Three-Point Stance: Marquee high school game, LSU, TCU
Rivals national recruiting analyst Nick Harris takes a look at an epic showdown in Many, La,. this weekend, LSU's expectations moving forward and a big opportunity for TCU to close on some top recruits down the stretch.
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CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
1. The best high school football game in the country this weekend is in Louisiana.
The small western Louisiana town of Many is situated just across the Texas border in Sabine Parish, and it is home to one of the state's top powerhouse small-town football programs. On Friday night, it's hard to imagine that many of its 2,571 residents will not be making the short drive to the high school to watch their hometown Tigers welcome five-star quarterback Arch Manning and the Isidore Newman Greenies.
Star power aside, Newman (No. 2) versus Many (No. 1) will highlight the top two teams in 2A in a rare early-season matchup between the two storied programs. In what could very well be a playoff matchup down the line this game will have two of the best coaches in the state going at it while also game-planning for a potential matchup down the line.
But what this game does most is excite recruiting fans, as four Power Five recruits will be featured at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. Manning, one of the top quarterback recruits in history, will lead his Greenies against four-star USC linebacker commit Tackett Curtis, high four-star 2024 safety Tylen Singleton and rising 2024 offensive lineman Jo Cryer.
There was a lot of preseason noise from the "Arch Manning Haters" that he could not shine against stiff competition and that he played poorly when the lights were on. However, early in 2022 Manning has his Newman team off to a 3-0 start, including two wins over 5A programs. A solid performance against one of the powerhouse 2A programs in Louisiana on Friday could put most of the doubts to bed as his senior season powers on.
2. LSU's opening loss to Florida State has the Tigers playing more loose, which will only help once SEC play starts.
I think that there were a bit of unrealistic expectations swirling in Baton Rouge ahead of the season for LSU from the fanbase and local media, and that culminated with a tough loss to Florida State on national television to open the year.
Immediately, it wasn't a bright look for the Tigers, but as time has gone on there seems to be a bigger sense of comfort in the program and a little more looseness from its stars, including starting quarterback Jayden Daniels. The culture around the program has been more evident in the last two weeks than it was in week one, and recruits have even taken notice.
In catching up with four-star 2024 commit Maurice Williams, the Houston-area product appreciated the fight that LSU showed in its opening loss and is excited about the season after the last two weeks.
I see that ringing true around the program and it has the on-field product playing a lot more loose going into SEC play next week.
3. TCU has a chance to close on some top targets down the stretch in the 2023 class.
Whoever had TCU as the final remaining FBS team in Texas to remain undefeated may need to buy a lottery ticket, as the Horned Frogs are off to a 3-0 start under Sonny Dykes with a big opportunity in front of them over the next two weeks.
This weekend, the Horned Frogs will make the short trek across the DFW Metroplex to take on SMU, which has been a bigger game in the last five years or so when it comes to recruiting implications in the hotbed that is DFW.
TCU will then host Oklahoma in front of a large group of visitors that all have a close eye on the Frogs as the season powers on.
Four-star wide receiver Mikal Harrison-Pilot has Houston, TCU and Texas at the top of his list going into his final two official visits as the Horned Frogs work the angle of having Quentin Johnston produce at a potential first-round level in Fort Worth from Harrison-Pilot's same high school (Temple).
Four-star safety Warren Roberson has TCU high on his list, along with USC, and the Horned Frogs are quickly making up ground to keep Roberson in DFW. Despite a slow-moving recruitment, TCU also remains firmly in the mix for four-star defensive tackle Markis Deal as his official visit swing continues on. Additionally, TCU is working to keep Jonathan Bax in the class amid SEC powers showing interest.
All in all, TCU is exceeding expectations early on in the Dykes era, and the potential for that to carry over into recruiting remains very high. However, these next two weeks will be incredibly telling toward that fate.