Top performers from LHSAA state football championships

NEW ORLEANS — The LHSAA state football championships delivered nine titles and even more memorable performances turned in by several of the talented prospects on the field.

SEC Country took in all nine state championship tilts from Thursday afternoon through Saturday night and took note of the standout efforts that helped decide these games.

Here were the top performers from the 2017 LHSAA state football championships:

Trenton Grow, 2020 DB, West St. John

Trenton Grow is a bit of a sleeper, but will eventually develop into one of the top athletes among 2020 prospects in Louisiana. At 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, Grow splits his snaps on offense and defense, with defensive back as arguably his top position.

In the Class 1A state title game, Grow helped slow down 4-star 2019 wide receiver Trey Palmer and made a game-sealing interception in the waning minutes. Grow also made a spectacular one-handed grab to set up a late West St. John score, high-pointing the ball and making the swipe. He excels at reading the quarterback, has great athleticism and is physical enough in coverage to slow down 6-foot-5 receivers such as John Stephens Jr. as well as speedier receivers like Palmer.

Grow can make plays on either side of the ball and come the spring, and as a result, Tulane pulled the trigger on an offer right after the championship game. Grow should become one of the top prospects in the state for the 2020 class.

Geor’quarius Spivey, 2018 TE, Richwood (Mississippi State commit)

Geor’quarius Spivey has progressed throughout the season and the finished product was outstanding. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound athlete is a hybrid tight end/wide receiver and is an absolute mismatch in the passing game.

Spivey lined up as a traditional in-line tight end, out wide or in the slot and was dominant. He has fine-tuned his ability to high-point the ball and use his big frame to his advantage. His pass-catching has improved drastically since the camp circuit and he’s becoming even tougher to tackle with the ball in his hand.

While Spivey is not a traditional tight end prospect, he can have the same sort of impact as a Jimmy Graham or Evan Ingram in the NFL, bringing a unique dimension to a high-octane passing game

Mikiya Tongue, 2019 ATH, University

Mikiya Tongue hauled in a team-leading 4 receptions for 34 yards, including a one-handed grab to set up a touchdown in the first half. Consider this a bit of a coming out party for the 3-star athlete.

At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, Tongue played the majority of his snaps out wide at receiver, where he impressed as a big-bodied presence with great speed to stretch the field vertically, but also make his mark in the short and intermediate passing game. Tongue could also shift over to defensive side of the ball — to strong safety or linebacker — as he continues to add mass to his frame. He has plenty of room for it, but regardless, he proved he’s a prospect to monitor moving forward.

Michael Hollins, 2019 RB, University

Michael Hollins battled through some early-season injuries to finish his junior campaign with a bang. The shifty running back gained 129 yards on 20 carries and found the end zone 3 times.

Hollins does not possess an imposing frame, but at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, can run hard between the tackles and bounce plays outside. Most importantly, he’s a home-run threat every time he touches the rock.

Hollins impressed with his ability to pick up short yardage at the goal line to seal the deal for University High. His toughness is evident and cemented himself as one of the most versatile backs in a loaded group of Louisiana running back crop for 2019.

Kendall Collins, 2019 RB, De La Salle

Like Hollins, Kendall Collins is not physically imposing. Then again, Pooka Williams proved to be one of the state’s best backs in 2018 without being 6-foot or 200 pounds. Collins possesses a ton of explosiveness as well.

The 5-foot-8, 185-pound junior is a dynamic all-purpose back and return specialist. Collins can run in between the tackles, but he made his mark in the Division II title game with a 80-plus-yard touchdown on a screen pass. He was electric in the passing game all afternoon.

Collins finished the game with 72 yards on 17 carries in addition to the 83-yard receiving touchdown on the screen. He’ll likely be the top all-purpose back in 2019.

Derek Turner, 2018 ATH, West Feliciana

Derek Turner was making the case to be the MVP of the Class 3A state championship game with a strong first half of action. The athlete and projected safety prospect played under center and created a ton of plays in the running game and was explosive with the rock in his hands.

Turner matched a strong first half on offense with an equally as impressive outing at his natural position in the secondary. Turner matched up with the bigger Spivey, but shadowed the 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end and used his athleticism to his advantage.

Several Power 5 schools will be chomping at the bit over the next few weeks to bring Turner on board. He proved to be a dynamic presence on both sides of the school in the Superdome.

Davon Harris, 2018 ATH, West Feliciana (Louisiana Tech commit)

Davon Harris proved to be one of the most underrated offensive athletes in the state with a performance for the ages in the Class 3A title game. The 6-foot-6, 170-pound Louisiana Tech verbal returned the second-half kickoff to the house. Harris, affectionately nicknamed “Smoke,” showed off his ability to quickly change direction and run through arm tackles and go 87 yards with ease.

Harris followed with a second kickoff return — this time for 67 yards — before taking the snap from the wildcat position in 6 yards for a touchdown. Harris’ 167 yards on kickoff returns is a new state championship record.

Without question, he will be an incredible playmaker in the slot, out of the backfield and in the return game for Tech.

Keilon Brown, 2020 QB, Zachary

If you haven’t heard of Keilon Brown yet, give it time.

The sophomore dual-threat prospect channeled his inner Lindsey Scott in Zachary’s Class 5A championship game triumph. At 6-foot and 180 pounds — as a sophomore — flashed a big-time arm and the jets when he hit the open field. Brown has a big arm and also can make accurate passes downfield, and his ability to make plays on the run is what separates him from the pack.

Brown broke loose for a 80-yard run, which turned the game around for Zachary.

In total, Brown completed 5 of 13 passes for 55 yards, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Two deep shots were dropped and both were would-be touchdowns. Brown added 189 yards on the ground overall. He is in consideration to be the most dynamic quarterback in the state for the 2020 crop and a name definitely worth monitoring for offers when the spring rolls around.

Pooka Williams, 2018 ATH, Hahnville

The Pooka Williams story came to a close on Saturday night in the Dome — at least the prep football chapter.

Battling an ankle injury and some major tread on the tires after piling up 300-yard rushing efforts the past month, Williams still impressed with a 200-yard all-purpose performance in a losing effort, not showing any signs of quit in his final high school game. The hobbled Williams powered through, and despite being limited with his ability to cut, managed to use his power and straight-line speed to spear the Zachary defense any time he could find daylight.

Williams’ playoff run and entire high school career at Hahnville has cemented his spot as the most dynamic playmaker at any position in this state. A projected all-purpose back and return specialist, Williams continues to defy logic with his ability to make incredible must-see highlights in a multitude of different roles.

Jacob Bernard, 2019 WR, Lakeshore

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend in New Orleans was the performance of underrated 2019 receiver Jacob Bernard. The junior is a multi-sport athlete but looked the part of a top-30 prospect as a slot receiver and return specialist in the Dome on Saturday.

At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Bernard showed some explosiveness and vision in the open field on Lakeshore’s kickoff return in the first quarter against Karr. Those same traits came into play when Bernard blew past a Karr nickel corner for a 71-yard touchdown.

While he has no offers for now, expect schools to start tuning into Bernard as a slot receiver in pass-happy systems.

Ronnie Jackson/Ahmad Antoine, 2019 RB, Edna Karr

Both Ronnie Jackson and Ahmad Antoine are deserving of notoriety for their performances in the Dome this Saturday. As much as Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara get attention for the New Orleans Saints’ 1-2 punch, Jackson and Antoine provide much of the same.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Jackson is a downhill bruiser with incredible toughness in the trenches. He has great lower-body strength to run through arm tacklers and does not give up easily. Jackson’s running styles makes him the quintessential goal-line and short-yardage back because he refuses to go down easily. Speed may be a concern, but he has a workhorse mentality, evident by 22 carries for 107 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Antoine is the more dynamic of the two and proved as much with some big-chunk plays against the overmatched Lakeshore defense. Antoine has great speed around the edge and in the open field, but is equally as tough as his backfield counterpart with his desire to make contact and run over defenders. He finished the game with 141 yards and a score and did so with only a handful of touches.

Karr’s junior backfield lacks offer, but is not without talent. In-state schools are monitoring both Jackson and Antoine and both are going to continue to draw attention as they sharpen their crafts.

The post Top performers from LHSAA state football championships appeared first on SEC Country.

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