Scoping the State: Defense

Last week I took a look at some of the Bayou State's top prospects on the offensive side of the ball and there were some good ones to keep an eye on for the Class of 2005. <br><br> This week I want to look briefly at the other side of the ball where championships are won—Defense.

Everyone knows how deep the state was last year with quality defensive tackles and this year there are a lot of defensive ends that will be playing Division-I football down the road.


New Orleans-St. Augustine has one who is already getting a lot of attention in Alfred Jones (6-3, 240, 4.8). Jones already has offers from Miami, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. He has excellent quickness off the ball and will be a menace to opposing offenses in 2004. LSU and UCLA currently lead for his services.


Staying in the Crescent City, Abramson High School has Alonzo Horton (6-3, 210, 4.7) who has a linebacker's body right now but once he gets in a college strength and conditioning program he will put on some weight and probably move to the end as an outside pass rusher.


Moving up to North Louisiana you'll find a pair from rival schools in Evangel's Zach Schreiber and West Monroe's Matt Slocum.


Schreiber is a 6-foot-3, 225 pounder who could play end or linebacker and Slocum is a 6-foot-5, 240 pounder who could easily grow a little more before he heads off to college. Slocum's older brother Andy is a seven-footer who played basketball at Texas A&M but the Aggies could have their work cut out for them because of the pipeline LSU has with West Monroe.


And don't forget Bastrop's standout linebacker Rogers Loche. At 6-1, 225, Loche may be a bit shorter and heavier than the new age linebacker, but he does have good football speed and will play major college football – somewhere. However, he might not fit the mold LSU likes, though he is a Bradie James clone.


LSU has already secured a commitment from defensive tackle Lyle Hitt (6-3, 280, 5.0) of Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist. He has good quickness and athleticism that allowed him to also play fullback and he will get some reps at tight end during his senior season.


A defensive tackle that has already picked up three offers is Boutte-Hahnville's Rashad Roussel (6-2, 260, 4.9). He reminds many of former LSU All-American defensive tackle Anthony "Booger" MacFarland due to his size and impressive strength.


Ruston product Thad Waters is also getting his fair share of interest from college coaches and the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder is another good one from the Bearcat program. Look for a big senior season to bring a host of scholarship offers for this young man.


St. Augustine is loaded with Division-I talent and defensive tackle Seth Adams (6-3, 285, 4.8) is one of them. He will get his shot at making a name for himself in 2004 after playing part-time as a junior.


Louisiana is not very deep with linebackers but there are some good prospects to keep an eye on.


Parkview Baptist's Derry Beckwith (6-1, 205, 4.5) was one of the first pledges for the Class of 2005 for Nick Saban and the LSU coaches love his ability to make plays. He has very good speed and a nose for the football which the coaches are looking for out of linebackers in Saban's scheme.


Thibodeaux-E.D. White's Chris Clement has not had a chance to play his natural position which is linebacker due to filling other holes on E.D. White's defense but that has not stopped coaches from noticing his potential. He is very unselfish and he has good speed to go with his 6-foot-1 243-pound frame.


Clement's uncle is the late Eric Andolsek who was an All-American offensive tackle for LSU and Clement hopes to follow in his footsteps in more ways than one. Like Andolsek, Clement is known for his strength and his aggressiveness on the gridiron.


Robert Russell from New Orleans-L.B. Landry is a quick undersized linebacker at 6-0, 205, but he has great speed with a 4.5 forty time. He could end up playing in the secondary because of his speed and he models his game after NFL All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis.


Earlier I stated that Louisiana is not very deep in linebacker prospects but that statement could be a little misleading because there are several big physical safeties that could easily make the transition to linebacker in college.


Heading the list is Port Barre's Chris Keys. He verbally committed to Nick Saban in person after he visited LSU's Junior Day. After taking a day to think about it and to talk to his high school coach, Keys decided LSU was the best place for him.


At 6-2, 210 and 4.5-speed, Keys has the physical tools to play either strong safety or linebacker. Former LSU safety and SAM linebacker Eric Alexander could have started a trend by moving from his safety spot and Keys could also do the same.


Another pair of big rangy safeties to watch is Jennings' Gary Riggs and Alexandria's Nick Harris.


Riggs (6-3, 205, 4.56) could commit to the Tigers as soon as an offer is extended although he says he wants to take some visits. Harris (6-3, 210, 4.6) has an offer from Texas A&M and once Saban has a chance to see him in action during the spring evaluation period the Tigers' head man just might extend an offer.


The lone out-of-state commitment for LSU as of now is LaMarque free safety Clarence Ward (6-1, 185, 4.5). Ward is rated as one of the top safety prospects in the Lone Star State and he turned down several scholarship offers before committing. He will play quarterback during his senior campaign which is a good sign because he should not have any problems playing that role in the Tigers' defense.


Walker's Chris Hawkins is another Tiger pledge for 2005 and he is expected to come in and play cornerback. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds and he impressed the Tiger coaching staff with his ability to turn on the ball at one of the summer camps he attended.


Just like with the offensive prospects I mentioned in an earlier story these are just some guys to keep an eye on.


I'll be profiling most of the state's top recruits and as I run across others I will be updating them and having them put in the database.


Next week I will take a look at some of the players from around the state who are not getting as much attention right now but that will when they have the chance to attend combines and summer camps.

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