The state of Louisiana placed four athletes on the initial Class of 2007 Rivals100 list released Monday.
Making the list were John Curtis 5-star athlete Joe McKnight at No. 14, Southern Lab's standout safety Chad Jones at No. 35, Sterlington wide receiver Ahmad Paige at No. 91 and West Monroe defensive lineman Will Blackwell at No. 100.
It's the most Louisiana players in the Rivals100 since 2004 when there were also four Pelican State offerings. There were five Louisiana players in 2003 and six in 2002, the first year for the Rivals100. For the record, the Rivals100 rankings for past years were postseason rankings whereas the 2007 list is a preseason sorting and could change significantly between now and the end of the season.
McKnight is the highest-ranked Louisiana player since St. Martinville's Early Doucet finished the 2004 season ranked No. 3. East St. John's Ryan Perrilloux was ranked No. 16. Elton defensive lineman Al Woods was ranked No. 20 last season. In 2003, Neville quarterback Robert Lane was Louisiana's top-rated player at No. 32 and in 2002 Barbe running back Justin Vincent was tops at No. 58.
McKnight's positioning, while quite a feat, is a little lower than what we at PelicanPreps.com were hoping. We nominated him as the No. 1 player overall and had great highlight video to sell our argument. But there are a lot of good players in this country, so to get the 5-star rating and be mentioned with the best in the country is worthy of his talents.
Jones actually fared better than we thought he would even though we do believe he is clearly the second-best player in the state. What we were concerned about – and what kept Jones from garnering 5-star status – was the lack of good highlight video on Jones at the time the final Rivals100 was being put together. PelicanPreps.com has since secured some video on Jones and forwarded it to Rivals.com's headquarters. We're in the process of getting more.
Blackwell was ranked much lower than we would have liked to have seen him and Paige did far better than we thought he would. Actually, for the upcoming PelicanPreps.com 100, Blackwell is solid No. 3 overall in the state with players like Lutcher's Rolando Melancon, West Monroe's Luther Davis, Southern Lab's Earl Patin and Patterson's Tarence Calais perhaps being ranked ahead of Paige.
So which Louisiana high school has produced the most Rivals100 players? Well, that's up for debate. St. Augustine, Barbe, Evangel Christian and John Curtis have all produced two apiece. However, Jones – whose older brother Al Jones made the Rivals100 in 2005 – would be playing at St. Augustine had his family not been displaced to Baton Rouge by Hurricane Katrina. Jones and his family have decided to stay in Baton Rouge Rouge and for Chad Jones to finish his senior year at Southern Lab.
St. Augustine did not play football last season after Katrina, but plans to field a team. There appears to be much instability, though, considering the schools still has not hired a coach.
Counting the Class of 2007, 17 of the 25 Louisiana Rivals100 players have come from schools with Class 3A attendance or larger. However, five of the last seven have come from schools with attendance of Class 2A or lower.
LSU fans who have their hearts set on this year's four Rivals100 players from Louisiana should feel pretty good right now. Since 2002 there have been 21 Louisiana players make the Rivals100 and the Tigers have landed all but five. One of those five, Evangel's Chase Pittman (Class of 2002), eventually transferred to LSU while Amite's Lester Ricard (2002) transferred from LSU to Tulane.
Rivals.com plans to start releasing state rankings on June 19. PelicanPreps.com plans to unveil its Top 100 sometime before that.
58. Justin Vincent, Barbe … LSU
67. Lester Ricard, Amite … LSU
76. Akieem Jolla, St. Augustine … Miami-Fla.
81. Chase Pittman, Evangel Christian … Texas
83. Jonathan Wade, Evangel Christian … Tennessee
99. Kyle Williams, Ruston … LSU
32. Robert Lane, Neville … Ole Miss
41. Nick Child, Rummel … LSU
42. Alley Broussard, Acadiana … LSU
66. Carnell Stewart, John Curtis … LSU
87. LaRon Landry, Hahnville … LSU
3. Early Doucet, St. Martinville … LSU
47. Glenn Dorsey, East Ascension … LSU
71. Ryan Miller, Barbe … LSU
72. Marlon Favorite, West Jefferson … LSU
16. Ryan Perrilloux, East St. John … LSU
61. Al Jones, St. Augustine … LSU
94. Nic Harris. Alexandria … Oklahoma
20. Al Woods, Elton … LSU
50. Charles Scott, Jonesboro-Hodge … LSU
97. Jared Mitchell, Westgate … LSU
14. Joe McKnight, John Curtis … ?
35. Chad Jones, Southern Lab … ?
91. Ahmad Paige, Sterlington … ?
100. Will Blackwell, West Monroe … ?