September 20, 2021
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Louisiana’s Top Recruits: Part 2

Wide Receiver Kody Finley at Ponchatoula High School

In my last article we took a trip around the state and looked at some great players. Some of them you may have heard of before and some you have never heard of at all. This is why I do what I do. When I was coaching college D-Line and assisting with recruiting, I saw so many guys falling through the cracks due to 99.99% of all recruiting services charge the guys. From where I was sitting, my question was always, how truthful were the reports. If I was paying someone X number of dollars, they better say my son was the next best thing since sliced bread. Now I am not saying that recruiting services are all bad, but do be careful. I started Louisiana Gridiron Football or better know as Gridiron Football, we have never taken a dollar to promote a kid. So when I say a kid is good, that is my professional opinion and not some dollar amount. With that said, Gridiron Football is not a recruiting service. We are a media service, camps, an app (Gridiron Football), and a bowl game.

After my last article, some of my neighbors asked why I didn’t start in my hometown of Slidell. So this article I will start in Slidell and I will also share some of the sights I have stopped and seen along the way on my journeys around the Lake to find the next best athletes. If you are wondering why I am only selecting one player per team, I am just trying to get people to open their eyes to the bigger picture of the talent Louisiana has. I can easily do an article on most teams in Louisiana. So just click on the players name and look at his highlight and take a look at the rest of his team on Hudl.

So at Slidell high school we have a Wide Receiver I like, Charlie Gibson (class of 2022) He is right at 6ft 180lbs. What catches my eye about him is his break away speed. He has great hands and can make big plays when the ball is in his hands.

Driving less then 2 miles up the road we will find Salmon High School and lets look at Linebacker Ethan Steevens (class of 2022). At 5’10” and 180 lbs, he doesn’t blow you away with his physical size, but he will with the size of his heart for the game. Ethan has the ability to find the ball and make plays.

Now lets drive up highway 11 five miles to Pearl River High school where I have several friends that work there. Offensive lineman Daniel Sinclair (class of 2022) is a 6’5″ 300lbs lineman. He is big guy with a lot of potential at the next level.

Jumping on I12, we drive over to Hwy 1088, and we will find tucked away is Class 4A powerhouse Lakeshore High School. Here we find Wide Receiver Eli Lirette (class of 2023) A 6′ 160lbs guy that will blow you away with his speed. Eli is one of the top speedsters in the state.

Getting back on I12, we drive over to exit 65 and head over to Fontainebleau High School. Here we will find another speedster in Cam Baham (class of 2023). I saw this kid play last year and he can flat out run. He is young and has time to develop still. I look for him to improve at cornerback.

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Driving across town to Covington High School, we will run into Free Safety Ian Goodly (class of 2022). Ian is 6′ 165lbs free safety. What impresses me about Ian, is that he has the ability to find the ball and make plays. Has great use of his hips and hands. I am looking forward to his senior season to see how much he progresses.

Lets go to the other side of the interstate to Mandeville. Here we will find a well coached team by coach Hutch Gonzalez. Looking at one of the top Wide Receivers in Louisiana in the 2022 class is Landon Ibieta. Landon has already received offers from Miami University, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, and several others.

Jumping on the Causeway, and the longest continues bridge in the united states, we take the 22 mile drive south to the largest city in Louisiana, New Orleans. I will not cover every team in New Orleans in this article, so stay tuned to future articles.

Our first stop the the Crescent City is Holy Cross. Here coach Salt is putting together a top notch team in the Catholic League. Corner Back Blake Wibel (class of 2023) is no exception to that. Blake has great speed and makes plays on the ball. He is 5’10” 160lbs and looks like a 4.5/6 guy right now. I expect with coach Salts help, he will improve over the next two years into a top prospect for the 2023 class.

Lets drive over to Martin Luther King Charter and take a look at the number 25 prospect in the state. Wide Receiver Leroy Paige (class of 2022) has already received a bunch of power five offers like Baylor, Florida State, Virginia, Mississippi State, Arizona, and more. It is hard not to miss his 6’4″ 200lbs stature and freakish speed.

Now lets drive over to Edna Karr high school where they have so many prospects, it was hard to talk about just one. Guys like the #5 Defensive Tackle Tygee Hill, who just committed to LSU or who I want to talk about Quarterback AJ Samuel (class or 2023). What impresses me about AJ is his football IQ. We had him on the Randall Corner a few weeks back and Marcus had him break down the “what ifs” on the white board and this Sophomore was able to articulate back to Marcus his reads and what he would do in those type of scenarios. He is improving his craft at a passer this offseason by playing 7v7 for the UNITY Silverbacks. Last season, he was a huge reason why Karr beat nationally ranked Catholic High of Baton Rouge.

I hate that I am missing so many great players from this area but I want to take you for a ride around the lake in this article so I will revisit New Orleans later.

Driving across town to Kenner Discovery. It is a new program in the New Orleans area and coach PJ Sprunk has done a great job in building it. Strong Safety Zander Milton (class of 2022) is a rising star. Zander his a hard hitter and has tremendous game speed. I look for him to have a huge senior year.

Continue driving west and get on I310 we will arrive in Destrehan to see class of 2023 cornerback phenom Lynard Harris. Lynard is one of my top prospects in the 2023 class, period. I have seen him play multiple times including this spring for Louisiana Elite 7v7.

Now lets drive along the levee on HWY 18 to Vacherie, La and take a look at what coach Valdez is doing at St. James. Coach Valdez has built a great program and has trained a number of young men to go off to college. Most recently DE Saivion Jones who just signed at LSU. Now this season’s big time prospect is Wide Reciever Shazz Preston (class of 2022). Shazz is rated at the 10th best Wide Receiver in the nation per 247. He currently has a ton of offers including in state power five LSU. I predict he will sign at LSU with former teammate Saivion Jones.

Lets stay on Hwy 18 and continue driving north to Donaldsonville. Here we will find Wide Receiver
Jamarcus Miller (Class of 2022). A 6′ 200lbs receiver that can move. He has good hands and can outrun most people on the field.

Drive across the Sunshine bridge and go north to Geismar to Dutchtown High School and we will find Running Back Dylan Sampson (class of 2022). Dylan is a bull at running back and just powers his way through the line. He has sever power five offers like Arkansas, Cal, and Indiana; but I look for him to stay home at either University of Louisiana or Louisiana Tech.

Drive across town to East Ascension to look at linebacker Rionte Jones (Class of 2022). Rionte is a 6′ 260lbs linebacker that has great speed. He also plays for the Bootleggers in 7v7. He currently has an offer to Kansas. Rionte is a hard hitting linebacker who will play outside in college.

Driving up Hwy 16 we arrive at Denham Springs High school. Here we will find Running Back Rayy Mckneely (class of 2023). His combination of speed and power is incredible. He also impresses me with his football IQ. He too, has appeared on the Randall Corner with myself and Marcus. He has an unbelievable passion for this game we all love. You can see him play this spring for F3 Elite 7v7.

Lets continue on Hwy 16 north to Amite. Home of the 2020 Heisman Winner WR DeVonta Smith. Lets take a look at another big time prospect in Linebacker Javae Gilmore (class of 2022). He has a ton of offers as well including in state power five LSU. He is a fast playmaker and can drop back and cover or blitz and make plays. Lets hope LSU does not loose out on another big time prospect to Bama.

Now lets get on I55 and head south to Ponchatoula High School. Here we will find Wide Receiver Kody Finley (class of 2022). Kody is the brother of LSU’s QB TJ Finley. I saw Kody last year at Fontainebleau. His speed and athleticism is great. I look for him to join his brother at LSU next year.

I hope you enjoyed this trip around the Lake. In part 3 I will take you for a ride on 190 from my office in Denham Springs to Merryville on the Texas line.

About Andy Bryson 718 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach