Derrick Raymond has not played a down of varsity football in three years, but the East Jefferson defensive back has accepted a scholarship offer from LSU.
After attending Lee High as a freshman, Raymond transferred to Port Allen and later to East Jefferson, where he became a prospect in football after showing his great speed in track and field. The state champion in Class 4A’s 100 meters and 200, he will make his debut for the football team this fall after sitting out the 2010 season because of LHSAA transfer rules.
Say hello to the embodiment of the state’s 2012 recruiting class. Fast. Under the radar. LSU-bound.
At this time a year ago, most casual LSU fans could rattle off names like Jarvis Landry, Kenny Hilliard and La’el Collins as easily as they could Kelvin Sheppard or Patrick Peterson. Louisiana produced one of its best classes last year, and big-name talent at the top of the heap made it extra special.
“The only comparable guy this year would be Landon Collins in that elite category,” TigerSportsDigest recruiting analyst Shea Dixon said, referring to Dutchtown’s five-star safety.
But if you think the class lacks quality, consider LSU’s latest recruiting efforts.
A whopping 13 of its 14 commitments hail from Louisiana, and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson would surely like to add a few more (Collins, for starters) before it’s over.
LSU has pledges from some of the players in those rankings, but it has targeted just as many prospects who’ve yet to break onto the national scene or even make an all-state team.
Breaux Bridge wide receiver Kavahra Holmes picked up an offer after running the 400 in a nation’s-best 46.3 seconds at the 4A state track meet, then wowing coaches during two days at an LSU summer camp a few weeks later.
Jerquinick Sandolph got his offer after Wilson noticed him at one of Hahnville’s spring practices and requested film of the speedy, largely unheralded defensive back.
“They’ve done a really good job of putting their resources to use and finding guys off the beaten path,” said Bayou Bengals Insider publisher Derek Ponamsky.
Think back two years.
LSU missed out on the state’s top prospect when Thibodaux athlete Trovon Reed signed with Auburn. But it hit a home run with St. Augustine cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who became a BCS prospect only while making the rounds at summer camps before his senior year.
Even after catching the attention of LSU and other big-name schools, Mathieu joined the Tigers last season without the buzz of many prospects.
Could another player or two like him emerge from this year’s class?
Clearly, LSU believes so.