by Lee BrecheenFebruary 11, 2010 – This is a tough position for colleges to recruit for the next level. You will find that most players that play Defense in Louisiana have to play a certain position to help the team win, instead of the position the recruit will play in college. At a lot of high schools in Louisiana, the Defensive End is really a OLB or a Middle Linebacker playing up or down on the edge, because he might be the biggest kid and most athletic to give the school a chance to win. Sometimes a kid playing Tight End or Running Back in high school is really a college linebacker, but again, this kid might be the most talented weapon to carry a team throughout the whole year. I’ve even scene where the QB for the high school is really a Linebacker for the next level. This is usually a kid that’s 6-0 to 6-2 who runs better than he throws and has a lot of muscle mass to move to defense in college. Finally, some kids that play in usually the 5A or 4A programs are in the 6-1 to 6-2 range and playing Free Safety and they weigh around 190 to 195. They’re a hamburger or pizza away from being a Linebacker in college. The best recruiters can have vision with a kid playing these other positions, and see the move to Linebacker in college. I will put the linebackers in two different categories – OLB or MLB. These are the most common two Linebacker positions played at the next level. Some teams name their linebacker positions differently, like Sam or Mike, but again, either you are an OLB with a ton of speed to the outside or you are a MLB with toughness, smarts, and the ability to read every play. Usually your MLB’s are the guys calling the plays in the huddle, and over the years you have seen the great ones like Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers (my favorite LB growing up), and currently Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, and Karlos Dansby of the Arizona Cardinals. These guys are middle Linebackers that will tackle and punish you every play and put fear into every QB‘s brain. None of these great players I mentioned above were 4.5 forty guys except Brian Urlacher, and in his prime, Ray Lewis. Let’s take a look at this year’s top Outside Linebackers, and Middle Linebackers in Louisiana.
|Collin Ellis – Dunham|
1. Collin Elllis – 6-1, 210 – 4.55/40 – Dunham – Collin Ellis Is a throwback football player. This is a kid who if you gave him a helmet with no face mask, he would get over a 100 tackles a game. He actually made 63 tackles in his 2009 senior season and had 3 Interceptions. Collin also had over 1,000 yards rushing and double digits in TD’s as a senior. This kid carried his team to the playoffs and hurt people when he ran the ball, and when he hit players on defense. Collin would have made the All American teams in the 1970’s for a high school football player, because back in the 1970’s, you where judged on being a good football player and not a star system. Collin will play college football for Northwestern, in Chicago which is in the Big 10, and I predict he will weigh in the 215 to 220 range as a freshman, and when done probably 230. I feel like this kid has the five intangibles needed to be a linebacker. He’s smart, athletic, can run, is mean, and can read. I can see Collin calling plays on defense one day for Northwestern, and just like the Head Coach at Northwestern, former All American Pat Fitzgerald, being a big time leader for the team.
2. D J Welter – 6-0, 225 – 4.69/40 – Notre Dame – DJ is a very tough kid who can put fear into the offense that he goes against. What impresses me the most about this kid, is the 6 times I’ve seen him play, he’s always going full throttle, and he can read everything around him that’s going on. He does a great job of reading the QB as good as any LB in the state. D J got to play LB only for his team full time, and he was the leader of the team on defense. He was MVP of the state title game against Parkview Baptist. Welter doesn’t time 4.5 in the forty, but like I mentioned above, some of the greatest Middle Linebackers of all time were not fast, but they were smart, mean, and could read the QB every play. DJ will make plays, quicker than most guys who have track speed because of ability to read and react. This kid was born to play Middle Linebacker, and it will be fun to see him play in Tiger Stadium one day, as a tackling machine for the defense. Another key point to make is when DJ tackles you, you go down. Very few escape his from tackling.
3. Chris Marshall – 6-0, 215 – 4.6/40 – Franklin – Chris has great blood lines. His uncle is the famous Leonard Marshall, who was 6-3, 290 pounds and a Star Defensive Tackle for the Super Bowl Champs, the New York Giants. He played on same defense with Hall of Famer and Legend DE, Lawrence Taylor. Chris has a knack for making almost every tackle, it seems, after the ball is snapped. I love to watch him play and run side line to sideline making tackles. Chris will have to start his career off either at a small school, or if he decides a two year route, at a Junior College. I would love to see this kid recruited again in two years because he was born to play LB and lead a defense.
4. David Vest – 6-2, 225 – 4.69/40 – Central – This kid would line up sometimes as a stand up Defensive End or playing the true LB position. David loves to hit, and he runs so well, side line to side line. I’m very shocked that not one DIV 1 school, or even a IAA school took this kid in the 2010 class up until typing this on the tenth of Feb. David has a body to weigh 240 pounds and be a big time Middle Linebacker. I saw games where this kid was just a terrific player, tackling and reading plays all over the field.
|Wa’derrious Sellers – Neville|
5. Wa’derrious Sellers – 5-10, 210 – 4.55/40 – Neville – I don’t think Neville could have made the Superdome and have won the State title without their star player roaming the middle of the field on defense. If he was 6-0 tall every DIV 1 school would have offered Sellers a Scholarship. Sellers is a throwback LB that can actually run a true 4.5 forty, and he did at several college camps over this past summer. He’s a tackling machine, a leader, and one heck of an athlete. Sellers will be playing college football but not DIV 1. However, I bet in two years many schools will regret not taking a chance on this kid. Sellers will be in the 230 range when done and he’ll keep his speed. Sellers made 103 tackles for the 4A State Champion Tigers this past season. Northwestern State got a big time LB for 4 years.
6. Warren Lennix – 6-1, 210 – 4.6/40 – Destrehan – This is a kid that played in two State Championship games, which Destrehan won, within three years, and he was one of the best players in the middle as a LB. Also, if you remember, Destrehan had a LB by the name of Rufus Porter who signed with LA Tech. Lennix played in Porters shadow, but his senior year, he showed he can play college football. I’m actually shocked that not one DIV 1 school in state offered him. I think he’s a huge pick up for new Head Football Coach Charlie Stubbs at IAA Nichols State. This kid can go in and play right away.
|Larry Butler – Southern Lab|
7. Larry Butler – 6-0, 234 – 4.6/40 – Southern Lab – This is a kid that played high school football in Houston, TX , and played one year for the Kittens in Baton Rouge. Larry also played some Fullback, and he has very quick feet for a big guy who is 230 pounds. I really believe he’s got a great upside to be as a good as another former Kitten, Hugh Patin, who starts for the Baylor Bears in Waco, TX.
8. Brandon Richoux – 6-1, 220 – 4.7/40 – Denham Springs – Brandon was one of the big time leaders of the team. This kid gobbled up tackles all year long, and all of his junior year for his team. I enjoyed watching this kid compete, and run side line to side line. He’s a tough kid with a motor for 220 pounds. I think this kid has DIV 1 ability and a lot of schools missed on Him. Brandon could be 230 or 235, and play Middle Linebacker for a lot of college teams. I love how he reads plays, time after time, and comes up and sticks people. Brandon had 65 tackles and 3 sacks his senior season.
9. John White – 5-10 215 – 4.69/40 – John Curtis – John Curtis has its share of great players every year. Sometimes they have a Parade All American type, and sometimes they produce players like John White. This kid brings his lunch box when he plays a football game. John White was a tackling machine for Head Coach J. T. Curtis and his defense. What really impresses me the most is this kid started 3 years on defense for coach while on a defense that very rarely has linebackers starting two years much less three. If it wasn’t for his height, many DIV 1 schools would have offered. Southern University got a huge steal by signing this kid. I think this was the first John Curtis Player to sign with Southern in over 20 years. I can see this kid starting 3 years for Southern, and might even go in as a true freshman and start. The reason is because he’s a great tackler, and big time leader, with a great work ethic. New Head Coach, Stump Mitchell, needs these types of players to bring Southern back in the SWAC. Even with all the blue chip players John Curtis had on defense in 2009, White had 104 tackles on defense.
|Shontorian Lowe – Peabody|
10. Shontorian Lowe – 6-3, 230 – 4.69/40 – Peabody – This kid is the poster boy for the word sleeper. Lowe played TE and DE as a sophomore, as a junior, he played a lot of TE/DE again, and as a Senior, he played some MLB and TE. When you see this kid line up as a LB, all I can say is wow! If you watch him run, even though you could tell he was learning the position, this kid has it for the position, and I really believe everybody missed on this kid, DIV 1 wise. Maybe by the time this article is written a lot of IAA schools will start calling Peabody HS. Lowe could easily weigh in the 245 range, and might still be fast enough to be a NFL type MLB.
|Wade Julien – East Ascension|
11. Wade Julien – 5-10, 230 – 4.7/40 – East Ascension – Wade played Defensive Tackle and started as a star player his sophomore and junior years. Wade moved to LB as a senior and it was lights out. Wade played like he was 6-5, 300 pounds when he played Defensive Tackle. I would love to see this kid given a chance to be a MLB in college. I think he has a big heart, he’s mean, and he loves the game. This is the type of player IAA programs need, to have great defenses. This former Defensive Tackle had 100 tackles his senior season.
12. Ricky Ervin – 6-1, 220 – 4.69/40 – Westlake – I remember when Westlake HS went to the Superdome Two years ago. They had a young LB, Ricky Ervin, leading the defense against Parkview Baptist. Ricky was a sophomore then, and he was the only sophomore starter on the team. That year’s class was Westlake’s best Senior class of football players in over 20 years for one year. Ricky doesn’t time 4.5 in the forty, but if you see this kid play, he is just a big time football player who has the body of a Linebacker. Ricky, because of his toughness, also played some FB and TE in the offense at times and usually dominated anybody he had to block. Ricky has the frame to weigh 240 pounds, and I really believe he will get there in a year or so. Head Coach Mike Lucas of Southeastern college in Hammond stole a good one out of McNeese State’s back yard. I love the future of this kid, and again if by chance he’s not going to be a LB, he can always switch to FB.
|Nick Williams – Acadiana Prep|
1. Nick Williams – 6-3, 215 – 4.5/40 – Acadiana Prep – The most gifted player I saw play defense over 200 pounds as a DB this year was Nick Williams. Nick played for Acadiana Prep, which is a Prep school in Opelousas to give kids another year of HS. Nick started his high school days at Comeaux HS in Lafayette, where as a Junior I thought he was the best FS in the state. Nick is the most gifted OLB type coming out of Louisiana. I do know his grades might force him to a small school, and if that’s the case, remember the name because this kid has NFL written all over him. I’ve seen this kid come up and hit people, like he’s already in the NFL. His closing speed is off the charts. God also gave him a great body to carry 230 pounds and run a 4.5 forty.
|Wendell Beckwith – Clinton|
2. Wendell Beckwith – 6-3, 225 – 4.6/40 – Clinton – Beckwith played Defensive End, and for two years, this kid put fear in every QB, the team played. Beckwith changed the whole game plan of an offense, because of his speed off the edge and quickness. When the ball was snapped, Beckwith either got a sack or pressured the QB to throw it way. If Clinton had bigger players, Beckwith could have played LB, but for the team he was incredible as a DE. Sometimes I thought I was watching a one man wrecking crew stop an offense from driving. I remember filming the playoff game against Evangel Christian at Clinton, Beckwith rushed QB Duron, who was the Louisiana Player of the year, every play. Evangel was held to their lowest offensive output of the season. Beckwith was having to chase Duron in a 15 yard shot gun, and still got to him almost every play. I love this kid’s effort and speed, and love the upside. Tulane got a big timer over Minnesota, and a bunch of DIV 1 schools. This kid can be a NFL player one day.
|Dwayne Mitchell – Ednar Karr|
3. Dwayne Mitchell – 6-2, 215 – 4.6/40 – Edna Karr – Dwayne, like Beckwith was a stud pass rusher as a Defensive End for over three years at Edna Karr. I was impressed for a kid 215 pounds, taking the beating play after play in a league, where the offensive lines go about 280 to 300 across on the Westbank. Mitchell will be a star in the Big 10, because he’s scared of no one, has a great work ethic, and will fill out to 230, and runs 4.6 in the forty. Dwayne would have been one of the top 5 players coming out of the state of Minnesota, if you want to look at it that way.
|Seth Ancar – South Plaquemines
4. Seth Ancar – 6-0, 200 – 4.5/40 – South Plaqumines – South Plaqumines won three state titles in 4 years because their defense was lead by a kid named Ancar on defense, who played DE/LB/ SS. Ever seen a kid play Defensive End at 200 pounds, and dominate the line of scrimmage, or go back in coverage and intercept passes, and run with WR’s in pass coverage, that’s what you have with Seth Ancar. Seth is one heck of an Athlete, he’s a lean 200 pounds, actually if you saw this kid in pads, he’s ripped like a college football player in year three of school. Seth will be in the 210 range, and play like he’s 230. This kid is powerful at 200. I would hate to see how strong he will be at 210. Seth will finally be able to play the true LB position in college, and not have to go both ways like he did for his team, when he doubled sometimes as a Tight End. LA Tech got one heck of a football player.
|Brandon Peoples – Wossman
5. Brandon Peoples – 6-0, 200 – 4.5/40 – Wossman – Brandon Peoples is the North Louisiana version of Seth Ancar. Brandon ran track too, reason why he can run 4.5 in the forty. Peoples lead Wossman on defense, that was so secret, but if you’re not from Monroe, you might not know his name, because he’s, not a big guy. When I watched this kid play, he brought it, he made tackles all over the field, and this kid was always finishing off tackles. Peoples is a great athlete, who can run with anybody on the field. I enjoyed watching this kid go back in pass coverage and guard Running Backs and WR’S, like a blanket. Grambling got them a future NFL player, this kid is the type of player that could lead a defense in college, and get up to 220, and still run 4.5 to 4.6 in the forty.
|Deonte Thompson – Evangel Christian|
6. Deonte Thompson – 6-2, 225 – 4.6/40 – Evangel Christian – Everybody talked about Evangels Defensive Line, Jackson and Rasco, but the leader in the middle of the defense and glue was stud Linebacker Thompson, who can run a 4.6 forty, has the height you look for 6-2, and can read with the best of them. Thompson to me is a raw kid, who has all the intangibles, and will reach his potential in college. McNeese State Cowboys, in Lake Charles, got them a NFL, true OLB, who will be a star in the Southland Conference. This kid could have easily signed with ULM, in Monroe, or LA Tech, or even Tulane.
7. Halston Hayes – 6-2, 218 – 4.6/40 – Cohen – The biggest OLB sleeper in the state is Halston Hayes. Cohen is not a school, where a lot of recruiters go watch football games, which is a mistake, because they had two of the best Linebackers own one team in all of Louisiana. I filmed this kid, more than once, and I’m just amazed, how fast, and big this kid is, and how lean he is for the next level. I saw ability for the SEC conference, when I scouted his team. Played on a team, where mostly same 16 players played both ways. I think that always affects a kid’s ability to show his full potential, when he’s so tired, and not getting to come out of the game. I was impressed in how Halston was full blast for 60 minutes.
8. Lynell Merrell – 6-3, 225 – 4.6/40 – Cohen – Merrell is another stud LB type from same school as Halston Hayes. Merrell played a lot of Tight End on offense, which wore this kid down, when it came time to play defense. I was super impressed, how fast this kid was, and Merrell caught some really good passes, and ran like a WR in open field many times. Watching this kid run on film at 225 pounds, he’s gifted, and if the right school, signs him, their getting a steal. This kid could be a 240 pound LB in college, and run in the 4.6 forty range
|Orrin Fontenot – Parkview Baptist|
9. Orrin Fontenot – 6-3, 225 – 4.69/40 – Parkview Baptist – Orrin played LB at University High on LSU campus and started as a freshman and SO. His final two years he played at Parkview Baptist, where he moved as a stand up DE in the front seven. As a senior Orrin was able to go back to his more natural position LB. You can tell, when he played LB on film, he looked like a college LB, tall, tough, and strong. When he was a DE, he did not feel as comfortable, but people ran away from his side a lot. McNeese State saw what I did, and that’s a kid that played a position for his high school team and never complained. Orrin is also the 3A state shot put Champion, and played a lot of TE & and FB in Parkview‘s Powerful offense. If Orrin stays 230 or 225, I think he will make a really good MLB in college, but if he gains more weight, he will become an athletic DE at 260 pounds, or more when done. He’s a great kid, and laid back off the field, but on the field he’s all out.
Sleeper Linebackers in 2010 class ( No order of rank)
1 Jovan Allen 6-0 200 Edna Karr MLB
2 Cody Warner 6-1 235 Riverside MLB
3 Kenneth Beaudoin 6-1 210 Alexandria OLB
4 Anwar Francois 6-0 205 Lafayette MLB
5 Quinton Salsbury 6-4 200 Grambling OLB
6 Paul Hunt 6-2 220 Central MLB
|Paul Hunt – Central|
7 Carlos Helm 6-0 200 Glen Oaks OLB
8 Chase Paul 6-1 220 Glen Oaks OLB
9 Colby Taylor 6-1 205 Franklinton OLB
10 Damion Dillion 5-11 210 Franklinton MLB
11 Curtis Tucker 6-1 210 East ST John OLB
12 Gary Hawkins 5-11 220 Istrouma MLB
13 Corey Middelton 6-0 200 Richwood OLB
14 Justin Young 5-11 220 Richwood MLB
15 Kris Rice 6-0 213 Mandeville MLB
16 Zackery Ferger 6-0 223 Mandeville MLB
17 Taylor Eads 6-0 213 Northshore MLB
18 Wardell Nelson 6-2 220 New Iberia OLB
19 Kenneth Eaglin 5-11 210 Carencro MLB
20 Christian Sager 6-0 210 St Fredericks MLB
21 Jontarius Easterling 6-1 215 Southwood OLB
22 Jarvis Collins 6-0 220 Lagrange MLB
23 Christian Bruhn 6-2 230 Pope John Paul MLB
24 Desmon Hill 5-10 205 Fair Park OLB
25 Gerald Turner 6-2 195 Alexandria OLB
26 Rashad Perry 6-1 225 O P Walker MLB
27 Paris Lamotte 6-0 213 Amite MLB
28 Lamarkitis Alexander 5-11 210 Richwood MLB
29 Jermiane Collins 5-10 190 John Curtis OLB
30 Tyler Gilbert 6-2 230 John Curtis MLB
31 Patrick Cox 6-0 225 Denham Springs MLB
32 Quinton Crowe 6-1 210 Ruston OLB
33 Brian Foster 6-2 205 Donaldsonville OLB
34 Giraud Hawkins 6-0 210 Edna Karr MLB
35 Jake Delcambre 6-0 210 Delcambre MLB
36 Ian Boudreaux 6-1 210 Acadiana OLB
37 Q Dareaus Lomas 6-1 215 East Ascension OLB
38 Ahmad Clofer 6-2 220 West Jefferson MLB
39 Jarrod Brown 6-2 220 West Jefferson OLB
40 John Paul Luckett 5-11 210 Catholic MLB
|John Paul Luckett – Catholic|
41 Jacob Kennedy 6-0 220 Denham Springs MLB
42 Aike Turner 6-1 220 Donaldsonville OLB
43 Phillip Helmstetter 6-1 220 Archbishop Rummell MLB
44 Matt Viator 5-9 210 ST Louis MLB
45 Cody Saucier 6-0 220 ST Michael MLB
46 Roland Houston 6-0 220 Redemptorist MLB
47 Blake Carter 6-1 220 West ST John MLB
48 Robert Lay 6-0 220 West Monroe MLB
49 Logan Hamilton 5-10 220 Barbe MLB
50 Andrew Auler 6-3 200 Comeaux MLB
51 Ryan Bruno 6-1 205 ST Michael MLB
52 Myles O Brien 6-2 197 Archbishop Rummell MLB
53 Jake Molbert 6-2 210 Notre Dame MLB
54 Darryl Williams 6-2 200 Alexandria OLB