There’s a certain Southeastern Conference flair to the Acadiana area’s football recruiting scene in 2015.
More specifically, a distinct SEC’s Western Division motif.
Arguably the toughest side to the nation’s most arduous league has added two of the area’s top prospects with Acadiana High’s Bry’Kiethon Mouton committing to LSU and Catholic High of New Iberia’s Jason Pellerin selecting Ole Miss.
Mouton, a three-year starter at tight end, played a vital role in Acadiana’s run to a third Class 5A state championship last season, catching 20 passes but was probably more recognized for his blocking contributions to the Wrecking Rams’ veer offense.
“He provides a lot of versatility where he can provide some mismatches and be more than a regular blocker,” Rivals.com Mid-South recruiting analyst Jason Howell said. “He can be someone the defense has to worry about making a play down the field.”
Mouton, a three-star prospect, is regarded as the nation’s No. 2 fullback but is expected to move to the fullback/H-back position at LSU where the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder can utilize his blocking and pass receiving skills.
Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said Mouton is the first player he can recall in his 34 years at the Scott-based school to start since his freshman year.
“Extremely good blocker. Great, smooth hands,” Davidson said. “I think LSU wants to use him as an H-back/tight end. He fits into that mold pretty good.”
Pellerin quarterbacked Catholic-NI to within a game of the school’s first state championship game since 1962, leading the Panthers to the Division III state semifinals, where they dropped a 34-33 heartbreaker to Calvary Baptist.
The year before, Pellerin, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, was the team’s starting wide receiver behind all-state quarterback Joe Lissard but evolved during his junior season into a productive dual-threat quarterback who accounted for over 2,500 yards and 43 touchdowns.
“I think there were a lot of high expectations early in the year,” Catholic-NI coach Brent Indest said. “The bottom line, even though he played quarterback all of his life, that was his first year as a starter.”
Pellerin, a three-sport standout, earned Class 2A All-State honorable mention honors, passing for 1,917 yards with 22 touchdowns and rushing for an additional 786 yards and 21 TDs. He also started on the Panthers playoff-bound basketball team and played in the outfield on the team’s Class 2A state runners-up baseball squad.
“I remember the first time I saw him, you knew he had potential because he was a big athlete,” Howell said. “(He) had played receiver as a sophomore before making the move to quarterback. He was still a work in progress, but you could see the potential with the right coaching. He’s continued to improve and develop, and Ole Miss was able to come in and grab a solid quarterback prospect.”
Tulane moved into the area and grabbed commitments from Acadiana defensive back Malik Eugene — brother of Southeastern Louisiana’s Micah Eugene — and defensive back Doug Henry of New Iberia’s Westgate High, while Loreauville’s three-star wide receiver Rhashid Bonnette has committed to Louisiana Tech.
While Northside’s duo of Ethan Rose and offensive lineman O’Shea Dugas are two names to keep an eye on, one the area’s more intriguing uncommitted prospects is Kaplan defensive end Jalen Bates.
Bates, the nation’s No. 35 defensive end, is a 6-2, 235-pound edge rusher for the Pirates and has narrowed his list of finalists to UL-Lafayette, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Michigan and Arizona State.
“I’ve seen schools work him at outside linebacker, but I’m not sure if that’s his strength,” Howell said. “He has speed and a motor. At the Mississippi State and Texas Tech camps, he was a guy at the front of the line and taking every single rep.
“The guy wants to work and get better,” Howell said. “He has a huge frame and a lot to work with. As he fits into a college program, he could be a guy that develops into a really nice player for someone.”