The 2011 recruiting class in Louisiana was one for the ages, a recruiting pool with the kind of deep end that comes around about only once a decade.
A quick check of the calendar confirms that for the 2012 class not that much time has passed - and as expected, the depth of talent isn’t that deep.
That isn’t to say there aren’t some excellent players in-state this year, but they simply aren’t as plentiful.
You can see it in the national rankings.
The Class of 2011 had six players ranked in the ESPNU 150: Anthony Johnson, La’El Collins, Jarvis Landry, Bradley Sylve, Kenny Hilliard and Mickey Johnson. All but Sylve, who went to Alabama, signed with LSU.
This year, there are just four on the ESPN list at this point: Torshiro Davis and Ronnie Feist (both LSU commitments), Landon Collins and Lorenzo Phillips (Florida).
That being said, it still is relatively early in the recruiting ranking process. ESPN lead recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said the top prospects in Louisiana - and by way of that many players who will eventually sign with LSU - have a chance to improve their stock during their upcoming senior seasons.
“I would agree that the 2012 class in the state is a bit top heavy,” Luginbill said. “Two of the top three graded guys in the state (Davis, Feist) are committed to LSU. (Many of) the guys committed to LSU in what we would call our high end of the three-star spectrum (grades 78 and 79) are all guys that we feel have upside to develop into four-star players once at the next level.”
The top prospect in Louisiana for 2012 is Collins, a 6-foot, 210-pound safety from Dutchtown. Collins is ranked No. 17 on the Rivals 250, No. 19 on the ESPNU 150 and No. 23 on the Scout 300.
Offered by all the major schools - including Florida, Tennessee and Miami - the battle for Collins’ services appears likely to come down to LSU and Alabama. He attended camps at both schools this summer.
Collins’ stock soared after his play in another camp in Oregon called The Opening. Collins was named 7-on-7 and overall MVP at that event.
An invitee to the Under Armour All-America Game in January, Collins has said he will make his decision then.
Louisiana’s top players are continuing the trend in recent years of making their commitments before taking the first snap of their senior seasons in high school. Twenty-eight of the players on The Advocate’s list of the top 40 in-state prospects for 2012 have already made their commitments public.
Some national programs are making inroads into Louisiana this year. Texas A&M, for example, has commitments from three of the state’s top 40 prospects: nationally ranked East St. John athlete Darion Monroe (5-11, 165), Brother Martin defensive end Julian Obioha (6-4, 245) and Abbeville defensive end Alonzo Williams (6-3, 240).
For the most part, though, LSU remains dominant. The Tigers have 18 commitments in all, 14 from Louisiana, all among the state’s top 40 prospects. It’s a list that includes Davis, a defensive end from Woodlawn of Shreveport, ranked No. 71 on the ESPNU 150; Feist, a West St. John linebacker ranked No. 129 on ESPNU’s list; and Crowley athlete prospect Davante Bourque, No. 163 on the Rivals 250.
After Collins, the state’s top uncommitted player is Bastrop defensive end Denzell Devall (6-3, 235). Ranked No. 125 on the Rivals 250 and No. 226 on the Scout 300, Devall is considering a star-studded list of schools that includes LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and TCU.