On the last weekend of the high school football season, West Monroe was back in the Dome.
Defensive linemen James McFarland played a big part in the success, finishing fourth in tackles (57) on a defense littered with FBS talent. He had a three-sack game in a 34-7 win over Neville, and he combined for 3.5 sacks in games at Southwood and Natchitoches Central. His biggest game, a win over Westgate on Dec. 3, came on a night where he finished with 10 tackles and a season-high 3.5 sacks.
Now that colleges are focused on the Class of 2012, McFarland is beginning to get a feel for where he stands with each program that is on his radar.
“I’m getting lots of mail, but I’d say my top schools from the ones that are interested would be LSU, TCU, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and Alabama. Those schools have invited me to Junior Days and camps and stuff like that.”
With an offer in from Louisiana Tech, McFarland now has his sights set on reeling in the rest.
“My parents and I will be going over to the TCU Junior Day first,” he said. “I think they are going to offer me when we get over there. Everyone is telling me that I like TCU because Chuck (Hunter) signed there, but I look at the whole package and the players they have coming up and see a good opportunity.
“I will probably camp at a couple of places. We haven’t set anything up yet, but we usually get to places with the team.”
McFarland joined head coach Don Shows and a number of his Rebel teammates in Baton Rouge when they camped at LSU last summer, giving him a first-hand look at what it would be like to dress out for practice on The Ponderosa.
Now that it has come time to be recruited by the Tigers, McFarland has his eyes set on a scholarship from Les Miles.
“It’s just an honor to be mentioned as someone they are recruiting, but an offer would be unbelievable,” said McFarland. “They have had a lot of guys from West Monroe go down there, so that would be big to get an offer and have that chance.
“I talked to coach (Steve) Ensminger a few weeks ago about things, and they will get up here to see us in the spring. I went down there for Junior Day and really loved it. My principal came with me. I had some good talks with the coaches and liked everything I saw. Now I’m excited to show them how I look this summer.”
After working with CES last summer McFarland will be back into a similar training environment this spring.
“My explosion got a lot better working with them and I feel like I can continue improving and getting into better shape if I start going back to that,” he said. “I am at 6-foot-2, 240-pounds right now and feeling great, but I’m coming off knee surgery so I want to make sure I am back to where I was.”