With Feb. 4 — National Signing Day — rapidly approaching, the Tulane football team is looking to put the finishing touches on a small, south Louisiana-heavy recruiting class.
The Green Wave, which has 15 commitments, entertained four prospects this weekend, the first of three final weekends for official visits after an NCAA-mandated dead period that lasted from Dec. 15 to Jan. 14.
The list of visitors:
-- Jesuit tight end Foster Moreau, a two-star prospect according to Rivals.com who has said he wants to commit to LSU.
-- Humble (Texas) wide receiver Furquan Shorts, a three-star recruit who already has committed to Texas Tech. Tulane has a huge need at the position and likely is using its shallow depth chart in an attempt to sway Shorts.
-- West Monroe defensive tackle John Washington, a two-star recruit with offers from Louisiana Tech and Tulane. Tulane already has two commitments on the interior line.
-- Bentonville (Arkansas) kicker/punter Bennett Moehring, who has an offer from Navy and has been invited as a preferred walk-on to Missouri and California. Tulane punter Peter Picerelli will be a senior next fall, and kicker Andrew DiRocco connected on only 8 of 15 field goals. Moehring was 13-of-17 on field goals and converted all 51 of his extra points as a junior for Bentonville’s Class 7A state championship team.
With 65 players on scholarship entering spring practice, Tulane potentially has room for five more commitments (the NCAA allows 85 scholarships), but a source told The Advocate the Wave likely will add only three in the class.
The 15 already in the fold are East St. John running back Nigel Anderson, Belle Chasse defensive back Darius Black, Acadiana athlete Malik Eugene, Warren Easton defensive back Jeremie Francis, Warren Easton running back Devin Glenn, New Iberia Westgate defensive back Doug Henry, Belle Chasse wide receiver Andrew Hicks, Iowa defensive back Chaz Key, Port Charlotte (Fla.) offensive lineman Keyshawn Mcleod, Ehret defensive back Taris Shenall, Warren Easton wide receiver Dedrick Shy, McKinley offensive lineman Keeyon Smart, Brother Martin defensive back Roderic Teamer, Miller-McCoy defensive tackle Brian Webb and West Jefferson defensive tackle Louis Wings.
All but one of them are from southern Louisiana, with Tulane’s overwhelming recruiting focus under coach Curtis Johnson becoming an even bigger emphasis. Last year, 17 of the Green Wave’s 24 signees were from south Louisiana.
The class is loaded with six defensive backs — plus Eugene, who was recruited by most schools to play defense.
With Tulane’s severe shortage at wide receiver, some of those DB commitments may end up on offense. Johnson went the other way earlier in his tenure, converting recruited receiver Lorenzo Doss into an All-Conference USA cornerback as part of a defense-first emphasis, but he will not have that luxury next fall.
Tulane has only four returning scholarship wide receivers: junior Devon Breaux and rising sophomores Teddy Veal, Terren Encalade and Leondre James. Even with the commitment of Hicks and Shy, the Wave would be awfully thin with six receivers for 2015. Similar depth problems forced all three freshman receivers to play key roles last fall, when Tulane finished 85th nationally in passing. Its wide receivers had 133 receptions, about 11 per game.
Tulane has 11 returning scholarship defensive backs.
The other area where the Wave may seek a late commitment is defensive end, where it has been shut out to this point.
Returning senior Royce LaFrance is one of only six ends on the roster, with underclassmen Daren Williams, Quinlan Carroll, Peter Woullard, Ade Aruna and converted linebacker Robert Kennedy rounding out the group.
No early enrollments
For the first time in Johnson’s tenure, none of Tulane’s commitments enrolled for the spring semester, which started Monday, sources confirmed to The Advocate.
Last year, Veal and fellow offensive lineman Junior Diaz participated in spring drills. In 2013, junior-college transfer quarterback Nick Montana and long snapper Mike Lizanich were in early, and in 2012 it was cornerback Jordan Batiste.
Tulane is set to start spring drills Feb. 18, the day after Mardi Gras.