1) JOHN CURTIS CHRISTIAN (14-0, Class 2A state champion) -- The Patriots are on a mission to defend both state and national championships. Examining the defense first, things look great in the secondary, despite the loss of Brandon Porter (San Diego State) and Richard Allen (Tulane). Three-star CB Terrence Alexander, who was invited to The Opening, will be flanked by fellow senior Mattrell McGraw, a three-star safety who can line up anywhere on the field, and 2014 CB Prine Lewis, an underrated sleeper who looked good during spring drills. 2015 safety Hunter Dale has offers from the likes of Mississippi State and Arizona State. Four-star LB Kenny Young should get a ton of tackles now that Duke Riley (LSU) and Eric Thomas (Tulane) are gone.
At 6-2, 220 pounds, 2015 QB Abby Touzet is akin to having an extra FB in the backfield. He benches 405 lbs. Four-star WR Malachi Dupre will stretch the field, along with Henry Smith, another senor wide-out with nice size (6-2 to 6-3). TE Hunter Thibodeaux is expected to emerge as a viable consistent threat catching the football.
The Patriots' veer will continue to churn out large chunks of yardage behind a group of fresh legs; Curtis likes to rely on a RB by committee approach. 2014 backs George Moreira (three offers) and Raekwon James (Northern Colorado offer) will lead the way, followed by 2015 stablemates Myles Washington and Dontae Jones. 2016 OL Willie Allen is 6-7.
Curtis knocked off Evangel in the finals for the second straight season.
2) KARR (14-0, 4A state champion) -- The Cougars have reached the 4A state finals three years in a row. Karr lost the first two appearances - to Franklinton and Neville, respectively - but exacted revenge on Neville last December to capture the crown. Last year's head coach, Jabbar Juluke, is now at Louisiana Tech, and the Cougars graduated several key starters. However, there's a great deal of talent and experience returning, starting with five-star DE Gerald Willis and four-star WR Devante Noil.
Until this point, Noil has taken the vast bulk of his snaps at quarterback, although new head coach Nathanial Jones hopes to move "Speedy" to receiver for his senior season. If that's going to happen, Kerry Taylor will have to step up and run the offense effectively and with confidence. In last week's spring game, Noil ran the offense with Taylor out sick. Three-star TE Anthony Jones gives Taylor and/or Noil a big target.
The defense is dotted with big-time standouts such as LSU LB commit Donnie Alexander and three-star LB Jaevon Walton . 2014 safety Bryan Anderson (Grambling State offer) is set to have a break-out season. Anderson has keen instincts. Karr finished the 2012 season with a national ranking in Scott Kennedy's Top 50. The Cougars square off with John Curtis in non-district competition.
3) ST. AUGUSTINE (9-4, reached 4A quarters) -- There's a large contingent - without ties to the Purple Knights - who believe St. Aug has the best team in Louisiana this year, and there's solid evidence to back the claim. For starters, the Purple Knights boast the nation's top player in Leonard Fournette, a big back with speed. Three-star offensive lineman Joseph Paul, a Florida pledge, will be charged with the task of opening holes for Fournette and other skill players, such as QB Toi Jenkins. Paul is joined up front by Peyton Winbush, a 6-3, 275-pound senior.
The d-line is anchored by tackles Marseth Andry and Courtney Garnett, the latter one of two Texas commits on the unit. CB Jermaine Roberts, a three-star prospect, is the other future Longhorn. 6-3, 240-pound defensive end Peter Woullard (Tulane commit), safety Blaise Brown (multiple offers, two-sport star) and LB Daniel Craig are pivotal and experienced players for head coach Cyril Crutchfield.
Back to the offense for a final glance at a robust receiving corps that includes 2015 WR Stanley Morgan (Tulane offer), 2015 athlete Lanard Fournette and 2014 WR Marlon Watts (6-3, 175).
The Purple Knights were eliminated by Karr in last year's playoffs.
4) ARCHBISHOP RUMMEL (14-0, 5A state champs) -- The first thing that catches the eye about the 2013 Raiders? Their salty secondary, headed up by seniors Henre' Toliver (CB) and Dwayne Eugene (S), and sophomore Kristian Fulton (CB). Toliver is one of the hottest names in the region. At 6-1, he's long; Toliver eagerly awaits the toughest assignments, as shown in last year's playoff game vs. Ouachita and four-star WR Cameron Sims.
Rummel and head coach Jay Roth ripped through the schedule without a blemish en route to last year's 5A state title, the first in school history. In the finals, Rummel put the brakes on a Barbe offense that had reduced most defenses to mincemeat.
Roth has an intriguing situation in his offensive backfield, with QB Damian Williams (Mississippi State) and TE/FB Cethan Carter (Nebraska) gone, All-American RB Devin Hutton entering the ninth grade and 2014 RB Keith Fulton returning. Hutton is listed at 6-2, 225 pounds, while Fulton's size last year was indicated as 5-10, 156 lbs.
WR Steven Dunbar will keep defenses honest. He has multiple offers, with the most recent coming from Air Force.
5) PARKWAY (11-2, reached 5A quarters) -- The Panthers go into the summer break with as much momentum as anyone after head coach David Feaster's crew crushed Alexandria by over 100 points in a scrimmage. Feaster is known for his propensity to find holes in the armor of any defensive scheme, and he has an elite weapon running the offense in quarterback Brandon Harris.
At receiver, the Panthers feature Louisiana Tech commit Brodrick Jefferson (5-9, 165). Sophomore Kameron Eloph (6-3, 270) is an offensive lineman at the moment, but could switch to defense on the next level. 2016 athlete C.J. Morgan is another versatile standout. Morgan is in the secondary for now, although he can shine at receiver as well. Senior lineman Matt Harper bench presses 600 pounds, according to Eloph.
Parkway must go on the road for all 2013 playoff games as a result of an incident that occurred in last year's playoffs.