by Lee Brecheen
|Kenneth Santa Marina – McDonogh #35|
May 14, 2012 – I will break down the top Offensive Tackles in Louisiana that have the most upside for College football because of great feet, hand eye coordination, technique, strength, toughness, ability to pull and block downfield, and finally the ability to pass block and run block in high school. The players who can play both OG and OT for college and run and pass block equally will get the higher grade from me.
Some of these kids will get better after the 2012 season and improve as both pass blockers and run blockers and some will not. It depends on what type off season these kids have putting in the hard work for a tough upcoming football season in 2013.
I watched over 10,000 hours of film of these top players last year for this class and a lot of these kids the year before. We filmed a lot of all kids statewide so I feel I can really tell the public who the true top players are overall because I’ve seen these kids play several times from all the high schools in Louisiana.
Lineman are hard to grade and rank compared to skill players who are always scoring touchdowns and making plays. You actually have to watch the same play three times because it’s so easy to concentrate on the skill players and you really have to see what happens at the line of scrimmage down after down to see a kids potential.
My rankings have nothing to do with anyone else’s and I feel like I will always give the public the true rankings of a kid’s ability as if they got it from a college coach. What I found with Kenneth Santa Marina and Josh Boutte is they don’t have a weakness in athletic ability; they have many gifts. The key is for these kids to keep working hard and not back off of what got them here which is their hard work and commitment to get better every day.
Here are my rankings for Offensive Tackles only in Louisiana, and I will go over why for each one. Some kids who you think are Offensive Tackles for College that play Offensive Tackle in High School will not be in this story, because they’re Offensive Guards for College. We will have Part 2 – Offensive Guards and Part 3 – Centers later in the week.
1-A.) Josh Boutte (6-5, 310) – Westgate High School
All I can say is wow! This kid comes off the ball so quick, and I’ve seen him hit two to three defensive players within 4 seconds of the snap and move them downfield like it’s done in the NFL. Josh plays Offensive Tackle for his High School. The reason he’s ranked 1A on this list is because his run blocking and pass blocking is more advanced than anyone in the state of Louisiana right now. This kid can do both equally and what’s so impressive for a 6-5, 305 pound kid is he can bend his legs as a pass blocker with great strength and throw rushers to the side like they’re 100 pounds. When the team runs, this big kid can go downfield like he’s a small Tight End in balance and quickness. Westgate always plays teams with really good Defensive Lines with size in 5A. Josh is gifted enough to play OG or OT in college. When I asked Josh about his strengths he said, “I never give up. I play every play as if it’s the 4th quarter. I hate losing, and I’m hard on myself with football, so when we lose a game as a team I personally work 10 times harder for next week’s game.” I asked Josh what he thought about the whole recruiting process. He said, “I love the attention I get with recruiting. I never get tired of it, and it encourages me to live up to the attention and work even harder.” I’ve never seen a kid this size this gifted ever come out of the Lafayette area for Offensive Line. Josh is committed to LSU.
1-B.) Kenneth Santa Marina (6-5, 325) – McDonogh #35 High School
Like Josh Boutte, Kenneth has the hop in his feet, as they say wow in recruiting. He’s like a RB when it comes to coming off the ball, and he has the strength of a big time DI lineman when it comes to taking out anything in his way on run blocks. Kenneth’s pass blocking is better than anyone in the state right now, except Josh Boutte, and to tell you the truth it’s close. Kenneth has incredible strength when it comes to any Defensive Lineman trying to take him on face to face on the line, and Kenneth will win that battle every time. Kenneth is the best big guy pulling downfield for his size that I’ve ever seen come out of this state. To show you how good Josh Boutte and Kenneth Santa Marina are LSU’s La’el Collins from Redemptorist High School who has a chance to be a future 1st Round pick in the NFL would be possibly be ranked third in this Class on this list as an offensive lineman. That’s how good they are. I love how mean Kenneth is when you watch him play down to down and pancake some big kids. An interesting note to keep in mind is that Kenneth goes against 280 to 300 pound Defensive Tackles every week in his district. That will get you DI ready. He’s gifted enough to play either OG or OT in college. I asked Kenneth where he wants to play in college, and he said, “I want to play in the Southeastern Conference and the reason is because I want to be challenged by the best players.” We also asked Kenneth what he thinks of recruiting, and he said, “I think recruiting is great, and I’m enjoying it.” About his strengths as a player, he said, “I think my strengths are Agility and Pass/Run blocking.” This kid is the most complete Offensive Lineman I’ve seen come out of New Orleans in a long time. As far as colleges go, right now, a lean Alabama.
2.) Jason Stewart (6-4, 330) – Warren Easton High School
I’ve seen this kid play several times in two years, and every time I see this kid line up he just destroys players on the defensive line on pass and run plays. What’s so great about this kid’s upside for a guy 330 pounds is his ability to bend his legs and get low for pass blocking. He’s so good about fighting off players rushing from the outside of pass plays because he has great hands and feet. You can tell he’s super strong too in his upper body and lower body. I have seen this kid pull for run plays and hop on his feet. Something else I love seeing from him is he gives 100 percent effort all the time meaning he doesn’t take many plays off blocking. His competition is teams like McDonogh #35 and St. Augustine High School that both have really big and mobile Defensive lines across the ball. I think he’s big time DI and a big time sleeper only because many haven’t seen as much film as me. Jason is committed to Tulane.
|Jordan DePrang – Calvary Baptist|
3.) Jordan DePrang (6-5, 290) – Calvary Baptist High School
Here’s a kid with good feet who is a great pass blocker because of his hands and technique and he will get stronger in college. He needs to work on his run blocking, but he gets to run block a lot because the team is balanced pass to runs in the offense. I love his effort and technique. When it comes to pass blocking you rarely ever see him get beat by anyone. When he gets his hands on you it’s usually over. If Jordan improves his run blocking downfield he can become a big time DI player. He’s a great kid in person and a very mature young man. We asked him about his strengths, and he said, “I pride myself in my ability to anticipate the rusher’s strategy, knowing where my opponent is going, and his tendency and speed before the snap. Watching opponent film and adjusting my technique weekly helps me get one step ahead of my opponent. My size, strength, and film preparation make for frustrating nights for rushers.” I asked him what he needs to work on and he said, “For college level, foot speed and flexibility are what I am focused on. In addition to spring and summer workouts, I have a weekly personal trainer preparing me for college football.” I asked Jordan what colleges he likes and why and about the recruiting process and he said, “I have received a bunch of letters during my junior year. I wallpapered my entire bedroom with my letters, so I’m reminded that God has a plan for me. It is an honor to see my name on letters from schools like LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and Nebraska. I want to go where I can get a valuable education and most importantly where God leads me.”
4.) Josh Thomas (6-6, 325) – Evangel Christian High School
Josh looks like Kenneth Santa Marina in height and size, but he just needs to come off the ball with more aggression and quickness for run and pass plays. This kid has as a lot of talent from an upside stand point like a Marina or Boutte, but he just needs to show his full potential in 2012 on the field. At times he looks like an All American in pass blocking. It was also hard to see this kid’s full run blocking ability because they did not have a great stable of running backs in the 2011 season. This year they do, so we should see a much better year from Josh Thomas. If he improves this year he will move up, and could play on Sundays one day if he does. I had a chance to meet him this spring and he’s a great kid. He’s committed to Houston, but will probably take more visits in the fall before it’s said and done. I asked Josh what he likes about football, and he said, “Playing the game of football is the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s taught me how to be a man and become a true leader.” I asked him why he committed to Houston so early, and he said, “Committing to Houston was a great thing not just for football but for my future education.” I asked him what he thinks he needs to work on as a player for 2012 season. He said, “I plan on working on the little things like footwork, power, and speed in the offseason. I strongly believe my bread and butter of my game is my pass protection. I also need to work on my running game and just become a beast this season.” I asked Josh what he thought of the recruiting process so far, and he said, “The recruiting process is fun. I have committed to Houston University, and I believe the offense will fit my playing style perfectly and help improve my run blocking skills.” I asked Josh if he was done with recruiting. He said, “I’m solid to Houston right now, but I could be open to other schools possibly.”
|Jeremy Arnold – Holy Cross|
5.) Jeremy Arnold (6-4, 285) – Holy Cross High School
This kid has it to become a really good DI OT or OG in college. That “it” is toughness and strength. When you watch Jeremy play you see a talented big kid who loses very few battles pass and run blocking because he’s so strong and tough at the point of attack. There are times where his hands, feet, strength, aggression, and smarts are there for blocking. Jeremy just needs to be more consistent and work on getting lower on run blocks and pass blocking. I think he’s a big time DI player, and if he improves in these areas he can be a great one in college. I just love his tenacity on the field. He was born to play OL.
6.) Patrick Kliebert (6-7, 285) – Archbishop Rummel High School
Here’s a kid that waited his turn to start in 2011 for the first time and you could tell at the beginning of the year he was trying to learn how to play OL. When I saw this kid play later in the season (two more times), he really came on with his pass blocking and run blocking. If he has a great off season and puts on some more weight he will be even better. When he fully understands how to play the OL and when it all comes together, he could be special in the end. When you watch this kid he’s so good with bending and getting low naturally for blocks, and he has great hands for a big OT with really good feet. This kid is so lean too for 285 pounds, and I really mean that. He could weigh 320 pounds and still look lean. I’m excited to see how good he will be in 2012 because he only played a lot for the first time in 2011. His pass blocking is way ahead of his run blocking. This kid will be an OT for college and a good one.
7.) Jeremiah Guillory (6-4, 360) – Hamilton Christian High School
This kid is a sleeper, and there’s no other way to say it. I have this kid ranked here because when you see a kid that moves likes he’s 250 pounds, you notice it and remember it. If Jeremiah loses just 15 pounds it’s scary to see how quick he would be as a blocker. I’ve seen him pull for run plays and get downfield which is very impressive. He needs to work on pass blocking, but again I think that will improve once he gets in better shape for college.
Here are other Offensive Tackles that I project for colleges in Louisiana to keep an eye on. If these kids improve they will move up too. These are 2013 Class seniors only.
- Jimmie Sims (6-4, 290) – McDonogh #35 High School
- Zachary Collins (6-4, 265) – Northshore High School
- Devon Gautreaux (6-4, 260) – Salmen High School
- Curtis Killian (6-6, 255) – Sulphur High School