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Spiegelman's Takeaways: Recent commits, top targets shine in The Boot

Sage Ryan
Sage Ryan (Sam Spiegelman)

Rivals regional analyst Sam Spiegelman spent two weeks in Louisiana covering five games in an eight-game stretch that includes recent commitments to LSU, Florida State, Memphis and major targets of Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Florida in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes.

Spiegelman was on hand for games in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Here are some major takeaways, a stock report and new prospects that caught his eye.


MORE: Five-star OL Bryce Foster 'on the right path' toward a decision

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series



Lafayette Christian vs. Notre Dame

Sage Ryan played sparingly last Friday night in an area showdown against Notre Dame, but on offense and defense the nation's No. 3-ranked safety showed up in a big way. Ryan was dynamic under center with multiple touchdowns toting the rock. He was equally as impressive on the defensive side of the ball, where he came up with a chilling fourth-down tackle to force a turnover on downs and flashed excellent closing speed on a handful of pass break-ups covering real estate on the back end of the defense.

Ryan, who committed to LSU over Alabama on Halloween, is a big-play threat on both sides of the ball. In a game where he played limited minutes, Ryan produced 201 total yards on offense with three scores along with several tackles, a batted-down pass-turned-interception and piled up yardage in the return game. Ryan has put himself squarely into that five-star discussion as one of the top defensive catalysts in the nation.

Ryan's secondary mate, Brylan Green, is enjoying a strong junior season. He impressed on multiple occasions. Despite a thin frame at about 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Green plays downhill and does not shy away from lowering his shoulder. He also puts himself in good positions to make plays against the run as well as the pass and is quick to diagnose plays. Green corralled two interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter, for LCA.

Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Mississippi State are among the teams after Green, who is one of several playmakers in this LCA secondary.

St. Augustine vs. Edna Karr

In a very unusual offseason, Byron Turner reshaped his body and added more strength and explosion, and it's showing. The Florida State defensive end commitment overcame a slow start against powerhouse Edna Karr and had multiple sacks in the second half, including some game-sealing pressures to close out the St. Augustine victory.

Turner is nothing if not persistent. He makes second and third efforts to get after the quarterback and has been versatile enough to line up inside as well as outside to create mismatches up front. Turner was at his best coming out of a two-point stance and disruptive when he made contact. We credited the future Seminole with three sacks, three more pressures and a forced fumble.

On the other side of the ball, it was a second look at 2022 Karr receiver Aaron Anderson this season. Anderson debuted as a four-star in the initial 2022 rankings, but his stock is soaring with his improvements as a junior.

Anderson is a home-run threat with vertical speed to beat defensive backs over the top, but has improved his hands to make plays in all areas of the field -- whether it's on shorter routes or via screens. With the game on the line, the Cougars tend to look Anderson's direction for a reason. Teams are no longer willing to kick at Anderson because he's so electric. He's the most thrilling player to watch in all of Louisiana.

University Lab vs. Madison Prep

One of the most discerning rankings in The Boot is that of Jardin Gilbert. A two-way player for University Lab, Gilbert is shining at his natural position of safety as a senior. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder -- who is considering Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State -- is playing downhill and emerging as an enforcer in the middle of the field.

Gilbert has length and should continue to fill out his frame. He's closing quickly and covering a lot of real estate. Coverage remains an area of concern, but his development and ability to affect the game in a multitude of ways is quite evident.

Gilbert shares a defense with 2022 athlete Austin Ausberry and 2023 athlete Jaiden Ausberry, who respectfully are two of the top defenders in the state as underclassmen.

Austin debuted as a four-star on Rivals this summer with a strong showing at the University Lab combine, where at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he clocked a 4.45-second 40. That speed is noticeable with his closing speed and ability to shadow receivers downfield, as well as his physical prowess in the run game.

Austin's little brother, Jaiden, is also enjoying a breakout year of sorts. Playing a hybrid safety/linebacker role for the Cubs, Jaiden made plays blitzing, in coverage and on special teams in Thursday night's game at Madison Prep. He's a versatile piece on defense capable of filling multiple roles. Mississippi State recently became his first offer.

Tyrell Raby was a bright spot for Madison Prep on both sides of the ball. The three-star Memphis commitment -- who will play defensive back for the Tigers -- was solid in coverage and flies to the ball. He's also elusive with the rock and could contribute on special teams for Memphis. He managed two receptions for 35 yards here.

Terrebonne vs. Brother Martin

Maason Smith split action on the defensive and offensive line in Terrebonne's lopsided loss at the hands of Brother Martin on Friday. The five-star naturally was responsible for some of Terrebonne's best plays, including several pressures and tackles from his tackle spot and some more pancakes when he took over at offensive tackle.

Smith, who faced double-teams throughout the game, broke through for a few stops behind the line of scrimmage and had some timely pressures. He is down 45 pounds from the offseason, and was able to hustle down the line to slow down runs to the outside.

Smith's new playing weight allows him to shift all across the defensive front and attack mismatches. He's playing faster, which combined with his natural power and explosiveness off the ball makes for a dangerous combination. He showed up to the game rocking a Georgia T-shirt in warm-ups and sported crimson Alabama gloves in the game.

Scotlandville vs. Zachary

Marlon Gunn debuted as a four-star on Rivals in the 2022 class with a breakout junior campaign and he was equally impressive in one of the biggest Baton Rouge-area games of the season. Gunn, who accounted for 74 yards rushing, is a powerful runner with a fantastic center of gravity who can consistently push the pile forward and produce positive plays.

Gunn, who can contribute as a receiver out of the backfield, has an uncanny ability to keep plays alive. Former Scotlandville and Super Bowl-winning running back Brandon Bolden is mentoring Gunn and the two backs have some overlapping similarities, Virginia recently offered and a number of Power Five programs have taken notice of this game-breaking junior.

Gunn's signal-caller, Czavian Teasett, is one of a handful of notable 2023 quarterbacks in Louisiana. The sophomore is a fantastic decision-maker and dictates the pace of the game. A lefty, Teasett has a quick release with the ability to make throws over the middle, outside the numbers and downfield -- albeit with a unique sidearm delivery.

Teasett is athletic and a threat to take off and run. He runs an RPO offense and is calculated as a game-manager. Teasett can sling it on the run and did well moving to his right, though his accuracy was off-the-mark going left. He's an exciting playmaker with room to grow.

The other notable 2023 quarterback in this one was Eli Holstein, who possess great arm talent with excellent accuracy and underrated mobility. Holstein was the victim of intense pressure from the Scotlandville front seven for the entire first half and the pressure resulted in a few mental mistakes.

Holstein has a special ability to throw outside the numbers with good accuracy and even when he's off, he gives his receivers a chance to make a play. Holstein has a gunslinger mentality and made some creative plays to move the sticks and evade pressure. He has the makings of a top-end quarterback.

Another 2023 prospect of note on Zachary's roster is defensive back Kylin Jackson. At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds as a sophomore, Jackson plays a hybrid safety/linebacker role for the Broncos, playing downhill against the run, making open-field stops and even forcing a fumble in this one.

Jackson has high upside as a defensive catalyst at safety with a skill-set to make splash plays against both the run and pass.

Stock Report

... Converted basketball player Quency Wiggins has taken to football quickly. The 2022 defensive end has excellent length and affected multiple passes on the night and generated solid pressure. Finishing remains an issue. However, Wiggins' persistence and expanding knowledge of the game makes for plenty of upside for the rest of this fall into his senior season. Memphis, Tulane and Virginia Tech have recently offered.

... Three-star all-purpose back Jaylin Lucas has cooled off after a torrid start to his junior year. Against a stellar Brother Martin defense, Lucas was limited in production, but managed to put up Terrebonne's only points on a second-half kickoff return to the house. He's shifty with home-run potential, but the Crusaders were able to contain him here.

... Allen wasn't tested much in a run-dominated offense by Notre Dame, but managed a pair of break-ups in the game. He was also quick to the ball against the run. He's enjoying a strong junior campaign overall.

... Fitzgerald West put together an impressive first half of football vs. Notre Dame last month. He was active in the trenches against a run-dominated offense and keyed LCA's efforts to slow down the rushing attack. Stamina for four quarters remains a concern, but West is down to 300 pounds and playing quicker in spurts.

... With Rivals100 wide receiver Chris Hilton sidelined, Zachary turned to 2022 receiver Charles Robertson. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior is a big target with good hands and showed off the ability to make tough grabs over the middle.

... Class of 2021 Scotlandville edge-rusher Bryce Cage was a thorn in Zachary's side on Saturday. The hybrid outside linebacker generated consistent pressure off the edge and was exceptional closing in to slow down the running game. He's a legit late sleeper.

... Class of 2022 defensive back Corey Lambert Jr. came up with an interception on Brother Martin's first defensive series. The junior, who holds offers from Florida Atlantic, Tulane, Southern Miss and Memphis, is solid vs. the run and puts himself in good positions on the field.

... Class of 2022 outside linebacker Masey Lewis has relocated to LCA from East Ascension. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has a big build and plays tough, but is making plays largely on effort. He's a raw prospect, but someone to monitor development this offseason.

New Profiles

... Jhamal Shelby was tasked with slowing down Rivals250 wideout Destyn Hill and stepped up to the plate in a big way. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior managed two break-ups -- in the middle of the field and on the outside -- and his length and closing speed assisted him in coverage. Florida State became Shelby's first offer soon after this game.

... Class of 2022 all-purpose back Connor Wisham impressed as a speedy 6-foot, 180-pound back who's shifty and very good catching balls out of the backfield. His brother, TJ, is a running back at Louisiana-Lafayette.

... Gunn splits carries with 2022 all-purpose back Chance Williams, who was dynamic in the return game and on offense. He's a speedy scat-back with boom-or-bust potential. He had a lot of booms against Zachary. He runs East and West a lot, but it comes with the territory.

... Class of 2023 Brother Martin athlete Torey Lambert saw action rotating in at cornerback and received carries out of the backfield, where he did the bulk of his damage on Friday night. Lambert, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder sophomore, ran with authority to the tune of two touchdowns and impressed in limited action in the secondary.

... Class of 2022 St. Augustine offensive tackle Cam East is someone who should garner more looks in due time. At 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, the junior was rock-solid in pass protection against several talented Karr pass-rushers.

... St. Aug has a pair of book-ends in East and 2023 tackle Tyree Adams. Adams, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, is a colossal-sized sophomore who impressed in spurts. He's solid blocking in space and has length to shine in pass pro. He's someone who could develop in a big way over the next few seasons.

... Basketball fans may be aware of Jason Malbrue already, but the 6-foot-5, 200-pound two-sport standout impressed as a pass-catching tight end for St. Aug. He has good hands and brings some athleticism to the position. Florida State has been keeping an eye on Malbrue.

... What the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Darian Riggs lacks in size he makes up for with athleticism and big-play ability. Aside from Ryan, Riggs was LCA's most dynamic pass-catcher flashing the ability to gain separation downfield, make plays after the catch and challenge for 50-50 balls.