Lee Brecheen’s Recruiting Recap: Nicholls State University
by Lee Brecheen and Jace LeJeune
As all 12 Louisiana college teams are currently participating in spring practices, that could mean only one thing and that is the upcoming college football season is approaching near. As we continue to wait the days before fall practice, for the next three weeks, we will recap the National Signing Classes for all 12 Louisiana collegiate football teams. Today, we will recap the National Signing Class for the Nicholls State University Colonels. The Colonels are continuing to get better and better each season under Head Coach Tim Rebowe. One year after making the FCS playoffs, Rebowe led the Colonels to not only another FCS playoff appearance, but also a playoff win and more importantly, a Southland Conference championship to go along with a very impressive 8-3 record. For the football program, this was only the fourth conference championship in school history. Not only are the Colonels making a statement on the field, but they are also making a statement in recruiting having one of their best classes in program history especially signing some of the best talent in Louisiana from this past year. Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting expert Lee Brecheen has watched all of the Louisiana high school signees featured below at one point. Whether it is watching full game film or seeing them in person, Brecheen has gotten the chance to see a lot of these signees play. In today’s college recruiting recap, Brecheen takes a dive in the Nicholls State football program as he gives out his top four talented high school signees, top college transfers, sleeper players to keep an eye on, and also, his final thoughts on the entire signing class in general!
Lee’s Overall Thoughts on Nicholls State’s Signing Class:
“This was the best recruiting class that Nicholls State has had in over 20 years from a Louisiana standpoint, a talent standpoint, and to getting players they wanted. This is what winning does. This is what back to back winning seasons does for you. Now, Nicholls State can get players they used to not be able to get. Tim Rebowe is getting the job done and it’s scary that if these guys develop, this team can be seriously good. I don’t see why not as this staff has done a really good job of not only recruiting, but developing these players. Their recruiting class is the best among the Louisiana Southland Conference teams in terms of getting in state players, and it has to be among one of the best in the Southland Conference in general. They have signed a lot of players that could go to a number of DI schools and play. There are five potential NFL guys in this recruiting class, and you have to go back to the 1980’s and 1990’s with then Head Coach Sonny Jackson the last time you said that. I am not shocked, but I am happy that Nicholls State was able to sign some guys that they couldn’t get in the past.”
Lee’s Top Four Talented Louisiana High School Signees In Nicholls State’s Class (In No Particular Order):
DT/DE Christopher Welch
Bio: For a guy like Christopher Welch, it is pretty hard to get overlooked, but that was the case as a lot of attention was on his teammates Kardell Thomas (LSU) and Tyrion Davis (LSU) respectively. Still, Welch showed on the field what kind of talent that he has. As a senior, the Louisiana Football Magazine preseason 2nd All-South Louisiana team selection finished with his best season yet recording 86 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks. Welch has accomplished a lot for a quite that was relatively quiet compared to his teammates. Over his prep career, Welch was named All-State honorable mention twice and received All-District honors three times. Before signing with the Colonels, Welch had a couple of DI offers on the table, but in the end, it felt like it was the right decision to stay in state.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “I believe Christopher Welch is the best signee in this recruiting class talent wise. He is LSU good. He was an underrated guy with Kardell Thomas and Tyrion Davis being heavily talked about. LSU could be saying down the road why they haven’t taken this guy. He can move for his size as he runs just under a 5.0/40 at around a 4.9/40 to be precise. At 6-4, 270 pounds, he looks like a SEC lineman and will be a heck of a player for Nicholls State.”
SS Jarius Monroe
East St. John High School
Bio: Jarius Monroe is a very interesting prospect from East St. John High School. At 6-1, 190 pounds, he has the versatility and toughness to play in the box or play in the secondary. Monroe, who was also a Louisiana Football Magazine preseason 2nd team All-South Louisiana team selection, was a defensive beast for the Wildcats over his prep career. In his junior season, Monroe broke out onto the scene with eight interceptions while returning two for touchdowns, 48 tackles, and three fumble recoveries. He followed his junior campaign with a strong senior year posting 76 tackles, four tackles for loss, eight pass breakups, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one defensive touchdowns. Before signing with the Colonels, the three star prospect had other offers from Western Kentucky, Southeastern, Northwestern State, McNeese State, Idaho, Ball State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and Southern.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Jarius Monroe was as good as any strong safety that I saw play in the state last season. He really blossomed at East St. John, and I really do think that he is a NFL guy.”
OG Leonard Hickman
Many High School
Bio: Leonard Hickman was a part of a strong senior class at Many High School, which produced four other DI signees this past year. Hickman was a huge reason on why the Many rushing attack was so successful over the past couple of seasons. Whether it was AJ Carter (Arizona State), Shacori Williams (Army), or even Ni’Kendrick Carter (FIU) running the football, Hickman would be the one to open the running lanes. The three time All-District and All-State lineman had other offers from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Georgia State, Lamar, New Mexico State, Grambling State, and Southeast Missouri State before signing with the Colonels.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “I saw Leonard Hickman play at Many in person, and he is a phenomenal player. He can play guard or center, and I think he is ready to go in and play right away. He is a NFL guy as well.”
TE Levon Williams
John Curtis High School
Bio: Levon Williams helped lead the John Curtis Patriots to their 27th state championship title, but first since 2013. Williams was a versatile player for the Patriots as he played both wide receiver and tight end during his prep career. Even though Williams did not play the majority of his senior year, he did make most of his opportunities. Before signing with the Colonels, Williams’ raw talent drew the attention of Idaho, New Mexico State, and Northwestern State, which all also offered him.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Levon Williams is a big sleeper at tight end that hardly played his senior year. At 6-3, 220 pounds, Williams runs a 4.6/40. He is once again another guy that could potentially be a NFL guy.”
Lee’s Top College Transfer (Including DI and Junior College transfers):
SS/OLB Derrick Munson
Archbishop Rummel High School
Bio: The Former Archbishop Rummel star prospect and Arkansas Razorback Derrick Munson has decided to go back in state and transfer to Nicholls State. Munson is another name in a long list of former Raiders to come and play for the Colonels. This is a huge pickup on the defensive side of the football for Coach Tim Rebowe and his staff considering the background Munson had. During his prep career for the Raiders, he won many awards including being named Defensive Player of the Year on the New Orleans Advocate All-Metro team, making the LSWA Class 5A All-State team, and Defensive Player of the Year in the Catholic League. In only two seasons, Munson showed he was a defensive playmaker by posting a combined 280 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, six sacks, and seven interceptions. On National Signing Day, Munson chose to sign with the Arkansas Razorbacks over the Louisville Cardinals. In two years as a Razorback, Munson saw game action in 16 games posting 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack. Now, Munson will bring his versatility to the table as he can play either safety or linebacker.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “The best transfer in this class for Nicholls State is Derrick Munson from Arkansas. He is a former Rummel strong safety and played a lot for Arkansas. He should start Day One for Nicholls State and could be a potential All-Conference player. He might even become a NFL guy because at Arkansas, the team just did not have a lot of team chemistry last year.”
Lee’s Top Sleeper of the Class:
DE Perry Ganci
Jesuit High School
Bio: Jesuit High School’s defensive stud Perry Ganci is another example of how well Nicholls State has done getting former players from the competitive New Orleans Catholic League. Ganci was also a prominent wrestler at Jesuit winning two state titles, and he brought those wrestling moves to the football field where he used them against opposing offensive tackles. It was a smooth transition as he not only dominated on the mat, but he also dominated on the field receiving 1st Team All-District, All-Metro, and All-State honors. The talented two sport athlete also received a lot of recognition by Louisiana Football Magazine by being on the front cover of the South Louisiana preview edition as well as making the preseason 1st Team All-South Louisiana team. Ganci finished his senior season with 91 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 30.5 tackles for loss.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “The sleeper of the class has to be Perry Ganci. He reminds me of Sully Laiche, who is a current star defensive player for Nicholls State and played at Lutcher High School. Like Sully, all the big DI schools past him up, but all he did during high school career was dominate and had double digit sack seasons. He will be that guy for Nicholls State again once Sully is gone.”
Lee’s Other Key In-State Signees From This Year’s Class:
QB Andrew Robison
Vandebilt Catholic/Hahnville High School
Bio: Andrew Robison had to miss the majority of the season after being ruled ineligible by the LHSAA, but luckily, got to finish off the rest of the season thanks to an appeal that led him to play the final three games of the season. In that final three game stretch, Robison showed Tiger fans a glimpse of what he would have brought to the table if he would have played a whole season. Before transferring to Hahnville High School, Robison was one of the best young quarterbacks in the state playing for Vandebilt Catholic. The two time Class 4A All-State honorable mention will come down as one of the best players to ever play for the Terriers throwing for 5,872 yards and 69 touchdowns. Robison has signed with the Colonels on National Signing Day and looks to become the heir apparent to current QB Chase Fourcade (Archbishop Rummel).
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Andrew Robison, who only played three games last year at Hahnville, is the future at quarterback for this program. He has got a really good arm, and I really like the fit of him potentially taking over Fourcade once he graduates.”
DE Elijah Reames
Catholic High School (B.R.)
Bio: Elijah Reames is another talented defensive end product to come out of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, LA, and now has a chance to form a potential pass rushing trio with fellow signee Perry Ganci, and Christopher Welch. Reames broke out onto the scene as a junior leading the Bears to its second Division IV state championship in three years with 53 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and three blocked kicks. As a senior, he racked up another 72 tackles 28 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks once again leading the Bears to the state championship game.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “I thought Elijah Reames was a phenomenal defensive end at Catholic High School. His senior year was not as good as his junior year just because there was a lot of attention drawn to him and he was double teamed. He could be another great pass rusher for Nicholls State.”
DT Dillion Davis
Ascension Catholic High School
Bio: In a day of age where there are a lot of players that decide to play on only one side of the football, Dillion Davis proves that guys can still play on both sides as he did so at Ascension Catholic. Davis was a huge reason why the Bulldogs had one of their best two year runs in program history by going to the Division IV state championship game for two straight years. The two time All-District selection ended his great prep career with the Bulldogs making 93 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and three fumble recoveries as a senior. Davis is also the fourth Nicholls State signee to appear on the front cover of Louisiana Football Magazine’s preview South Edition Issue joining the likes of Elijah Reames, Perry Ganci, and Andrew Robison. Before signing with the Colonels, Davis received other offers from ULL, Tulane, Texas State, Arkansas State, Southern, and Southeastern.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “These in-states signees will develop like Dillion Davis, who was a defensive tackle at Ascension Catholic. He has a chance to improve and become a really good player at Nicholls.”
OLB Ja’Mel Cooley
George Washington Carver High School
Bio: Ja’Mel Cooley quietly had one of the best seasons for a defensive player especially in the New Orleans area this past season after being named as the district’s defensive MVP as well as Class 4A and All-Metro selection. Cooley has had a decorated prep career on the defensive side of the football for the Carver Rams racking up 320 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, an interception, and even scored on a pair of touchdowns. Before signing with the Colonels, Cooley had four other offers from Grambling, Kansas, South Alabama, and Southeastern.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Ja’Mel Cooley, from Carver, is going to play some outside linebacker at Nicholls State. He can run as he has really good speed.”
DE Caleb Jackson
Zachary High School
Bio: If it was not for sophomore WR Chris Hilton’s heroics and at the end of the Class 5A state championships game and QB Keilon Brown’s huge game, we could be talking about Chris Jackson as the MVP of the state championship title game at Zachary. All Jackson done was be a part of winning teams as he helped lead the Broncos to back to back Class 5A state championship victories. Now, Jackson will try to carry on that winning attitude to another recently successful football program. The All-State player totaled 135 tackles, 11 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles during his tenure. A defensive line that features the likes of Jackson, Elijah Reames, Perry Ganci, Dillion Davis, and Christopher Welch could be a nightmare for opposing offenses to come in the future.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Caleb Jackson is a phenomenal player. He was arguably the MVP in the state championship game just by how much he controlled West Monroe’s offensive line. He is quick, and in the Southland Conference, Caleb has a chance to become and All-Conference type of player.”
DE Chris Thomas
Evangel Christian Academy
Bio: Just when you think that Nicholls’ signing class on the defensive line could not get any deeper, they also get Chris Thomas from Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, LA. The two time 1st Team All-District selection learned under former Evangel Christian Academy great and LSU defensive lineman Byron Dawson, who served as his head coach during his prep playing days. Thomas, who was a team captain on last year’s semifinal team, finished his senior season with 55 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception, and even scored on a defensive touchdown.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Chris Thomas was a rare North Louisiana signee for Nicholls State from Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport. Nicholls does not sign a lot of players from that area, but he is a player that I saw play. He battled some injuries, but he was also a very talented player. At 6-1, around 255 pounds, he could run a 4.8/40. Again, he is another guy that could play in the SEC.”
CB Jordan Jackson
Dutchtown High School
Bio: Jordan Jackson was going to be the guy that the Dutchtown Griffins were going to count on the most last season, and for the most part, he did produce. In fact, Jackson was on his way to having one of those special type of seasons. In his first four games, he recorded an incredible six interceptions on defense along with recording four touchdowns and forcing one fumble. Then, in Week 5, Jackson went down with an unfortunate season ending injury. It was a huge loss for the Griffins as not only did they lose their best player, but also a versatile player that can play on defense, offense, special teams, and can even play a little quarterback. Fortunately, Jackson has recovered well from his injury and expects to compete for early playing time this upcoming Fall. Before signing with the Colonels, Jackson received other offers from McNeese State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and Midwestern State.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Jordan Jackson is going to make a heck of a cornerback for Nicholls State. He can run with 4.45/40 speed, and can also potentially have a NFL future.”
*(Make sure to visit our website tomorrow when we recap the Tulane Green Wave’s 2019 recruiting class!)
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