RECRUITING UPDATE: Jerqwinick Sandolph
Hahnville DB draws favorable comparisons from coach
By CASEY GISCLAIR
Tiger Rag Recruiting Contributor
Most coaches shy away from comparing today’s prospects to previous greats out of fear it will make the current standout uncomfortable.
Longtime Hahnville High School football coach Lou Valdin isn’t afraid to say it - he thinks Tigers’ defensive back Jerqwinick Sandolph has a little LaRon Landry in him.
That should be good news to LSU fans as like Landry, Sandolph will spend his collegiate career in Baton Rouge, committing to LSU on May 28.
“I’ll just go ahead and say it, he’s very, very similar to LaRon Landry,” Valdin said. “And he’s actually probably a little bit bigger than Landry was when he was at Hahnville.”
Valdin said the reason for the comparison is because of Sandolph’s physicality.
Standing “a hair” over 6-foot-1-inch and weighing 190, the defensive back spent the majority of his junior season bullying opposing receivers out of the cornerback and safety positions for Hahnville.
“He doesn’t have very many limitations playing either of the two positions,” Valdin said. “But let me tell you this - he’s a freakin’ vicious tackler.”
From that “vicious” physicality, Valdin said his defensive back prefers to play man-to-man coverage and he enjoys pressing at the line of scrimmage.
Sandolph has the luxury of being able to do so often in the Tigers’ scheme as two of his teammates in the secondary, Tyren Hills and Johnell Celestan are also being recruited by Division I schools as well.
“All of our guys would much rather be up on the ball in the receiver’s face than to be in space,” Valdin said. “Jerqwinick would much rather play bump and run than play off guys - that’s where he’s much more comfortable.”
Brute physicality is one thing, but being able to play mistake-free football at one of the most important positions in the game is another.
Valdin said Sandolph is capable of doing that.
We’ll let you be the judge.
Hahnville squared off against East St. John, Lutcher and St. James last season.
To the recruiting novice, those are the homes of four-star prospect and current junior college receiver D’haquille Williams and LSU signees Jarvis Landry and Alonzo Lewis - three of the best receivers in the United States in 2010.
Valdin said against that stiff competition Sandolph held his own, establishing himself as an elite defensive back.
“I thought he did a good job on the Landry kid at Lutcher. I thought he did a great job on the kid from St. James in the jamboree,” Valdin said. “But what impressed me the most was the job he did on Williams, the kid from East St. John. Because let me tell you - that kid might be the best high school receiver I’ve ever seen. I think the way he played against those guys really sort of opened the door for him.”
With a full year left at Hahnville, Valdin said he and his coaching staff would work hard to make Sandolph a more polished player when he arrives on LSU’s campus.
The coach said Hahnville will give him authority to make calls on defense and also will put him in different roles to allow him to better showcase his vast skill set.
“We’re going to give him more responsibility to line guys up,” Valdin said. “Plus, we’re going to do some things like walking him up into the box just to give our opponents some different looks. He’s a big and physical kid, so we’ll be able to walk him in there … and blitz him at times and do some things that we didn’t do with him last year.”
Sandolph chose LSU well before his recruiting process began to fully blossom.
The defensive back committed to Les Miles after previously having offers from just Louisiana-Lafayette, Pittsburgh and Memphis.
Valdin said the Rivals.com three-star prospect will receive “several more” offers as National Signing Day rolls around.
He added that he’s not sure how much of a difference it will make, because he believes his player is firm to LSU.
Sandolph committed to the Tigers within days after receiving an offer.
“He realizes that the only thing better than an offer from LSU is to be drafted to the NFL and he’s not eligible for that yet, so c’mon, you’re not going to get better than that,” Valdin said. “That’s the ultimate offer you can give to a kid in Louisiana.”
The coach added a message he’d like to send to fans curious about the player - expect success from Sandolph in a big, big way.
Sounds sort of like that other guy from Hahnville defensive back that went to LSU, right?
The comparisons continue.
“They should expect a silent assassin,” Valdin said. “He lets his actions do the talking for him. So I think that’s my message to fans - expect a silent assassin back there for the Tigers.”