Class of 2016: Top 40 New Orleans area football recruits

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Kristian Fulton

Archbishop Rummel’s Kristian Fulton (right) may have the best ball skills of any senior high school cornerback in the nation (Photo: Bill Arthurs).

This year is unlike no other in the metro area, blessed with a plethora of college football prospects. The 2016 signing class actually may have more of an abundance of talent than normal in these parts.

I usually list my top 30 prospects, but I felt I had to expand to top 40 because there was too much talent that I didn’t want to omit. We will profile all of these outstanding players this season on Prep Recruiting Insider (Wednesdays at 6 p.m. on WHNO TV 20 in New Orleans).

There are a few more on the cusp that may find their way onto the list as the 2015 prep season gets underway. Until then, we have these fantastic 40:

1. Glen Logan, DT, 6-4, 300, Destrehan
The LSU commitment is a dominating presence who plays like a much smaller lineman. He uses his hands well, plays with intensity and maintains very little body fat. Logan has all the tools. He recognizes quickly from his 3-tech spot.

2. Edwin Alexander, DT, 6-3, 310, St. Thomas Aquinas
Another LSU pledge who possesses a hot motor, he is good at the point of attack, explosive off the snap. Alexander disposes blockers quickly with tremendous use of his hands. Very powerful, Alexander demands double/ triple team blocking.

3. Kristian Fulton, CB, 6-0, 170, Archbishop Rummel
This excellent cover man has 4.43 forty speed with a 39″ vertical. He has super hips, recovery speed and reactions to the ball. Fulton displays outstanding reactions and instincts. He had 10 picks last season while not playing all possible games. Fulton can erase opposing receiver while also not afraid to challenge against the run.  LSU looks to be favorite, but Arkansas and Texas A&M have a chance. Georgia and Miami are also making a push.

4. Kyle Meyers, CB, 6-0, 170, Holy Cross
Florida State commitment runs a 4.35 40-yard dash and is a tremendous competitor who has made quantum leap since last year at this time. Very confident with super hips, Meyers can transition very well in coverage, and he also challenges versus the run.

5. Michael Divinity, LB, 6-2, 220, John Ehret
LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M, Florida State, Florida, Arkansas and Texas are among his primary suitors. Great in coverage, Divinity moves well with good lateral movement and diagnosis plays quickly. He takes good pursuit angles and finds the ball as a collision tackler. He shows great range and football IQ. Divinity ran 11 seconds flat in the 100 meters and  a 22.6 time in the  200 meters. He might be best LB ever produced at Ehret (Lamin Barrow, Mike Phillips and Thaddeus Washington are among that strong group).

6. Willie Allen, OT, 6-7, 310, John Curtis
It appears to be a LSU-Alabama tug-of-war for Allen but Ole Miss and Georgia are right behind. He has tremendous size, super feet, great desire to excel, ability to run down to the second level. He could be a Division I basketball prospect if he concentrated more in that area. Very agile, Allen works on the little things to improve.

7. Shyheim Carter, CB, 6-0, 188, Kentwood
Former Alabama pledge has reopened the recruiting process. LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss are all jockeying for position. Explosive burst is eveident in this playmaker. Carter has super balance, instincts and confidene. He could be a threat on offense or as a return specialist.

8. Donavaughn Campbell, OG, 6-4, 350, Ponchatoula
LSU commitment is already massive. He can block out anyone but has good lateral movement for such a larger lineman. He has a nice punch and obvious great strength. When he pulls out to lead a play, it’s like a Mardi Gras float running over cans in the street. Campbell stalemates rushers while showing natural ability as a drive blocker who gets to the second level.

Clyde Criss (#16)

Clyde Criss (left) is the latest playmaking receiver out of New Orleans football power Warren Easton (Photo: Parker Waters)

9. Clyde Criss, WR, 6-0, 175, Warren Easton
Crafty receiver was injured during part of 2014, but he still displayed his 4.4 speed in the 40 with 35 grabs for 882 yards and 10 scores, while sharing the spotlight with four other wideouts who have gone on to college. Criss is a super route runner with a large catching radius. He high-points the ball, recognizes defenses as a route runner and finds the opening in zones.

10. Briston Guidry, DT, 6-3, 295, Archbishop Rummel
Arkansas commitment is disruptive, gets into backfield, demands double triple teams on a very good prep defense. The past two seasons, he has combined for 153 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 20 sacks and one interception.

11. Stephon Taylor, DT, 6-4, 295, McDonogh 35
In most other years he could be among top players in city. This year is that stocked. Characteristics include tremendous athleticism, explosive first step, great motor, intense, desire and balance. He doesn’t repeat the same mistake twice. Nearly 40 offers, but it looks to be an LSU- Auburn battle with Florida State and Texas making a major push.

12. Tre’ Turner, RB, 5-10, 193, Holy Cross
Committed to Arizona State, the home run threat (4.33 in the 40) and superb baseball prospect (great arm and bat) cuts at full speed. Turner doesn’t give defenders a good shot at him often. He also has a dependable pair of mitts.

13. Irv Smith Jr., TE, 6-4, 235, Brother Martin
The Texas A&M pledge is the son of a former No. 1 draft pick by the Saints in 1993. The younger Smith is a good receiver, solid blocker, hard worker and skilled runner after catch. He is another football/basketball combo talent.

14. Cameron Dantzler, CB, 6-2, 175, St. Thomas Aquinas
The Mississippi State commitment has also played quarterback and wide receiver. He anticipates routes with a nose for the ball. He has an impressive vertical jump and timing. Texas Tech, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss are trying to change his mind.

15. Andre Anthony, LB, 6-3, 218, Edna Karr
The LSU commitment is extremely athletic with great closing speed. He has a great first step off edge, covers slot, and rarely finds himself out of position as his weakside ‘backer spot.

16. Sci Martin, LB, 6-4, 225, McDonogh 35
Committed to Tulane, he has since reopened recruiting. Now LSU, UL Lafayette, Miami, Kansas, TCU, Florida, Florida State, Utah, Arizona State and North Carolina are giving their best pitch. With 4.6 speed and the ability to add 30-35 pounds, Martin could be a key weapon on defense. He runs 110 and 300 meter hurdles in track and dunks a basketball. Martin can rush or drop with the speed to run with backs.

17. Trey Ragas, RB, 5-11, 205, Archbishop Shaw
Ragas could be moving up soon. It looks to be Tulane, Arkansas and Ole Miss are the most likely candidates but Utah, South Carolina, Kansas, Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee are all trying to get to the front. Ragas is a very physical downhill runner who ran for over 1,800 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2014. He had 272 yards and six touchdowns in one game as a junior. His two-year total with the Eagles is 3,052 yards and 36 touchdowns. At this stage, he reminds me so much of Matt Forte, overlooked and under-appreciated at Slidell High before his great days at Tulane and in the NFL.

18. Clifford Chattman, OLB, 6-5, 195, McDonogh 35
The LSU pledge had 74 stops in 2014. He has the frame to add 20- 25 pounds easily. He blocks kicks, closes quickly on defense, moves well in space and makes solid open field tackles.

19. Caron Baham, WR, 6-0, 190, John Ehret
Committed to Missouri, he has 4.5 speed as a prep quarterback who likely be a slot receiver in college. Baham is a great open-field runner with outstanding vision. He ran the third leg of 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relay teams for the Patriots. Against West Jeff in 2014, he had 189 yards rushing on 15 carries and five scores to secure a district title.

20. Pernell Jefferson, LB, 6-2, 233, Warren Easton
Oklahoma commitment was All-State in 2014 with 115 tackles. Maybe the most gifted player on an extremely talented defense that sent six players to college ball in the 2015 class, Jefferson sheds blockers and makes good drops as an every down performer.

Jamal Pettigrew

Jamal Pettigrew (#80) is a big target in the potent St. Augustine passing attack.

21. Jamal Pettigrew, TE, 6-6, 230, St. Augustine
The LSU pledge has good hands, elite size and the desire to be the best. The Purple Knights have a history of producing college tight ends including Malcolm Scott (LSU), Derek Lewis (Texas) and Selvish Capers (West Virginia; converted to OT).

22. De’Jon Harris, LB, 6-0, 238, John Ehret
Committed to Arkansas, he is a well-rounded student-athlete with a 3.0 GPA. Harris is a downhill tackler who squares shoulders to deliver a blow. He is instinctive, covers backs out of backfield, locates ball quickly, forces turnovers and excels on special teams.

23. Da’Monte Coxie, WR, 6-3, 175, East St. John
Committed to LSU, he has done well against top flight competition (summer camps specifically). Coxie’s great catching radius compliments as super work ethic. He uses his body well, displays good hands and has a desire to excel. Already equipped with a good frame, Coxie will get stronger.

24. Dontell Allen, CB, 6-0, 180, East Jefferson
Mississippi State commitment has a 10.33 in the 100 meters, with an impressive 4.33 time in the 40. Tulane, TCU, ULM and McNeese are among the schools trying to get Allen to switch. Also a hurdler on the EJ track team, Allen’s strongest assets include recovery speed, hips and transition ability.

25. Gerald Wilbon, DT, 6-3, 315, Destrehan
Texas commitment wears a size 18 shoe, so he may not be finished growing. Very powerful, Wilbon can play one tech but could get a look at OG. He uses hands well in tight quarters.

26. Jonathan Picone, LB, 6-1, 218, Mandeville
Texas Tech commitment runs a 4.65 40 and is a very athletic Sam linebacker. He is a hard worker and relentless as he reads the flow of the play and pursues. Picone is very smart, and opposing offenses must account for where he is. He is the best Skippers LB since Michael Mauti, the former Penn State standout now with the Minnesota Vikings.

27. Kenny Hebert, LB, 6-3, 212, Holy Cross
Tulane commitment has played safety, a tribute to his good field awareness and athleticism. At just 17 years old, he will get bigger and stronger. Hebert has just scratched the surface. A track performer, he works extremely hard in the weight room and on his conditioning.

28. Joshua Perry, S, 6-3, 190, Amite
Alabama commitment runs a 4.55 and can add 15 pounds to his long frame. He covers a lot of ground. Perry is a good blitzer with great range, creates turnovers, really delivers a blow and tackles well in the open field.

29. Herb McGee, WR, 6-2, 200, Riverside
An all-state selection in both basketball and football, he has gridiron offers from LSU, Tulane, Mississippi State, Cincinnati and Arkansas plus roundball offers from Tulane, UL Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Oral Roberts, UTEP and Houston. McGee can play wideout or cornerback while shining as a kick returner. No matter his sport of choice in college, he has outstanding potential.

30. Parker Orgeron, WR, 5-11, 181, Mandeville
A well-versed receiver who can line up in a number of spots and displays an outstanding catching radius. Orgeron does all the little things and shows superb ball skills. He is a good blocker and a tough player, fearless going up after the ball in traffic. He will move up charts as the season unfolds because he is a blue-collar worker with better physical skills than people realize at first glance.

31. Giovanni LaFrance, LB, 6-1, 228, St. Augustine
Tulane commitment runs a 4.75 40 and has good ball skills, coverage ability and the desire to deliver jarring hits. LaFrance rarely takes a false step and knows to to string out a play. He is a solid tackler who has good timing on blitzes. Cal, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Arizona State all like him a lot.

32. Peyton Aucoin, TE, 6-4, 255, Brother Martin
The University of Texas commitment is a dominant blocker who can pancake defenders. He shows solid hands, but some feel like he could grow into an offensive tackle. Aucoin is the first college football recruit from the metro area to head to the Longhorns since Derek Lewis in late 1990’s.

33. Larry Robinson, OT, 6-5, 300, Archbishop Rummel
Southern Miss pledge is called “Phattman” by his teammates. A left tackle for the Raiders, he could move inside to guard. He has good upside and athleticicm to be special. Robinson has long arms and not much body fat.

34. Myles Vigne, NT, 6-2, 315, Warren Easton
UCF commitment is strong, boasting a 345-pound bench press and a 520-pound squat. He hunkers down and takes on double and triple teams. An established leader for the Eagles, he has only played football for the past three years. Vigne is affectionately called “Steam Roller.”

35. Chase Fourcade, QB, 6-0, 180, Archbishop Rummel
Headed to Nicholls, Fourcade is a catcher in baseball who will concentrate on football in college. He makes great decisions as a true leader, very much like Rummel coach Jay Roth, who was also a quarterback for the Raiders and Colonels. Fourcade can make all necessary throws.

36. Nathaniel Evans, MLB, 6-0, 230, John Curtis
With offers from Army, UL Lafayette, La. Tech, Kent State, Tulane, Troy, Southern Miss and Houston, Evans has much to consider. He comes downhill as a very physical defender with few missteps. He plays basketball, showing he is athletic. He is always around the ball. Evans has recorded multiple double-digit tackle games as a true gamer. Arizona, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma are keeping tabs on him.

37. Jarius Wallace, S, 6-0, 185, John Ehret
Committed to UCF, Wallace had six interceptions in 2014. Wallace is like a coach in the secondary as a ball hawk and puts himself in the right places with 4.65 speed in the 40. Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, McNeese State and Northwestern State are his top suitors.

38. Eric Lewis, CB/WR, 5-10, 173, St. Charles Catholic
Tulane commitment was District MVP last season with five interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He used his 4.5 speed in the 40 to also return three punts for TDs.

39. Kalija Lipscomb, WR, 5-11, 180, Jesuit
The speedster grabbed 45 passes for 960 yards and 13 scores in 2014. Four of those scores came in one game against Central. Missouri, Tulane, Utah, Stanford and Minnesota are all keeping tabs on him. Lipscomb has a good catching radius for a average-sized receiver who makes game-changing plays. He can adjust routes, cut on a dime, block, and make tough catches in tight quarters.

40. Kazmi Antoine, LB, 6-0, 205, Belle Chasse
Tulane commitment has great work ethic, football IQ and speed to make plays from the weak side.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau

Fox Sports/ESPN/WHNO/WFAN

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even greater fashion while in Baton Rouge. Nadeau played semi-pro football for two seasons with the New Orleans Blue Knights. He has been a prominent sports figure in the New Orleans area for 29 years. Nadeau currently serves as a color…

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