wildcard” may give some the impression that player is flying under the radar or that he’s more of a surprise-impact candidate.
Neither of those descriptions fit Jarvis Landry.
Yet, the Lutcher wide receiver fits into the wildcard role in this Class of 2011 about as smoothly as his hands glide into a pair of receiver gloves.
The reason: He’s the most likely candidate, alongside La’el Collins and Anthony Johnson, from the ‘11 crop to put his fingerprints on LSU’s upcoming season.
Landry’s that good.
At 5-11, 185 pounds, the Lutcher product is ranked the No. 4 overall wide receiver in the country by Scout.com, which also tacked an extra star onto Landry’s ranking (giving him five) following the player’s outstanding week at the Under Armour All-American Bowl in early January.
“That was the best experience of my life,” Landry told Tiger Rag in a recent interview. “La’el Collins and Anthony Johnson were with me.
“We just tried to bring it every day at practice. Anthony, he’s the more vocal guy. La’el’s just down and dirty. And myself, I just wanted to prove I was the best.”
He got some assistance toward that end from a number of old pros, including former All-NFL wide-out Keyshawn Johnson.
“Keyshawn was on our sideline. I could hear him talking to me as I was going through a bunch of drills,” explained Landry. “He kinda eased my mind on a lot, as far as route running. He broke a lot of things down to me before the play. Then, I’d be running routes and I could hear his voice telling me when to break and stuff like that, just helping me out.”
When the lights came on in central Florida for game time, Landry put on a show in front of a national television audience. He finished the all-star game with eight catches for 70 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
For his efforts in the game and throughout the week, Landry was named his team’s Most Valuable Player, an impressive honor considering he was amongst the top recruits in the nation.
Listen to his high school coach talk about him, though, and it’s little surprise that Landry excels, no matter how stiff the competition or how tall the measuring stick.
“That kid, he can just do things I can’t coach,” said Lutcher headman Tim Detillier in a matter-of-fact fashion.
Detillier went on to praise Landry’s “big strong hands,” the key elements, according to the coach, which led Landry to become the all-time leading receiver in the history of Lutcher High School football.
“As a wide receiver you don’t think of a guy being physical, but Jarvis Landry is one of the most physical football players that I have coached,” Detillier added. “You know, we played him at linebacker and he led the team in tackles. We put him in the secondary and he’s breaking up passes. He’s just a football player.
“I’ve had players that were faster, bigger and stronger. But I don’t know that I’ve had a more complete or more physical player. Boy, you have to be aware of where he’s at. If not, he’ll knock you into the middle of next week.”
So far, we’ve checked off the following on Landry’s list of tools and attributes: good hands, gamer, physical, strong desire. Well, make room for unselfishness, because the LSU commitment has that in spades, too.
On the topic of his senior season, one in which his overall statistics were a tad down, Landry never wavered one iota in his insistence that it was all about team.
“It didn’t go as everyone thought it would. We lost a big quarterback (in Gavin Webster, who graduated), an all-Louisiana type guy, and ended up rotating three guys back there,” Landry acknowledged. “I wasn’t as productive on offense, but I made a lot of great plays on defense to lift the team up. I was wishing we could’ve made it to the state title.”
In the same selfless vein, Landry, who was among the first to commit to this year’s LSU class back in January 2010, stressed that he’ll play wherever the coaches want him at receiver in Baton Rouge, whether that be inside in the slot or outside as a flanker.
“(I’ll play) anywhere they put me. From talking with the coaches, especially Coach Billy (Gonzales), I’ll be playing outside and inside. Could be the two or three, you never know, they just told me they were gonna move me around a lot.”
Landry does present LSU’s offense the unique ability to line up opposite Rueben Randle right away on the outside and also join Russell Shepard in the slot. Of course, there are others Landry will have to contend with - Kadron Boone, Chris Tolliver and James Wright, namely.
Detillier, for one, gave a big “affirmative” when asked if he feels Landry will play early on in Tiger Stadium.
“Well, I’ve been able to sit in on some of those recruiting talks, and from what I’ve heard I guess I’d have to answer yes to that.”
Editor Ben Love covers LSU football and men’s basketball for Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.