You always need two types of wide receivers: the bigger wideouts that can control the sidelines and the speedsters you put in the slot and let them cause match-up nightmares with their athleticism. Adding Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall (Kenan Jones would wind up as a safety), the staff went looking for that slot receiver to take over when Derrick Dillon graduated after this year and boy did they find it.
LSU had come upon recent struggles in making a presence in Tangipahoa Parish, as Alabama continued to expand their boundaries, significantly increasing the importance of getting a recruit like Palmer. He was not at a high school that Alabama had build up a stronghold at, yet he would help LSU start to gain that ground they desperately needed to get back to the prominence they were once accustomed to and fill that future vacancy left by Dillon.
His recruitment started the summer before his sophomore year, earning his offer at one of the summer camps, far earlier than any other team. As the offers continued to pile up, Palmer kept things close to his vest, but most knew it was going to come down to LSU and Alabama. The feeling of “home” was too strong for Palmer and he would commit to the Tigers in August before his senior year, slightly over two years after initially receiving his offer.
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Rating: ****
247 Composite Ranking: .9499
Trey Palmer stayed as a national top-20 wide receiver since he first received his ranking before his sophomore year, earning top-10 status overall in Louisiana.
Obviously, the first thing that jumps out from his film is that elite-level speed Palmer has. He has a real smooth stride that gives this illusion that he’s not running as fast as he really is, which can be used to his advantage to lull defenders to sleep. His ability to make people miss is at an elite level as well, which combined with that speed makes him dangerous in the open field. If there was one thing he could work on is the crispness of the routes he runs, but Kentwood has a weird route tree for him so that should come along with more reps. Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger have to enjoy that arm he occasionally shows off as a potential trick player later on down the road.
Both Palmer and Dillon have been nursing injuries during fall camp, but since returning last week Palmer is making it tougher for the coaches to leave him off the field, and that might come at Dillon’s expense. He has already filled in at slot with the first team during the scrimmages and caught some long touchdowns, and has been tested with kickoff return duties. Most slot receivers in high school come in wire thin, but Palmer has a filled out 6-1, 180-pound frame that has allowed him to pass that early obstacle.
High End: Palmer continues his early progress and gives LSU an elite slot receiver and makes the wideouts’ jobs a lot easier for his entire time at Baton Rouge.
Low End: The route running doesn’t improve as much as expected, but Palmer still maintains his standing as a threat on special teams.
Realistic: You can’t argue with the early reports. Palmer came in highly regarded, but to think he would be challenging Dillon for a starting spot this early just was not something many could have seen. He has athleticism that just translates really well to the game, and there’s probably some potential there that was untapped at such a small high school. I still think Dillon and his experience win out, but Palmer will be a consistent threat even in his freshman season.