Rayville High School
4.40 second 40
Is it my imagination, or does Chris Tolliver (no relation to Terrance Toliver, whose last name is spelled differently) look a lot older than a typical college freshman? Tolliver is a speedy, but perhaps undersized wide receiver. He is fast and shifty, in the Tyrone Prothro school of wide receivers, though he is taller and more physical than Prothro, and perhaps not quite as shifty. Same idea though.
Tolliver had an outstanding junior year in high school, catching 75 passes for over 1,500 yards. As a senior, his numbers were down, in part because Rayville also had the services of WR Kenny Bell, another small speedster who is being recruited by LSU. He still had 54 catches for almost 700 yards, and averaged over 22 yards per carry when rushing the ball. Plus, he returned kicks and punts.
If you're running a 4.0 40 in high school, you better be returning kicks and punts.
His outstanding junior year made him a coveted prospect, and like other recruits in this class, he flirted with Bama but eventually signed with LSU. He didn't wait as long as Tyler Edwards, who kept us in suspense until January, but there were definitely some anxious moments.
Tolliver may be a little short for a receiver, but he's kind of big also. He may not be tall, but he is thick, and even though he's primarily known as a deep threat, he is not at all afraid to go over the middle and take a hit to make a catch. If he gets the ball in space, he is deadly, but he will also go into traffic to get it. You have to appreciate that in a receiver.
I mentioned Tyrone Prothro above, but he also compares to Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers great. That may be an unfair comparison at this point, because Tolliver's never even played in college, much less high school, but Tolliver is a fearless receiver at this point.
Of course, it is still possible that when Tolliver starts taking hits from college safeties instead of high school safeties, he may not keep his willingness to go over the middle. The tools are there, however, and he has proved that he is not just a speed/finesse guy so far.
If Tolliver was 2 or 3 inches taller, he'd be a near-perfect receiver prospect. As it is, he is polished enough and fast enough that he is expected to compete for playing time right away. He's the best and most ready receiver prospect in the 2008 class, unless DeAngelo Benton manages to qualify (which is still doubtful).
Tolliver is a headliner. He figures to join the rotation at wide receiver sooner rather than later, and he will be dangerous once he is ready.