Notes from New Orleans Combine

Close to 200 prospects from along the Gulf Coast region showed up at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility on Saturday for the All-American Combine.

Louisiana was well-represented in New Orleans despite the fact that junior/senior prom kept many of the top prospects in North Louisiana from attending.


The day began with registration from 10-11 a.m. and then the players hit the Saints' indoor facility to begin testing which consisted of measuring their height and getting their weight, timing them in the 40 yard-dash, the 20-yard shuttle and the 3-cone drill, and measuring their short broad jump and their vertical.


Once the testing was completed, the players hit the outdoor practice field and worked for a little over two hours on some one-on-one individual drills.


All of the testing results should be up by Tuesday night but here are some notes and observations on Louisiana prospects from the day's festivities.


Notes from New Orleans




A couple of quarterbacks that did some nice things out there were St. Amant's Josh Jordan, Alexandria-Menard's Alex Williams, East St. John's Alex Singleton, and the hometown boy Aldaro Russell of Higgins High School.


Jordan is a big kid with a strong arm and he showed good movement in the shuttle with a time of just under 4.0 seconds and later backed that up with a 4.66 (40).


He showed some good arm strength on his throws and had good footwork in his drops. If he can work on his technique and throwing motion over the next year he is someone that could see his recruitment take off.


Jordan wants to play quarterback at the next level but do not be surprised if some coaches talk about adding some weight to his frame and making him an H-back type of even a tight end.


Williams was another big kid that has some velocity on his throws and he definitely has the size that coaches are looking for. He is also a standout baseball player that will have opportunities to play at the next level so a determining factor in how much he will develop as a passer over the next year will be where his focus is?


Tennessee has already offered Singleton as a running back and despite the fact that he is a 2009 prospect. He may be forced to play under center during his junior season and if it runs out that way he should post some solid numbers. He throws a nice pass that is easy to catch and will only get better once he gets his footwork and mechanics down.


Russell worked out with the quarterbacks and he is one of those true dual-threat types that can make plays with his arm and feet.


Running Backs


There were at least six running backs that will sign D-I scholarships and all of them impressed the out-of-town coaches and scouts in one way or another.


Alonzo Landry is one of the top backs in the South and he posted 40-times of 4.53 and 4.56. He is very well put together and one thing you can notice with the Carencro product is he has some swagger. Swagger is not to be confused with being cocky because the young man is very humble but also very confident in his abilities.


Scotlandville Magnet's big back Brandon Bolden looks the part of a big-time back and it's only a matter of time before more offers come his way besides the one he already has from Baylor. He clocked in at a 4.47 (40) and that time would have been one of the tops by running backs had it not been for St. James' Luther Ambrose.


Ambrose ran a 4.29 and then turned around a few minutes later and ran 4.34 (40) that left several people looking around asking "Who was that?"


Ambrose is very thin and may not be able to handle the pounding at running back but he has some pretty good hands and should find a home somewhere especially in the return game.


Louisiana is going to be absolutely loaded with running backs for 2009 and three of the best graced us with their appearance in Leesville's Mike Ford, and the Dutchtown two-headed monster of Eddie Lacy and Kelvin York.


Ford is heading down the stretch in track season and he had some problems with his footing on the indoor surface. He still posted a 4.56 (40) on one run and was in the 4.5 range on the second one as well.


He was noticeably disappointed in his times because he wanted to run in the 4.4 range but with his combination of size and speed a 4.5 is plenty fast enough. This kid has all of the tools and you will be hearing a lot about him over the next two years.


With two outstanding running backs sharing the load, some coaches may find it difficult to keep them both happy but Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia doesn't have that problem with Lacy and York.


Both of these young men were very complimentary of one another in the brief time I spoke to them and from a physical standpoint they both fit the bill.


Wide Receivers


The thing that really stood out to most in attendance was the abundance and the quality of top-flight receivers.


This segment is going to focus on Louisiana prospects but there is no way one can mention the wide receivers without giving huge props to Ocean Springs (Miss.) product DeAndre Brown.


There has never bee any question on whether or not Brown passes the eye test but some have questioned his speed.


Those questions were answered when he posted a 4.53 (40) on his first attempt and then followed that up with a 4.52 (40). That was two very good times especially considering that most of the players had problems with the turf and it was a slow surface.


Brown looks exceptional from a physical standpoint and once he hit the practice field for one-on-one drills he showed why there is a very good chance he will be the No. 1 player in Mississippi for 2008.


He caught the ball well and looked very fluid in running his routes whether he was breaking them off on a slant or giving an inside move and then heading for the corner. He made some nice over the shoulder catches where he had to adjust to the ball and made a couple of nice grabs when he went up and pulled it down at its highest point.


Destrehan's Timothy Molton looked so smooth in the one-on-one drills from the second he broke off the line. It didn't matter it he was running a curl, a post, or a corner route. He caught the ball well with his hands and you can tell he has been coached well and has benefited from attending camps and combines over the years. Some receivers had to be schooled on coming back to the ball rather than waiting on it but not Molton.


Another wide out from the River Parishes that turned a lot of heads was Hahnville's LaRon Byrd especially after his 4.53 (40). He said he measured in at 6-3 and weighed in at 210 pounds, and after seeing him up close I have no reason to doubt his word.


Byrd is a physical specimen with extremely big hands and a big upper body. The one thing you could tell is that he has not had a lot of exposure to camps where he got a lot of work on running his routes and you can tell that he is a little more raw than Molton and Brown.


But, while he may not be as polished as the other two, Byrd has just as big of an upside. He looked good on everything that went downfield but when he had to cut his routes off he looked a little stiff. When asked what he felt like he needed to work on the most after Saturday, he replied, "Definitely my footwork."


Some project that LSU commitment Jhyryn Taylor will end up playing corner for the Tigers but he worked out exclusively with the receivers. One thing that really stood out with the Franklinton native was his competitiveness.


That was not all, though, as Taylor was very quick out of his breaks and ran some good routes. It's obvious that he has had a lot of good coaching over the years as his routes were sharp and precise and he showed good quickness.


Desire Street Academy product DeAngelo Peterson was another one that looked big and had some good wheels. He did drop a few passes in the individual drills but made up for them with some nice grabs where he went up and caught the ball over a defender.


Two sleeper prospects that should see their stock rise a lot over the next few weeks is Leesville's Allen Muse and Bogalusa's Rayshawn Harris. Both have good size and did some nice things in the individual drills.


Muse made a couple of real nice over the shoulder grabs and looks to be more of a deep threat than I initially gave him credit for.


Harris was all about the effort and was technically sound. His footwork is something that set him apart from others and gave him a big advantage whenever he made a break as he was sharp with all of his routes.


Offensive Linemen


The offensive linemen worked out indoors and I did not spend a lot of time watching them go up against the defensive linemen but the time I did spend was well worth it.


Dallas Thomas of Baton Rouge-Istrouma checked in at 6-6, and weighed 260 pounds. The big tackle prospect needs to add some weight to his frame but there is no questioning his agility as he turned in some of the better times amongst the o-linemen.


Slidell's Dyron White and the Higgins tandem of Leonardo Bates and Kermit Tyler showed why they are being recruited by so many schools.

White has that frame to add a good bit of weight and the wingspan to play tackle. The two Higgins boys were both big and massive, and have guard written all over them.


The Class of 2009 may have stolen the show with the big guys in the trenches as Mansfield's Chris Davenport, East St. John's Patrick Lewis, Berwick's Sean Marcell, and Northshore's Chris Faulk all looked the part of solid D-I prospects and they still have another year to grow and get stronger before the recruiting process really begins.


Davenport was a late arrival and spent some time working out on both sides of the ball. The late arrival did not hurt his stock as late in the day many were trying to figure out how they did not know anything about him.

When word got around that he was only a sophomore most of those same people were in a state of disbelief.


One scout even hinted that he would be surprised if Davenport was not the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana for 2009. Obviously, it's way too early to say that he will be the state's top prospect but he will not be flying under any radars after this weekend.


Lewis moved well for someone his size and looks like he will have a future home at guard. Tennessee has already offered him but there will be plenty of more coming his way down the road.


Berwick is not known for producing D-I players but Marcell will draw plenty of attention over the next two years. He measured in at 6-2 but by the time he is finished growing he will likely be in the 6-4 to 6-5 range based on the size of his father and brothers.


The prospects did not get to bench during the testing and that is an area that Marcell excels in as he recently maxed out at 325 pounds. Needless to say, he was a little disappointed but not for long as he turned in some good times in the pro shuttle and in the 40-yard dash.


Davenport is another underclassmen that has a bright future and looks like he is a year ahead from where he actually is. He knows how to use his hands well and showed good vertical movement.


Defensive Linemen


Vandebilt Catholic's Joel Ross participated in the testing part of the combine but had to leave before the individual drills got under way because he has prom later that night. One look at the big man is all it takes to see that he is a big clog in the middle.


You may not have heard much of Shakeil Lewis up to this point and that is because he is only a sophomore but you will hear plenty on him once his junior year comes to an end.


Lewis has a good frame to play defensive end and looks like he is going to be a menace coming off the edge once he learns to play with his hand on the ground.




Many of the state's top linebackers for 2008 were not in attendance due to scheduling conflicts but 2009 prospect Kendrick James of O. Perry Walker showed up.


When O. Perry Walker head coach Derek Lamothe tells you that one of his kids is going to be a big-time prospect you can take his word on it. It's tough to get a true gauge of a linebacker you've never seen before in pads but after watching James run and do some things indoors I can't wait to make the drive down to New Orleans during the upcoming season to watch him play.


Defensive Backs


The collection of receivers was as good as it gets and the defensive backs that went up against them were impressive in their own regard.


Brandon Taylor, who is Jhyryn Taylor's brother and also committed to LSU, drew a lot of praise from the defensive backs coach. He was singled out several times for his technique and for his ability to stay with the receivers whenever they ran anything to the middle of the field or on the deep routes. He showed the ability to change directions quickly and has very quick hips.


All of the defensive backs that went up against DeAndre Brown one-on-one were at a disadvantage due to his size and strength but that did not stop one in Neville's Ted Holley.


Holley shadowed Brown on a crossing route staying on his hip the entire time and when the ball was thrown he broke on it and picked it off. It seems as if every time Holley went up against a receiver he was matched up against it was someone much bigger but in the end it was Holley that ended up making the play.


There were a few players that really helped their cause on Saturday and Holley was definitely one of them.


Catholic of New Iberia's Ryan St. Julien also showed some good cover skills in the one-on-one drills and is someone that will be getting some strong looks when college coaches hit the road this week.


Overall, the combine was a big success and several players that flew in under the radar did not leave that way. will have much more on the New Orleans Combine over the next few days so be sure and check back.


Note** This is just an overview of some of the Louisiana prospects but there is no way that we will cover all of them in this segment. Be sure and check back during the week for more notes and interviews with the players from their experience in New Orleans.



Tiger Blitz Top Stories