As always, the high school state championship games in the Mercedes Benz Superdome consisted of some great games by teams littered with FBS prospects.
LSU had a pair of commitments, a number of other targets, in action over the weekend.
In the 5A game, Barbe led 14-13 after three quarters but Rummel dominated the fourth to pull away and win 35-14. Desean Smith showed why he's one of the top tight-end prospects in the nation by catching four passes for 85 yards, including a pair of very impressive touchdowns. On his first touchdown, Smith did a great job of going over a defender in the back of the end zone and high-pointing the football while still managing to get a foot down in bounds. Smith looks like every bit the versatile, receiving tight-end that LSU hasn't had on their roster in many years. He'll have every opportunity to contribute in 2013.
But Smith wasn't the only big time tight-end in that game. Rummel's Cethan Carter has had a tremendous senior season and is starting to garner interest from LSU. The 6'4" 240 pound athlete showed off his versatility, lining up on the line and often from the backfield from the Raiders. He led Rummel in receiving with five receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Don't be surprised if Carter ends up in LSU's class. It seems that the only holdup at this point is whether LSU will have the room.
Barbe receiver Trey Quinn is just a junior, but is already well known among those who follow recruiting. Quinn was one of the stars of LSU's camp last summer and had a ridiculous junior season where he caught 115 passes for 2,144 yards and 26 touchdowns. He already holds an offer from LSU. Rummel did a nice job of limiting Quinn in the Dome, allowing him to catch just four passes for 47 yards.
Some tweets from the game:
Whoa DeSean Smith. Just made one of the plays of the weekend with a leaping 25 yd TD grab. Back of the end zone. Nasty. Game tied 7-7.— David Helman(@HelmanESPN) December 9, 2012
TE's putting on a show tonight as Rummel's Cethan Carter takes a short outroute into the endzone from 12 yds out. RHS misses XP, leads 13-7.— David Helman(@HelmanESPN) December 9, 2012
These last 3 quarters tell me Desean Smith could have early impact as big receiver for #LSU. Great, great hands. Cethan Carter can play too.— Gary Laney (@GLaneyESPN) December 9, 2012
#LSU commit DeSean Smith named Barbe's outstanding player in Class 5A state title game.— Will Weathers (@TigerBaitWill) December 9, 2012
The 4A Championship Game was loaded with top shelf talent. Karr won a very close, hard fought battle by a score of 29-22 over Neville. LSU commitment John Diarse played quarterback for Neville and came up just short in his bid to win a third state championship. Diarse played well though, often putting his team on his back and driving them down the field in key situations. He finished with 148 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with 151 passing yards and a touchdown. People often use words like "tough, gritty, and warrior" when describing Diarse. He looks like an Early Doucet type of possession receiver at LSU.
Diarse's teammate, junior Laurence "Hootie" Jones is a junior defensive back that is an early favorite to be a five star prospect next year. The 6'2" 205 pound athlete has the skills to play cornerback, despite his size. Jones didn't make any highlight plays, but made his presence felt.
Karr quarterback, Devante "Speedy" Noil is a junior that looks like one of the nation's top slot receiver prospects for the Class of 2014. He plays mostly quarterback for Karr and while he had tons of highlights this season, he was mostly a game manager in the Dome. He finished with just 18 yards rushing, though he did punch in a score. And he was an effective 10 of 15 for 143 yards through the air.
Speaking of big-time juniors on Karr's team, you can't fail to mention defensive lineman Gerald Willis, who was consistently in Neville's backfield on Friday night. Willis can play anywhere on the defensive line but could grow into a defensive tackle by the time he hits a college campus. He'd be a perfect fit in LSU's system on the inside as a penetrating tackle that blows up plays, similar to Drake Nevis.
Karr has a pair of seniors who are on their way to play big-time college football. Cornerback Noel Ellis is verbally committed to Texas A&M and tight-end Standish Dobard is a Miami commitment. Dobard had three catches in the championship game.
Four-star 2013 CB prospect Laurence "Hootie" Jones warms up for Neville. Top talent for next year. Absolute stud twitter.com/Sheadixon/stat…— Shea Dixon (@Sheadixon) December 8, 2012
Karr 2014 DE Gerald Willis (Landon Collins' little bro) is getting tons of pressure tonight. Going to be elite. Could grow into a DT.— Shea Dixon (@Sheadixon) December 8, 2012
Gerald Willis is flying around early. Violent hands!— Jimmy D Smith (@JamesSmithNola) December 8, 2012
Just ... wow, John Diarse. NHS converts a 4th and 5 by shaking of 2 different tacklers. Next play, he runs for 11 w. 3 dudes on his back.— David Helman(@HelmanESPN) December 8, 2012
Very impressed with John Diarse tonight. He fought til the end. #LSU— Jimmy D Smith (@JamesSmithNola) December 8, 2012
John Curtis cruised past Evangel 35-13 to take the 2A Championship. Curtis has a large number of prospects, probably too many to go through. A pair of 2014 prospects stand out at this point, as far as LSU is concerned. Receiver Malachi Dupre already holds an offer from LSU. He had just one reception in the game Saturday and was injured on the catch, forcing him to miss the rest of the game. Linebacker Kenny Young will probably have an offer from LSU before too long.
The 1A game saw Ouachita Christian win their second straight title, by a 20-8 score over Haynesville. Parkview Baptist finished their undefeated season by defeating Notre Dame 42-7. Neither of those games featured any prospects on LSU's radar at this point.
LSU will be hosting a few official visitors this weekend, and we'll hope to preview that as the weekend approaches.