Lee Brecheen’s Recruiting Recap: Southern 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 Southern University Jaguars. The Jaguars are coming off a great season. Not only did the Jaguars post a winning 7-4 record, but they also defeated rival Grambling State in the annual Bayou Classic, and by doing so, played for the right to play in the SWAC Championship game. Even though the Jaguars ultimately fell in that game losing to Alcorn State, this is still a fresh sight for the Jaguars fans as the team clinched its first SWAC West title since 2014. Now, for Head Coach Dawson Odums and the Jaguars to continue on their recent success, they must get good production from not only its veterans, but also the talented incoming high school signees and college transfers that are coming into the program. 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 Southern football program as he gives out his top four talented high school signees, top 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 Southern’s Signing Class:
“I think Southern’s recruiting class is a product of Louisiana being just so deep this year and having a lot of players being overlooked. I think Coach Dawson Odums has done a really good job of finding players that fit his system. He is getting back to finding kids in New Orleans, which is ultimately good for Southern. I thought signing some key Louisiana guys was really big for them. They need local guys to come in, and they got to build these guys for the future so future teammates would want to join the guys already on the team. They need to get back to doing that, and I think that they have done that this year.”
Lee’s Top Four Talented Louisiana High School Signees In Southeastern’s Class (In No Particular Order):
RB Travien Benjamin
St. Martinville High School
Bio: Quietly, over the last couple of seasons, Travien Benjamin flew under the radar as one of the best running backs in Louisiana. Benjamin played a major role in leading the team to its best season since 2005 with a 12-1 record. Wherever the St. Martinville offense had gone, that is where Benjamin went as he was the team’s bell cow with over 4,000 yards and 55 touchdowns in his prep career. The All-State running back may be only 5-9, but his blend of vision and power makes him a big time steal for the Jaguars. Before signing with the Jaguars, other colleges such as Houston, Navy, Nicholls State, Tulsa, and Tulane were all pursuing him in the end.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “I believe that Travien Benjamin is the best player in this signing class for Southern. He is actually their best running back signee in many years. I saw him play this year out of St. Martinville and I think this kid is going to be phenomenal for them and their program. I think he is good enough to play at some DI schools, and I also think that he can play in the SEC. He almost carried the team to the Superdome this past year. Watching him play, he is just a phenomenal running back. He is a powerful guy and looks bigger than what he is at 5-9, 190 pounds. Benjamin is so powerful, elusive, and so good with his feet that he runs like a SEC starting running back. This guy may come in and start right away for Southern. In my opinion, he may be their best Louisiana signee overall in several years.”
SS Bertrand Carrell
Madison Prep Academy
Bio: In speaking of big time pickups, the Southern Jaguars struck the gold mine again with signing Bertrand Carrell out of Madison Prep Academy. Considering that Carrell had other offers from Jackson State, Arizona, Tulane, South Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas State, Alabama State, ULL, Southeastern, Colorado State, and Memphis, it is impressive that he decided to sign with the Jaguars. It is even more impressive that even LSU was even close to offering the three star safety. During his prep career, the Louisiana Football Magazine 2nd Team All-Louisiana preseason selection was involved with participating in track and field events for his school at the conclusion of football season.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “I believe that Bertrand Carrell from Madison Prep could be a starter for Southern. If not right away, he could potentially start in only his second year. At around 6-1, 200 pounds, he is a big time hitter and at one point, LSU almost offered him. He has got some offers from some big programs so this is a very good pickup for Southern.”
DE Jaylon Ned
Washington Marion High School
Bio: In the state of Louisiana, you won’t find as many raw and athletic gifted players like Jaylon Ned. At 6-6, 240 pounds, Ned comes from a basketball background and only with just a few seasons playing football, he has shown what he is capable of doing. After being offered by schools such as Jackson State University, Grambling State University, Houston, Tulane, ULM, ULL, Northwestern State, Nicholls State, Prairie View A&M, and others, it really came down to two schools one being Southeastern and the other being Southern. At one point, Ned even committed to the Lions of Southeastern, but after reflecting on it more, decommitted and committed to the Jaguars. A big reason for his commitment and eventual signing was wanting to be a part of a team that competes for SWAC championships and maybe one day becoming an All-SWAC performer. As talented as he is, the sky is only the limit.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Jaylon Ned is a big time developmental defensive end. Ned is a former basketball guy that has only played two years of football at Washington Marion. Watching him play, he was as tall as the Eiffel Tower. He even looks taller than 6-6 because he is longer than he is tall. He has got a lot of weight to put on. If he ends up putting that weight on, he can become a NFL player while maybe moving to play on the offensive line. He can move for his size and is a big time pickup for Southern.”
WR Kiaeem Green
Warren Easton High School
Bio: Just like Edna Karr High School, Warren Easton High School has also become a high school known for producing a lot of great athletes in the New Orleans area and Kiaeem Green is no exception. At 6-3, 185 pounds, Green’s frame and athleticism drew the attention of many colleges. At one point, Green committed to play for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs before decommiting and then re committing as well as ultimately signing with the Jaguars. Green may have not a lot of catches during his prep career, but he took advantage every time he did get a reception. Out of his 26 receptions in a three year span, nine of those catches went for touchdowns, and also, he averaged over 17 yards a catch. Green was one of the seniors to lead the Eagles back to a Class 4A state championship appearance in the Superdome where they fell to the Cougars of Edna Karr.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Kiaeem Green, from Warren Easton, is a big time receiver. Again, it was very important to get back to getting players in New Orleans and Kiaeem was as good as any receiver not only in that area, but also in the entire state last year. He will be a guy that will get a lot of playing time next year.”
Lee’s Top College Transfer (Including DI and Junior College transfers):
DE Marlon Young
Opelousas High/Georgia State
Bio: The Southern Jaguars have not only been racking up in the high school ranks, but in the college transfer ranks as well with their pickup of former Opelousas High and Georgia State defensive end Marlon Young. During his high school career at Opelousas High School, Young turned heads as early as his freshman year in high school starting the whole season. From there, he became a two time 1st Team All-District, 1st Team All-Parish, and an All-State selection. Young was also praised by Brecheen when he was named to the 1st All-South Louisiana preseason team and also making the front cover of the South Louisiana preview magazine edition back in 2017. From there, Young signed with the Georgia State. After only a year with the Panthers, Young decided to back to his home state and transfer to Southern University.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Marlon Young is a big time transfer from Georgia State and played his prep football at Opelousas. He is a guy that is going to come in and start right away. He maybe should have signed with Southern in the first go a round, but it is hard to turn down an offer from a DI school. Marlon is going to do some good things.”
Lee’s Top Sleeper of the Class:
FS/SS/OLB Anthony Shaffer
Southern Lab/Central High School
Bio: Even though Anthony Shaffer spent his final year of high school at Central High School, he missed the entire 2018 season. Fortunately, the Southern Lab transfer did more than enough with the Kittens in order to get his name out there to colleges. In fact, before signing with the Jaguars, Shaffer had offers from Idaho, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, SMU, ULM, and South Alabama. Shaffer is a versatile defensive back. At 6-0, 200 pounds, Shaffer has the versatility to play in the back end of a defense to play the pass as well as play in the box to defend the run. He along with Carrell can potentially make up a great defensive backfield for the Jaguars.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “The biggest sleeper of this class is Anthony Shaffer from Central High School. He was originally at Southern Lab and missed his senior year. If he didn’t miss his senior year, he probably would have signed at the DI level, but Southern gets this kid because he was hurt. He is going to end up being a big time safety or outside linebacker. He might end up growing to an outside linebacker. I mean the guy is 6-0, 200 pounds and runs a 4.45/40. The Jaguars should be glad that he fell into their lap, but I am glad they got him.”
Lee’s Other Key Signees From This Year’s Class (Including Both High School Signees and College Transfers):
WR T.J. Bedford
St. Paul’s High School/Texas State
Bio: Like Marlon Young, T.J. Bedford is another talented college transfer that originally played his high school football in Louisiana, transferred to an out of state DI program, and transferred back in state to Southern. The former St. Paul’s High School product really broke out in his senior year with 63 receptions for 893 yards and 12 touchdowns while receiving 1st Team All-State honors. His big senior year drew the attention of colleges such as Texas State, Northwestern State, Southeastern, and Nicholls State ultimately choosing Texas State in the end. After two years with the program, Bedford transferred back to his home state to play for Southern.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “TJ Bedford, from St. Paul’s and Texas State, has a chance of being a really good flanker for the Jaguars. He is a tall kid and is unbelievable when the ball is in the air.”
OC Ketaj Castillo
John Ehret High School
Bio: Ketaj Castillo was part of one of the biggest offensive lines in the state at John Ehret High School. Being the anchor of the offensive line, Castillo helped lead the Patriots to a Class 5A semifinal appearance last season. Castillo did get some attention from other schools such as an offer from Jackson State, but decided to sign with the Jaguars in the end.
Lee’s Scouting Report: “Ketaj Castillo is a true center, and Southern does not usually sign true centers. They usually move guards to center, but he is a guy that can come in and play. He is a strong guy that I saw play on an offensive line that averages 290 pounds across, but he was the best technical player of that group.”
*(Make sure to visit our website tomorrow when we recap the Nicholls State Colonels’ 2019 recruiting class!)
Hey football fans. Like our recruiting interviews, stories, and other content on our website? Click on our website daily to view articles on recruits, coaches, and so much more at our website: http://lafootballmagazine.com/. Also, we have exciting news that for the second straight year, we will have our North and South LA issues and both are now out! Both issues will continue to cover all the Louisiana colleges as well as all the high schools in state, but there will be 16 pages that will focus on North Louisiana as well as South Louisiana. For more information, please check the following link to where you can find the magazine in a store near you. Also, below are the two covers as well as where you can order both magazines on our website.
North Cover: South Cover:
North Link: http://lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-north-edition/
South Link: http://lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-south-edition/