Louisiana Class A Preseason Top 10 Rankings

Last year, the White Castle Bulldogs and RB Tyre Bracken reigned supreme over Class A. With Bracken - who rushed for 3,000 yards in 2010 - back in the fold, will White Castle repeat? How about Central Catholic, which features standout all-purpose athlete Lloyd Grogan? Will Ouachita Christian and WR Mark Laird go from state runner-up to state champ? Find out here...

1) Central Catholic (Morgan City, La.) - LAST YEAR: 11-2 (lost in the quarterfinals to Oberlin) -- The Eagles are loaded for a run at the Superdome. Their top prospect, Lloyd Grogan, is a three-star player who mans the running back, linebacker and safety positions. Grogan, who reports offers from Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Tulane, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Tennessee and Pitt, among others, recorded nearly 70 tackles and rushed for 700 yards last year. Teammate Jovon Johnson is another two-way (RB/LB/S) star. As a junior, Johnson collected 64 stops with 10 TFL and five sacks. Junior WR/S Dontrell Brown has a bright future. Brown (6-1, 180) was all-state as a freshman. Over the past two years, he's accumulated over 1,300 yards receiving. On defense, Brown picked off eight passes in '10. QB Josh Singleton, another junior, amassed almost 2,000 all-purpose yards with 33 touchdowns. The Eagles have two huge games on deck to start the season. In week one, they'll face Loreauville, which is a Class 2A Top 10 team. The following week, CCMC hosts defending Class A state champ White Castle.

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Tyre Bracken
2) White Castle (White Castle, La.) - LAST YEAR: 12-3 (state champion) -- The Bulldogs lost ATH Ronald Martin to LSU, but their amazing RB, Tyre Bracken, returns for his senior campaign. Bracken, who holds offers from Memphis, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss, gained 3,000 yards last year. While he's not a big back (5-7 to 5-9, 180-190 pounds), Bracken is simply too much for most high school defenses to handle. Solid as a rock (355-plus bench press), Bracken bounces off most defenders. He outdueled the state's leading rusher, Cedric Skinner, in a 20-0 semifinal win versus Oberlin. In that game, Bracken ran for 276 yards and all three of his team's touchdowns. Gerad Carlin (6-1, 270, Sr.), an All-State performer in 2010, returns on the offensive line, along with All-District offensive tackle Dedrick Gore (5-10, 260, Sr.). All-State DB Isaac O'Bear is a leader in the secondary. In the state championship win over Ouachita Christian, Shaquille Armstead recovered an errant snap in the end zone for a crucial touchdown.

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3) Ouachita Christian (Monroe, La.) - LAST YEAR: 11-4 (state runner-up to White Castle) -- OCS got off to a tenuous start last year, losing its opener (to Mangham) and three of its first five. The Eagles, however, rebounded for a torrid run of nine consecutive wins and a berth in the Class A state championship. Along the way, OCS blew out Haynesville (in the Tors' own house), 55-26. Furthermore, the Eagles - in the semifinals - made the lengthy drive into hostile South Plaquemines and ousted a Hurricane squad that included four-star WR Bradley Sylve (Alabama signee). QB Paul Michael Garner has graduated, but the school's most prolific WR ever -- sure-handed Mark Laird -- returns for his senior campaign. In 2010, Laird amassed an amazing 1,755 yards receiving with 17 TDs. He also averaged almost 10 yards per punt return and 28 per kickoff return. Another senior ('12), Josh Greer, ran for nearly 700 yards with seven touchdowns, including an 11-carry, 107-yard effort vs. Haynesville. Braden Bristo, the apparent successor at QB, racked up 635 combined yards (rushing and receiving). Bo Harper is one of the top six tight ends in the state, and he may be even better on the defensive side of the ball. Senior offensive lineman Zach Tarver has at least one FBS scholarship offer. Sophomore Ahkeem Henderson is an exciting player to watch. He averaged seven yards per carry in 2010 and scored twice against Haynesville. The top three tacklers on defense all return: Bristo (114 stops), Jacob Cannon (127) and Jon Michael Livingston (152). Josh Wilkes, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end, is another bona fide college prospect.

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Ronnie Feist
4) West St. John (Edgard, La.) - LAST YEAR: 5-6 (lost in the first round to White Castle) -- The Rams have talent, starting with four-star DE Ronnie Feist. An LSU commit, Feist plays with his hand in the dirt for WSJ, but he's probably going to move to LB up the river in Baton Rouge. The Rams never duck anybody, and last year's schedule proves it. WSJ's five losses were to 5A Bonnabel, 2A power St. Charles Catholic (now 3A), 2A power Donaldsonville (now 3A), 5A West Jefferson and Class A state champ White Castle (twice). The Rams gave White Castle trouble, losing 12-6 in district and 12-0 in the postseason. Feist will have to step up his game even more to offset the departure of LB Darzil Washington, who is now at Texas A&M. On offense, young RB Jeremy Jackson is a candidate to rush for 2,000 yards. All-District center Jonathan Sandolph will open holes for Jackson. Jarius Moll (Honorable-Mention All-State) was listed as an '11 grad in media reports, but that's evidently incorrect: the WR/DB will reportedly be a senior this fall. West St. John has an opportunity for a monumental upset in late September when O.P. Walker (4A semifinalist) visits. In that game, Feist will lock horns with future LSU teammate Dwayne Thomas (four-star DB/WR).

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5) St. Mary's (Natchitoches, La.) - LAST YEAR: 11-1 (lost in the second round to Southern Lab) -- The Tigers are led on offense by the senior tandem of Steele Merritt and Darion Porchia. Merritt, who starred at wide receiver last year before an injury (broken leg) prematurely ended his season, could move to QB to replace All-District signal-caller William Breland. Porchia (RB and kick returner) has been an All-State performer for the past two years. He scored five touchdowns last season vs. Lakeview. All-District offensive linemen Nick Takes and Cody Platt both return. The 2010 District Defensive MVP - LB J.W. Methvin - will also be back.

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6) Oak Grove (Oak Grove, La.) - LAST YEAR: 7-5 (lost in the second round to South Plaquemines) -- All-State RB Erving Craft (5-10, 150) should get plenty of carries for the Tigers. Look for Craft to perfect his craft behind the blocking of All-District offensive lineman Romeo Stalling. All-District DB Deon Hale, a junior, leads the secondary. RB Jacob Pippen (6-2, 220) is the "Mr. Inside" to Craft's "Mr. Outside." Big things are expected from LB Chase Hemphill and DB Dylan Jones. The Tigers will miss the deep threat posed by departed WR De'La Mayers.

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7) Kentwood (Kentwood, La.) - LAST YEAR: 6-4 (lost in the first round to Southern Lab) -- The Kangaroos had a ton of youth on the 2010 roster and it showed, as legendary head coach David Currier's squad dropped three of its first four games. Kentwood bested district rival Southern Lab in the final contest of the regular season, only to lose the following week in a postseason rematch with the Kittens. All-District performers Jay Nichols (6-2, 265) and Torandon Wilson (6-2, 245) should have great success on the offensive and defensive lines. Wilson is only a junior. DeMarco Diamond is an electric kick returner. LB Rodney Williams could be the key to the defense.

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8) Haynesville (Haynesville, La.) - LAST YEAR: 9-3 (lost in the second round to Ouachita Christian) -- The Golden Tors are still angry after getting blasted at home (55-26) by Ouachita Christian in the playoffs. Haynesville just doesn't give up 55 points "behind the oil derricks." RB Trevor McGee should get the lion's share of the carries in head coach David Franklin's run-oriented offense. Wingback Levert James is another speedy weapon. DeMarcus Jackson is a dual-threat QB who was a big factor in the Tors' 2009 state championship. Haynesville could rack up some nice power points in week five with a win over Class 5A Natchitoches-Central.

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9) Block (Jonesville, La.) - LAST YEAR: 9-3 (lost in the second round to White Castle) -- Trevor Vault, son of the head coach (Benny Vault), will call signals once again for the Bears' Double-Wing offense. RB Vashawn Davis (140-1124, 8-plus yards per carry, 9 TDs) should easily eclipse the 1,500-yard mark, now that Preston Bowman (1,400 yards) has graduated. Davis (6-119) was also the leading receiver in 2010, although the Bears generally frown on the forward pass. Coach Vault will have a hard time replacing his other son, three-time All-State selection Trey Vault. Denman Evans (6-4, 265) must stay healthy (missed past of last year due to injury) for the Bears to make a deep playoff run.

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10) St. John (Plaquemine, La.) - LAST YEAR: 5-6 (lost in the first round to Country Day) -- I had the Eagles pegged as the preseason No. 1 last year in Class A, but a season-ending injury to star RB/LB Warren Bates (Louisiana Tech signee) put a damper on things. With Bates out of the lineup, the Eagles lost four in a row after a 2-0 start. RB Davante Williams, a senior, is one of the most underrated players in Louisiana. OL/DL Nathan Voisin must have a breakout year, in order for St. John to maximize its success. Wesley Boss and Casey Jones are both stalwarts on the line.

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ON THE BUBBLE:

Southern Lab - Kittens could get a big boost if Redemptorist transfer J.R. Harris decides to come out for football. Safety Kameryon Brown is a hard-hitting surefire college prospect. Graduation ravaged the roster of "The Lab."

Mangham - Dragons drop down from Class 2A and could be a contender if RB Shaquille Ausberry remains injury-free. Rayville transfer Artez Nichols could pay dividends.

Elton - Big OL Patrick Jacobs will have his way with the vast majority of undersized defensive linemen on the Class A level.

Westminster Christian Academy - Does any coach maximize his talent better than Tommy Badon?

Delhi Charter - RB Riccie Gray is gone. Can the Gators reload or will they rebuild?

Country Day - Cajuns never seem to have any big names, but they always win.

Oberlin - What does the post-Cedric Skinner era hold for the Tigers?

Cedar Creek - OL Karl Malone has an Alabama offer.


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