Tiger Rag’s 2013 Dirty Dozen
Listing the Top 12 prospects in Louisiana (plus our Second Dozen)
By RICHARD FISCHER
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Death, taxes and Tiger Rag’s Dirty Dozen.
Since the beginning of Tiger Rag Magazine, we’ve been proud to annually bring you our list of the 12 best prospects in the state of Louisiana for each recruiting class.
2013 is no different.
So without further ado, here’s Tiger Rag’s 35th annual Dirty Dozen. Below you’ll find our Second Dozen, profiling the next 12 prospects in the Pelican State in the 2013 class.
Editor’s note: The lists are in alphabetical order and are not meant to indicate rankings among the prospects. Capsules were written by Hunt Palmer.
Kendell Beckwith 6′3″ 228, OLB, East Feliciana HS, Jackson, LA - Playing quarterback and linebacker, Beckwith led East Feliciana to the state semifinals in 2012. At 6-foot-3, 228 lbs, he has a great frame and excellent athleticism. The Under-Armour All-American projects as an outside linebacker, but he’s got the ability to put his hand on the ground and get after the passer if called upon. That’s a skill that is difficult to find, and the Jackson native makes it look easy at times. Beckwith is an outstanding prospect who should make an early impact at the next level. LSU earned his commitment, edging out Alabama. Because of his versatility, athleticism and size, Beckwith is the top player in the Pelican State this year.
Josh Boutte 6′5″ 305, OG, Westgate HS, New Iberia, LA- Not to be confused with the former LSU signal caller, Boutte (Boo-tay) committed to the Tigers in February of 2012. The Westgate product fits the mold of a Les Miles offensive lineman with the ability to maul interior defensive linemen with power and leverage. Boutte was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game where he shined for a week in practice. Rivals.com ranks Boutte as the seventh best guard in America and a four-star prospect. We think he’s as good a player as there was in Louisiana this season. Boutte planned on enrolling early at LSU, but was unable to make that happen. He’ll arrive this summer and should add depth to a stable of talent in Baton Rouge where he figured to be a key cog in the Tiger offense in the coming years.
Jeryl Brazil 5′10″ 181, ATH, Loranger HS, Loranger, LA- Perhaps the fastest player in America, Brazil will have options at LSU. The early enrollee was recruited as a cornerback, but the LSU staff has not ruled out putting Brazil and his remarkable playmaking ability on the offensive side of the ball. The 5-foot-10 speedster played quarterback at Loranger where he dazzled opposing defenses on a weekly basis. On the camp circuit, Brazil caught the eyes of scouts on both sides of the ball, but it was at cornerback where he showed his skills in the Under Armour All-American game. Brazil has enrolled early and will practice with the Tigers this spring. Whether it’s in the offensive backfield or at corner, Brazil will be a playmaker early in his career.
DeSean Smith 6′4″ 222, TE, Barbe HS, Lake Charles, LA- We’ve entered an age of pass-catching tight ends, and Smith fits the mold. At 6-foot-4 and 222 lbs, Smith has an athletic build and sticky hands. In a pass-happy offense at Barbe, Smith teamed with Jr. wide receiver (and 2014 Dirty Dozen candidate) Trey Quinn to lead the Barbe Buccaneers to the State finals where Smith made a sensational catch in the back of the end zone for a score. Smith still has work to do in the blocking game, but he’ll arrive on campus in the summer ready to help in the passing game immediately. It’s not unreasonable to expect Smith to spend time split out in the slot this season to give LSU some size in the passing game.
Tre’Davious White 5′11″ 175, CB, Green Oaks HS, Shreveport, LA- When White pledged his commitment to LSU 12 months ago, it was a blip on the radar. Now, White has emerged as a jewel in the 2013 class. Drawing many a comparison to fellow Shreveporter and athlete Morris Claiborne, White has become one of the top cornerbacks and returnmen in the country. With good size, fluid hips and good speed, White has taken to the defensive backfield exceptionally well. After starring in the U.S. Army All-American Game, White earned his fifth star from Rivals. He matched up favorably with the best high school wide outs in America down in San Antonio, and he’ll push for early playing time in Baton Rouge next fall. Les Miles hasn’t shied away from throwing freshman defensive backs in the game. Expect White in there when LSU travels to Arlington.
John Diarse 6′0″ 202, ATH, Neville HS, Monroe, LA- One of the fiercest competitors in the state, Diarse helped lead Neville to its third-straight state championship game where Edna Karr derailed the Tigers’ shot at a three-peat. Diarse quarterbacked Neville, but his days under center are done. It’s expected that Diarse, an early enrollee, will begin his college career at wide receiver, but he’s capable of playing safety. Diarse doesn’t possess blazing speed, but he’s very strong and catches the ball well. Diarse worked with LSU commitment and quarterback Hayden Rettig at the U.S. Army All-American Game, and those two appear to have developed an early chemistry. The good news for Diarse is, the extra spring and summer in Baton rouge will help him nail down a position.
Michael Patterson 6′3″ 230, DE, Winnfield HS, Winnfield, LA- One of the most intriguing prospects in the Class of 2013, Patterson committed to LSU in March of 2012. Though he’s a tad undersized for an end, Patterson possesses freakish athletic skills that allow him to rush the passer. There aren’t too many defensive ends who split out and play wide receiver. There are fewer who look natural doing it. Patterson did just that as a junior where he routinely caught screen passes and made big plays. He’ll have to learn to play against longer, taller tackles in the SEC, but Patterson has the tools to be a real sleeper in this class. It may not be in 2013, but Patterson could blossom into a great pass rusher.
Rickey Jefferson 6′0″ 180, CB, Destrehan HS, St. Rose, LA- The younger brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan, Rickey Jefferson will attempt to carve out his own legacy at the same school. Jefferson committed to LSU in July of 2012 after a solid showing at the school’s camp. In a loaded defensive back class in Louisiana, Jefferson may have been overlooked because of Tre’Davious White and Jeryl Brazil. DBU has room for all three. Jefferson is a smooth athlete who glides to the ball naturally from his days as a wide receiver. After missing most of his junior season with a torn ACL, Jefferson responded with a big senior year which was nice to see. After watching big brother for four years in Baton Rouge, now it’s his turn.
Kevin Spears 6′3″ 190, WR, Holy Cross HS, New Orleans, LA- In one of the more unique recruiting tales of the season, Spears exploded onto the scene in 2012, scoring 17 touchdowns. Lots of high school wide outs haul in 17 touchdown passes, but few do that in their first year playing the sport. Spears, a former basketball standout, took to the gridiron this year and caught on pretty quick. While route running is still an issue, Spears has excellent size, speed and jumping ability. He’s also got great hands. Louisiana Tech made the first push and earned Spears’ pledge, but LSU entered the fold recently and added Spears to its class. In a receiving corps needing for size, Spears could make an early impact with some coaching up.
Melvin Jones 6′3″ 246, MLB, Washington Marion HS, Lake Charles, LA- Jones is a special athlete for a player his size. At nearly 250 lbs., Jones can still run and shed blocks on the move. At the moment, Jones projects as a middle linebacker, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Jones to move down to the defensive line if he adds weight. Schools like Alabama, Arkansas Tennessee and Nebraska offered Jones a scholarship, but the home state school, LSU, landed his commitment. Like fellow Louisianaians Kendell Beckwith, Jeryl Brazil and Tre’Davious White, Jones’ versatility makes him an exciting prospect. That much athleticism doesn’t generally come in a package this large. Jones will be interesting to watch during fall camp. His diet may dictate where he ends up.
K.J. Malone 6′4″ 300, OG, Cedar Creek HS, Ruston, LA- The most recognizable name in the state this year was obviously Karl Malone Jr. The son of the NBA Hall of Famer will carve his own path on the football field. K.J. Malone dominated the small competition at Cedar Creek High School, but it was his showings in camps around the region that earned him the recognition and eventually a scholarship offer from LSU. Malone’s strength should come as no surprise as his father sported one of the more chiseled bodies in the NBA for two decades. The exciting thing about Malone is that he still has a good bit of maturing to do. Much of his high school success was predicated on raw strength and aggression. With some time in a collegiate weight room, Malone has the potential to become a dominating guard.
Duke Riley 6′1″ 215, OLB/S, John Curtis Christian School, River Ridge, LA- Riley spearheaded one of the best high school football teams in the country this year, leading the John Curtis Patriots to the 2A State Championship and a perfect season. Riley has above average speed and keen instincts at the linebacker spot, and he’s garnered a great deal of attention from schools like TCU, Ole Miss and LSU. For the third consecutive season, Riley led the Patriots in tackles. He closed his career being named the Defensive Player of the Year in the New Orleans All-Area team. He’s a natural leader and a solid football player. He’ll make a definite impact at the next level before his time is done. He rounds out our look at the best dozen football players in the state of Louisiana.
Tiger Rag’s Second Dozen
Kaleb Blanchard 6′0″ 200, RB, Denham Springs HS, Denham Springs, LA- Though he battled injuries for much of his high school career, Blanchard is still as good a running back prospect as there was in this senior class. He’s a versatile back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and get tough yards between the tackles. The previous staff at Arkansas really liked Blanchard, but the turnover following the season changed his plans. Rated a four star prospect by Rivals, Blanchard will land on his feet where he can begin a what he hopes will be an injury-free career.
Cethan Carter 6′4″ 230, TE, Rummel HS, Metairie, LA- Teammates with fellow Second Dozen member Damian Williams, Carter has a nice frame and soft hands for a tight end. He’s not a speed threat, but Carter has a knack for getting open and moving the chains or punching it in the endzone like he did in the state championship game. He can also get behind his pads and block. Shortly after his visit to Lincoln, NE., in January, Carter pledged his commitment to Bo Pelini and the Cornerhuskers.
Shelby Christy 6′4″ 200, WR, Dutchtown HS, Geismer, LA- Christy becomes the next in a line of Dutchtown players to play in the SEC, joining Eric Reid (LSU), Eddie Lacy (Ala.) and Landon Collins (Ala.). The long, rangy wide out will head to Mississippi State to play his college ball. As the Bulldogs lose four senior wide receivers, Christy could compete for early playing time because of his smooth route running, long arms and above average leaping ability. The ceiling for Christy is way up there.
Darian Claiborne 6′1″ 225, OLB, Port Allen HS, Port Allen, LA- Claiborne starred at Port Allen where he played quarterback and linebacker, much like our No. 1 player Kendell Beckwith. Like Beckwith, Claiborne is slated to join an SEC roster in the fall as Texas A&M earned his pledge back in July. Claiborne is an athletic outside linebacker who can play sideline to sideline and run with backs and tight ends. If he can add a few lbs. without losing a step, Claiborne should be a factor in College Station.
Jeremy Cutrer 6′3″ 175, S, Jewel Sumner HS, Kentwood, LA- Cutrer is a fine prospect with elite size and good speed. He’s one of those guys who looks the part. Rivals rated Cutrer a four-star prospect. An early commitment to LSU, Cutrer will likely take the junior college route where LSU will continue to pursue him. If the academics work out, Cutrer will be a high-caliber safety at the collegiate level.
Standish Dobard 6′5″ 235, TE, Edna Karr HS, New Orleans, LA- Another intriguing tight end prospect in a loaded class in Louisiana, Dobard helped Edna Karr finally climb the mountain and claim a state title after coming up short the previous two seasons. Unlike a couple of the other players at his position, Dobard is a legitimate 6-foot-5 and can really move. He has no problem splitting out in the slot and working on a linebacker or safety. Dobard will head to South Beach to embark on his college career where he should be an impact player sooner rather than later.
Noel Ellis 5′10 170, CB, Edna Karr HS, New Orleans, LA- Another future Aggie rounds out our second dozen. Ellis, another member of a special senior class at Edna Karr, is a tough football player. He’s not a speed burner, but Ellis finds himself in the right spot more often than not, and he makes plays. Ellis performed well at the Under Armour Game in January, and he should be able to make an impact over in Aggieland in the coming seasons.
Tevin Lawson 6′4″ 275, DT, Denham Springs HS, Denham Springs, LA- As a sophomore, Lawson played offensive line exclusively at Denham Springs. When the Yellow Jackets began to struggle against the run during his junior season, Lawson switched side of the line and came into his own playing defensive tackle. Lawson possesses a quick first and strong hands. Look for Lawson to add 10-15 lbs. at the next level where he has the potential to be rock solid.
Kenneth Santa Marina 6′7″ 330, OL, McDonough 35, New Orleans, LA- A mountain of a man, Santa Marina is a strong offensive line prospect who needs a little bit of polish. With a year or so of college coaching, Santa Marina can become a dominant player. Tulane managed to keep the McDonough 35 product at home after schools like Ole Miss and Mississippi State came calling. In a sport where too many offensive linemen is not enough, Santa Marina is a great add for Tulane.
Deondre Skinner 6′3″ 220, TE, Patterson HS, Patterson, LA- One of the top 20 tight ends in the country, Skinner is a versatile athlete with playmaking ability. During his first couple of seasons at Patterson, Skinner played wide receiver before filling out his frame and converting to tight end. He has no problem stretching the field and using his big hands to snatch the ball in traffic. Once an Arkansas commitment, Skinner has now given Houston his commitment. He should flourish in the pass-happy attack.
Damian Williams 6′1″ 215, QB, Rummel HS, Metairie, LA- Williams enters the collegiate ranks fresh off an undefeated senior season where he led the Rummel Raiders to the 5A State Championship. Williams has quick feet and plenty of speed to make a play when everything breaks down. He’s also got a nice throwing motion but can struggle with accuracy from time to time if his feet aren’t set. Williams committed to Mississippi State in January and should fit nicely into Dan Mullen’s spread offense.
Tim Williams 6′4″ 230, DE/OLB, University Lab, Baton Rouge, LA- Williams burst on to the scene with a monster freshman year at Glen Oaks before transferring to UHigh. He’s a super athlete with the ability to get up the field and disrupt things in the backfield. Williams has expressed interest in playing linebacker at the next level, something he didn’t do a ton of in high school. A long recruiting process finally ended in January when Williams chose Alabama. In the Tide’s 3-4 scheme, Williams would project as on outside linebacker.