Tiger Rag’s Dirty Dozen
How we rank the state’s 12 best and brightest on the gridiron
Tight end Nick Jacobs, at left, of Many High School was just barely on the outside looking in at this list. Had it been a baker’s dozen, he’d be the guy. But how do you expect me not to run a picture this great! (Photo by Rennie Clifton of Two Girls Photography)
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Acting Editor
National Signing Day is upon us and that means it’s time to get to know your recruits.
Great players from all over the Pelican State will be signing letters of intent on Wednesday which announce to the world where they’ll spend their next three to five years on campus.
Some of them will pledge allegiance to LSU while others will sign to play for other in-state schools. More still will ink their name for schools outside the friendly confines of Louisiana. A select few will even take up posts at SEC rivals throughout the Southeast.
Whichever way they lean, we’ve got you covered with knowledge, info and quotes from the best of the best.
Here’s the low-down on Tiger Rag’s top 12 high school seniors from Louisiana, our Dirty Dozen.
(6′6″, 266, 5.0)
West Monroe HS
(West Monroe, La.)
Allen is the No. 10-rated strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com, a four-star prospect, and one of Louisiana’s top defensive prospects for the class of 2010. A two-time Class 5A All-State team member, Allen commited to LSU on July 19. The West Monroe product snubbed offers from a flock of big-name programs like Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Tennessee. With his sizeable frame, some question whether Allen may be moved to the offensive side of the ball once on campus. “I’d hate to swap sides and go on offense once I get to LSU,” confessed Allen, ” but if I had to or if I was good at it then I guess I would do it for the love of the game.” One final note from Allen: “And if I were to move on offense, I would be the biggest and baddest offensive lineman out there!”
Blue’s early-December commitment, coupled with Jakhari Gore of Miami, Fla., pledging several days later, really gave the Tigers a shot in the arm at running back. Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Blue runs with a fluid motion and good speed despite the fact that he’s in the category of ‘taller’ backs. He had offers from a bevy of schools, including Arkansas, Colorado, Texas A&M and Tulsa. Ultimately, however, it came down to LSU and Ole Miss. Hahnville coach Lou Valdin said the chance to play in Louisiana was “something he couldn’t pass up.”
Going into Signing Day, Fobbs carries the weight of the state on his shoulders. The Huntington High product, who is a four-star recruit and Louisiana’s No. 9 overall prospect according to Rivals.com, gave a soft verbal to Texas A&M, but may just have a surprise brewing for Tiger fans yet. Fobbs recently visited Baton Rouge on Jan. 22 and has been recruited by LSU coaching newcomer Billy Gonzales. In his senior season, Fobbs racked up 1,354 yards all-purpose yards to go along with 17 trips to the end zone.
St. Augustine HS
(New Orleans, La.)
Mathieu is the No. 13-rated cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com, a four-star prospect, and Louisiana’s top-ranked cornerback coming out in 2010. Despite his size, Mathieu likes to mix it up with the biggest and most physical receivers. Said his coach David Johnson, “When you see him being a 5′10″ guy, you’d think he’s really small until you get up close on him or until you see him on tape. That’s when you realize how physical he is. He’s not just a cover corner, he’s a real physical kid.” Mathieu brings speed and athleticism, too. He recently told Tiger Rag he thinks by summer, his 40-time could get down to 4.41.
Porter has spent a lifetime playing defensive end, where he’s made a name for himself as a two-time All-District player at Archbishop Shaw. But, after a suggestion by offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, Porter’s having to get used the idea of playing on the offensive side of the trenches. “I thought, ‘This is different,’ ” said Porter. “I participated in a few drills and it seemed to go okay. I liked it. [At first] it took a while for me to commit. Then I thought about all of the success defensive players have had moving to the offensive side of the ball and it’s been tremendous. It’s a great chance for me to be a top player at LSU and take it to the next level. It’s a better choice for me.” Porter chose LSU over Florida State and Texas Tech.
Rated the state’s No. 1 player by Rivals.com, Reed looks to bringing a lot of hype with him to Auburn. A soft verbal commitment to the Plainsmen, Reed is the nation’s No. 3-rated athlete and projects as a defensive back (most likely) at the collegiate level. As a junior, the Thibodaux star ran for 10 scores, threw for 10 more and even caught a touchdown pass. Much like Jarrett Fobbs, Reed will be feeling the pressure as Signing Day nears to stay in-state with LSU. If that happens, it will be a huge win for Frank Wilson and the Tigers who currently have lost Reed’s signature to a different set of Tigers and their star recruiter, Trooper Taylor.
Reid comes to LSU as a second generation Tiger athlete. His father, Eric Reid Sr., won the 1987 national championship in the 110-meter hurdles. Senior is also a 2005 inductee into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame. As far as his son goes, the sky is the limit. Reid is ranked by Rivals.com as a four-star safety and the state’s No. 2 overall prospect. Dutchtown coach Benny Saia gushed when talking about his star player: “I think he’s got a chance to really be special. He’s big and strong and can run. He’s very intelligent and a hard worker. He’s the whole package.” Reid committed to LSU in March, choosing the Tigers over North Carolina State, Stanford, Tennessee and Tulane.
At 6′4″, Simon will bring height to the secondary, where he’s projected to land as a safety. He was a terror on that side of the ball as a junior, tallying 75 tackles and five interceptions. Simon brings a ton of excitement to the field and plays with a convincing swagger. The Eunice product committed to LSU in February, spurning heavy advances from Tennessee and also turning down offers from Texas A&M and Tulsa. Brick Haley and D.J. McCarthy are credited with swaying Simon to stay in-state with LSU.
Vinson is the No. 4 overall prospect in the state, according to Rivals.com. He brings an all-around set of skills to Baton Rouge which will make him extremely valuable on special teams as an underclassman. “He can play on all the special teams, and he’s a real threat with the ball in his hands,” said Isidore Newman coach Nelson Stewart. “He’s all about earning his position and his spot on the team, and he’s anxious to get up there and start working with his teammates.” Vinson elected for LSU despite offers from traditional powerhouses Alabama, Michigan and USC. According to Stewart, Vinson will likely start out at cornerback and possibly play a little safety as well. “He’s a lock down guy, and he does a great job in man coverage.”
Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Welter has been on the LSU board for a long time. His high school coach, Lewis Cook, said Welter committed within two weeks of receiving an offer and didn’t even take an official visit. That’s how strong his desire is to be a Bayou Bengal. His next strongest desire: doing what it takes to bring home championships. “If they need me early, then hopefully I’ll be able to step up and play, but if not, then I want whatever is best for the team,” said Welter. “I think I’m a pretty good player, but once I go to LSU, I hope I can take another step and keep improving at every aspect of the game and bring to the table a team player who wants to do whatever it takes to win championships.”
An exchange student from Australia, Wing brings native ability to the gridiron where as a punter, he ranks as the nation’s No. 5 prospect at that position, according to Rivals.com. His skills were so considerable that LSU special teams coach Joe Robinson had to sign him up. Wing even garnered some big-game experience when he kicked in the 3A state title game in the Superdome against Notre Dame (and LSU recruit D.J. Welter). He chose LSU over other in-state schools McNeese State and Northwestern State.
Wright’s commitment Jan. 24 helped this class regain some steam following a string of out-of-state decommitments. He also became the only receiver on the Tigers’ 2010 list, but he was soon joined by Slidell wide-out Armand Williams. Wright had a decorated high school career, posting gaudy numbers like 18 yards a catch and 39 touchdowns receiving during his tenure. His coach says it’s the overall development which should excite LSU fans the most. “He’s really developed into a complete player,” Belle Chasse coach Bob Becnel explained. “He loves to compete, is very physical, has great hands, is an extremely good route runner, knows how to work his body and loves to block.” Wright chose LSU over Colorado, Nebraska, Stanford and Tennessee, among others.
Tiger Rag would like to thank the following for help in obtaining these pictures: West Monroe High School, for the picture of Jordan Allen; Douglas Collier, for the picture of Jarrett Fobbs; Lee Brecheen, for the pictures of Eric Reid and Brad Wing; Eunice High School and Coach Paul Trosclair, for the picture of Tharold Simon; Donald Stout of The Times-Picayune, for the picture of Ronnie Vinson; Notre Dame High School and Coach Lewis Cook, for the picture of D.J. Welter; and Belle Chasse High School and Coach Bob Becnel, for the picture of James Wright.