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December 4, 2012
Louisiana catching up to neighboring Texas
Every year Texas and Louisiana produce some of the finest recruits in the country, and every year college coaches make their way to both states in search of the finest.
Year in and year out, Texas is usually going to be deeper, but when it comes to the talent at the top, Louisiana can hang with anyone. Because the two are neighboring states, there is often a debate about whose best is better. When it comes to the 2013 recruiting class, there is a case being made for Louisiana.
Texas may have more numbers in the Rivals100 than Louisiana, but those numbers are down from years past.
"Texas usually has anywhere from three to five five-stars alone and easily hits double digits in the Rivals100, but this year there is one five-star so far and they barely made it to 10 in our second-to-last Rivals100," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.
How far down is the state of Texas?
"I think Georgia is in the big three this year ahead of Texas, and Louisiana is probably where they usually are, in that second tier," Farrell said. "Georgia, Florida and California are on top, followed by the next group of Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina and Alabama.
"It's rare when Texas is relegated to that second group overall, but I think, at least at the top, Georgia is better this year, and when was the last time Texas had only one five-star prospect? Not in our rankings history."
There are quite a few question marks when it comes to the top prospects in Texas.
"Of course they have more five-stars than Louisiana and more players in the Rivals100, but will Derrick Griffin and Ricky Seals-Jones be tight ends eventually? Does A'Shawn Robinson have too much of a bust factor? Will Darius James and Deoundrei Davis be injury-prone? Is Tyrone Swoopes even a quarterback? There seem to be a lot of questions about the Texas prospects this year that we don't have in other years."
Of course, there are two sides of the coin. While one may see a player without a true position, another may see versatility.
"It has been known for quite some time now that there were some questions about the positions of some of the top guys in Texas, but that is not necessarily a bad thing," Rivals.com Southwest recruiting analyst Jason Howell said. "There was thought A'Shawn Robinson was better suited for offensive tackle at one time, and there are still those who wonder where Ricky Seals-Jones and Derrick Griffin will end up playing on the college level. Darius James has lined up at offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle for his team. It could be a concern, but it is also rare to see that kind of versatility out of big guys."
Injuries have been an issue with many top prospects in Texas.
"I don't know if I can recall a season when so many of the top prospects went down with injuries," Howell said. "Darius James missed most of his senior season, Deoundrei Davis went out with a knee injury late in the season, and everyone saw what happened to Ricky Seals-Jones on national television. Seals-Jones was able to come back, but even when he came back he injured his ankle and wasn't 100 percent. Those are all high-profile guys who missed significant portions of the season."
It is not all about Texas, though. Louisiana has some special talents stating its case. The state does not boast a five-star prospect at this point, but Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks cornerback Tre'Davious White is close.
"Tre'Davious White is a tremendous playmaker with or without the ball in his hands," Howell said. "He is more physical than he gets credit for and has tremendous athleticism and ball skills. He was not named a five-star, but he was in the discussion."
"Smith is one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the country, and Tim Williams has dominated the competition he has faced and posted outstanding sack numbers," Howell said. "Then you have Beckwith, who is one of the more versatile big men in the country. LSU likes him at linebacker, but he was fun to watch at quarterback this fall."
Even with all the questions about the talent in Texas, it is tough to go against the Lone Star State, at least for now.
"It's clear that it's still a better year in Texas than Louisiana. That will always be the case, but I'll be curious to see if that remains the case at the top of the rankings when they get to college," Farrell said. "I think you can make a case for the top Louisiana prospects projecting as well as the top Texas prospects for this year at least."