Tigers On The Prowl
Amp Hill headed to the Bayou
Amp Hill headed to the Bayou

Posted Jan 24, 2003


LSU and Nick Saban are once again having a banner recruiting season. Right now, the Bayou Bengals are ranked #2 in the country in TheInsiders.com recruiting rankings.

When it comes to college football recruiting, LSU is a team that should always recruit well. All the Tigers have to do is defend their home turf because Louisiana is one of the most underrated states when it comes to recruiting. In-state, they have to battle Tulane. Out of state, they have to battle everyone because practically every major college football power recruits the Bayou State.

And when LSU controls the state’s top kids, they will always be a force. Such is the case this season for Nick Saban his LSU Tigers. Currently, they are ranked #2 in TheInsiders.com National Team Rankings. They have a super blend of in and out of state prospects headed to Baton Rouge. Lets take a look.

LSU is arguably bringing in the nation’s best set of quarterbacks. Matthew Flynn and Robert Lane have already committed and they are two of the nation’s finest. Lane, ranked #5 in the country, is from Monroe (La.) Neville High School. He has all the tools to be an outstanding college signal caller – size, arm strength, leadership, athletic ability and intelligence. But will he ever suit up at LSU? Lane is projected to be a high pick in June’s Major League Baseball Draft. Lane continues to say he will play football this fall but there will be an awful lot of money to turn down this summer. Stay tuned. Flynn, from Tyler (Texas) Lee High School, is ranked #16 among the quarterbacks in the country.

The Tigers are still hot on the prowl for JaMarcus Russell, the nation’s third ranked quarterback. Russell, from Mobile (Ala.) Williamson High School, will announce on Signing Day between Florida State and LSU. He visits the Seminoles this weekend and the Tigers on the final visit weekend. Sources say he is headed to LSU, despite Lane and Flynn already committed to Coach Saban. FSU does not have a quarterback commit to date. This one is going to be a battle.

Louisiana’s top running back prospect is Alley Broussard and he committed to LSU back in April. Broussard, 6-1 and 226 pounds, is a bruiser from Lafayette (La.) Acadiana High School. Also committed is Barrington Edwards, another big back and he is from Bowie (Md.). Edwards, 6-0 and 211 pounds, is ranked #5 in the country and Brossard is # 12. Daniel Francis is an in-state running back committed as well and LSU went to the Lone State State and got a very good fullback in Shawn Jordan.

On the wide receiver front, LSU pulled one of the top prospects from Florida in Anthony Hill. Hill, from Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast High School, is good enough to possibly see extensive action as a true freshman. He committed to LSU last week over FSU, Tennessee and Florida. That’s a great get for Saban and company. Looking ahead, LSU is a finalist for Mark Bradford from California and the explosive Andre Caldwell visits this weekend. The Tigers are the likely team to beat for Craig Davis, a super wideout from New Orleans and Emmanual Harrell from Georgia. They are also in the mix for Dwayne Bowe from Miami but it is expected that he will stay home and sign with the Hurricanes. On the tight end front, Keith Alleger from Leesville, La., has already committed and he is one of the South’s top prospects at that position.

Jerry Sevin is one of the nation’s strongest prospects and this offensive lineman from River Ridge (La.) John Curtis is headed to Baton Rouge. Sevin comes highly regarded and could play guard or center at LSU. Joining him on the O-line is Will Arnold from Centreville, Miss.

The defensive line is the one big position to keep a close eye on leading up to Signing Day, as four All-American type defensive ends and tackles will all make their decisions in the next week or so. All of the prospects are from Louisiana and yes, LSU has a great shot at each one. Defensive tackle teammates Carnell Stewart and Ryan Watson, from John Curtis High School, are both high on LSU, while defensive end teammates from Reserve East St. John’s High School, Kirston Pittman and Vegas Franklin, love LSU too. It will be a battle for each one of these prospects, as LSU is fighting all the Florida schools, Tennessee, Colorado and others to get their signatures. A third in-state defensive end to watch for with LSU is Dominic Cooper from New Orleans. Other names to keep a close eye on with LSU are Tim Washington from Texas and Johnny Dingle from Florida.

Now LSU already has two standout defensive tackle commits in Jarrod Carter, from River Ridge and Sean Merrill, from D’Iberville, Miss. They beat Florida earlier this summer for Carter and they just beat out Ole Miss in a bitter border war for Merrill.

At the linebacker position, LSU should get some immediate help next season from Junior College standouts Ben Henderson and Kenny Hollis. At the high school level, they are still hot after Ali Highsmith from Miami (Fla.) Central and Brannon Jackson, from Lake Charles (La.) Washington-Marion.

The secondary is looking strong with this Tiger recruiting class. Already committed to LSU is safety standout Jesse Daniel and cover corners Nick Child and Jonathan Zenon. They are all big-time prospects from Louisiana. LSU would love to sign one more safety and three potential possibilities are Reggie Nelson, Daryl Johnson and LaRon Landry. Nelson, from Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay High School, will likely stay in-state while LSU has to fend off Miami and Florida for Landry. Landry is a key recruit from Hahnville (La.) Boutte. Johnson is a standout from New Orleans that could end up leaving the state.

Visiting LSU this weekend is Mississippi’s top rated prospect, super DB Quinton Culberson from Jackson Provine. Culberson says he is open between LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida and Southern Miss. Cornerback Chad Green, from Van Huys, Calif. is visiting as well this weekend.

Even the LSU special teams is getting a big boost with the commitments from punter Patrick Fisher and place kicker Chris Jackson. The bottom line is this – Nick Saban is once again putting together a stellar recruiting class. It is a great blend of Louisiana players and big-time out of state prospects. The strategy is not where you fall in the rankings but getting speed, need and balance. And across the board, LSU has succeeded on all three benchmarks.


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