East Jefferson a treasure trove of talent

East Jefferson coach Henry Rando will have a wealth of football talent to draw upon come fall, and it couldn't be more evident than the amount of attention four of his players have been getting from Division-I college programs.

"It's kind of scary," Rando told Tiger Rag. "I've been coaching 35 years, and I've never had a four guys on one team recruited as much as these guys. It's unbelievable how recruiting has gotten so national. It's crazy."


The four include three defensive players and a tight end that have ended up bound by a commonality — the fact that each has become an early hot commodity for college football coaches. The bind included a road trip the four took to a camp in which they drove themselves there and back again.


"This is a group that drives, believe it or not," says Rando. "It was amazing. I could not believe that they left here on a Friday after school, and the four of them - by themselves - drove up to Auburn."


The most highly spoken of by Rando is Fernandez McDowell, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound cornerback that transferred to East Jeff from Rummel just after the semester break.


"I know he's very high on the LSU list," Rando said of McDowell, a Catholic-league all-district selection last season. "Because the day before he transferred here, coach Saban was sitting in the coaching office at Rummel."


Rando didn't have McDowell's official statistics, but said McDowell told another source that last season he had 23 solo tackles, 19 assists and six interceptions. He lists Miami as his No. 1 choice and LSU second.


Defensive tackle Luis Hernandez (6-2 1/2, 288) has already received an offer from Stanford, Rando said, and is "really impressed with them."


Due to the Cardinal offer, grades are obviously not a problem for Hernandez. He has a strong core grade-point average and according to Rando if he can score a 25 on the ACT and keep his grades up, Stanford will officially offer and ask him to commit early.


Hernandez recorded 53 solo tackles, 23 assists and 2 1/2 sacks last season. He runs a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash, bench-presses 325 pounds and squats 525. He lists Stanford as his first choice, followed by LSU. Oklahoma and Baylor have also shown interest in the young defensive lineman.


LSU fans may take heart in knowing that there may be a sequel to Trev Faulk looming in LSU's future.


"His idol is Treverance Faulk," Rando said of James Alfred, a 6-3, 210-pound middle linebacker. "They converse with each other weekly. (Faulk) and James became good friends last summer, and they have either talked on the phone or written all year long."


Alfred led the Warriors defensively last season, racking up 58 solo tackles, 48 assists and two interceptions.


"When James was a freshman, we played Lafayette High two straight years, so we got to see (Faulk) first-hand as a junior and senior," says Rando. "(James is) very similar to Faulk — their mannerisms, the way they play on the field, the way they're built — very similar."


In the weight room, James benches 245 and squats 345. In class, he carries a core 2.5 GPA that, according to Rando, will definitely improve.


"He's getting better (academically)," Rando said, "because he's really gotten serious due to the fact that a lot of schools are showing interest in him. You know how kids are. They wait till the last minute. Fortunately, he's in a good enough situation that he's going to be able to project and do fine."


Other teams showing interest in Alfred include Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and, on a limited basis so far, Tennessee.


Teammate Glen Sins (6-4, 230) is another prospect doing well in the classroom. The tight end carries a 2.8 GPA and scored a 15 on the ACT as a sophomore. He runs a 5.0 in the 40 and last season nabbed 13 receptions for 324 yards five touchdowns.


"Glen made all-district, but not all-Metro at tight end," Rando said. "The kid from St. Augustine (John Doucette) was (All-Metro). That kind of upsets me. Sins ‘out-statted' the other guy in every category.


"I'm not one to question media, but when I saw the other kid's stats, I wondered. (Sins) had more catches, yards and TDs. They told me, ‘The other guy won because he was a senior.' I just don't go for that. What if he breaks a leg the first game?"


Sins, who has received interest from both Texas and Texas A&M, also contributes to the running game and is an extremely adept blocker. Rando says that some programs may even consider him as a small offensive tackle, although "Glen may be a tough sell on that," he warns.


"(Sins') dad is an LSU graduate and is an LSU nut," Rando said, "and I don't mean that derogatorily. You know what I'm talking about. He loves the program."


Both Alfred and Sins list LSU first on their interest list, and both have a number of Southeastern Conference schools noted, as well.

According to their coach, all four kids could definitely contribute on the Division I level. All of them attended LSU's Junior Day and were very impressed.


"They were impressed with LSU in the way its camp was run and also with who was there, as far as other kids," said Rando. "They've also been to junior day at Auburn, Ole Miss and Tulane."


All four athletes will take the ACT on April 6.

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