Top bayou talent on display tonight

An amazing display of top talent can be found around the state of Louisiana tonight. Read further for a list of prospects to watch in the 4A semis, including analysis from recruiting analyst Hunter Paniagua...

The Neville Tigers and Karr Cougars have seemed destined to meet in the 2012 state finals since the two met in last year's title game, won by Neville.

Although Karr lost several impact players due to graduation, head coach Jabbar Juluke also welcomed back a stunning group of returning talent.

Five-star DE Gerald Willis, four-star CB Noel Ellis (Texas A&M commit), four-star WR/QB Devante Noil (pictured below) and four-star TE Standish Dobard (Miami commit) are the headliners but there's many more Cougars to watch such as 2014 LB Donnie Alexander and senior DT Titus Charles.

"I've seen Neville and Karr play this year," Recruiting Analyst Hunter Paniagua said. "Aside from John Curtis, I'd say they're clearly two of the best teams in the state.

"Karr has the most BCS talent of any school, and it shows. They had a sloppy game offensively against St. Aug last week (Karr prevailed, 28-12), but their defense was able to pretty much shut down Leonard Fournette, who's probably the best running back in the nation."

The second-seeded Cougars (12-0) are giving up less than a touchdown per contest.

"Gerald Willis and Noel Ellis are supreme talents," Paniagua said.

Karr challenges local program Holy Cross (10-2) and 6-foot-4 WR Kevin Spears.

Top-seeded Neville (12-0) hosts huge underdog McDonogh #35 in Monroe.

"For Neville, John Diarse is probably the best athlete I've seen play this season," Paniagua said. "He's the player I'm most excited to see on the college level, just because of all the great things he can do in high school, and I can't wait to see how that translates to the college game."

A four-star senior LSU pledge, Diarse has thrown for 1,500 yards with 17 TDs and only three interceptions. Last week vs. Vandebilt Catholic, Diarse completed 8-of-16 for a staggering 314 yards and three TDs.

Underclassmen Andre Fuller II and Kavonte Turpin have made big contributions at the offensive skill positions for head coach Mickey McCarty, and 2013 RB Salarrious Jones has been a productive force in the backfield for years.

On defense, Neville's secondary has five-star junior Laurence Jones (6-2, 215). During a recent interview, Diarse applauded the efforts of LBs Ashley Johnson, Josh Coleman and Ashari Goins.

21st-seeded McDonogh #35 doesn't have a gaudy record but the Roneagles were No. 4 in the preseason.

The Roneagles have given Neville tough playoff battles in the past.

Utah commit Carlos Henderson (RB/WR) and offensive lineman Kenneth Santa Marina are the marquee McDonogh names.

Speedy Noil photo credit to Steve Robertson

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