The Baton Rouge area is neither a stranger to producing next-level running back talent or helping the hometown LSU Tigers fill their own recruiting needs.
It just so happens in this year’s football recruiting cycle two of the nation’s top running backs — Catholic High’s Derrius Guice and Nicholas Brossette of University High — happen to attend school 4½ miles apart from another.
Moreover, Guice and Brossette are two of the headliners on an LSU commitment list with a distinct local/area flavor that includes four pledges.
The Tigers’ version of the Home Shopping Network boasts safety Kevin Henry from Central and wide receiver Jazz Ferguson of West Feliciana.
“Baton Rouge always seems to have a couple of guys that are getting (national) attention in the same group,” Rivals.com Mid-South recruiting analyst Jason Howell said.
“Last year it was in New Orleans with (John Ehret’s) Darrel Williams and (St. Augustine’s) Leonard Fournette. It speaks volumes but it’s not like Baton Rouge is new the running game.”
Guice, who committed to LSU on May 31, catapulted himself on the strength of a strong showing at the Tigers final summer camp to the nation’s No. 3 overall running back and state’s second best prospect behind Warren Easton wide receiver Tyron Johnson.
Guice is a consensus four-star prospect, Rivals100 and ESPN 300 member.
“He doesn’t get out and travel as much as some other guys, and he’s a little further under the radar than some other bigger names, but he’s certainly talented,” Howell said. “He almost runs angry and with an aggressive pace is way to describe him.”
Brossette, who has earned back-to-back all-state berths in Class 2A and 3A, stands in line to break the state’s career rushing mark of 8,603 yards held by current LSU running back Kenny Hilliard of Patterson.
Brossette has been nothing short of spectacular since breaking into U-High’s lineup as an eighth-grader, but the four-star prospect watched his national profile dip somewhat to the No. 24 running back. He’s an ESPN 300 and Rivals250 member.
While he was among the early prospects to get into LSU’s current recruiting class, Brossette has indicated he will take official visits after this season, with Texas getting one of those visits. He’s also shown interest in Florida State.
“Those are two of the top backs in the country, and there’s a reason why,” Howell said of Guice and Brossette.
Ferguson, a rangy 6-4 target, enhanced his status after LSU’s camp with a strong showing, moving to No. 32 nationally among the top wideouts.
Henry, who like Ferguson is a three-star prospect, is rated the No. 31 safety.
“Any time you can stay close to home and find guys that can help your program, that’s a plus,” Howell said. “They grow up more so than anywhere else in the state wanting to go to LSU, and it’s tough for another school to come in and get a kid that LSU wants.
Henry’s teammate, wide receiver, Terrell Chatman (No. 77) is headed to Miami, along with Houston Robert (Rice) and Silliman Institute’s Jozie Milton (South Carolina), while a handful of local/area players are planning on remaining in state: McKinley’s Keeyon Smart (Tulane), McKinley’s Kirk Louis (Arkansas State), Port Allen’s Marcus Keys (UL-Lafayette) and Ascension Catholic’s Delmond Landry (UL-Lafayette).