NEW ORLEANS — The second annual Louisiana Bootleggers Invitational tournament will again bring in some of the most talented football players from Louisiana, Texas and across the southeast region.
Eighteen teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Texas are expected to participate, including Team Fast 7-on-7, the Miami Immortals and the host Louisiana Bootleggers, all of whom are ranked in the top 18 programs in the country, according to the Top Gun Coach’s Poll released on April 2.
Last year’s inaugural tournament featured several SEC and Power 5 recruits, including LSU safety Grant Delpit, Texas A&M wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon, Florida State corner Stanford Samuels, Florida tight end Kemore Gamble and newly minted Miami wide receiver commit Mark Pope. Florida 7-on-7 power WarZone came out victorious in last year’s championship game.
Here are details about the 2017 Louisiana Bootleggers Invitational:
What: Louisiana Bootleggers Invitational (Pylon 7-on-7 Football National Championship Series)
When: Sunday, April 9
Where: Joe Brown Memorial Park (New Orleans)
How to register: https://pylon7on7.sportngin.com/register/form/758862148
Host team: Louisiana Bootleggers
Yet again, the Louisiana Bootleggers are stacked and ready to defend their mark as the state’s top 7-on-7 program.
In the past, the Bootleggers have featured future Tigers such as Leonard Fournette, Tre’Davious White, Drake Davis, Jamal Pettigrew, Russell Gage and Lindsey Scott Jr., Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Other alumni include Tyron Johnson (Oklahoma State), Jalen McClesky (Oklahoma State), DeVonta Smith (Alabama), Adam Sparks (Missouri), Brad Stewart (Florida) and Cheyenne Labruzza (Tennessee).
The 2017 version of the Bootleggers is both layered with elite talent and arguably sports the deepest roster in several years. That includes 2018 LSU corner commit Kelvin Joseph and 2019 LSU corner commit Derek Stingley Jr. highlighting the starting secondary, while Top 150 prospects Justin Rogers and Terrace Marshall Jr. are on the offensive side of the ball.
Joseph is LSU’s lone corner commit in its 2018 recruiting class. He is the state’s No. 2 overall recruit, and is ranked accordingly. He is physical at the point of attack and has the versatility to cover from multiple spots across the secondary. He played safety last year during Scotlandville (La.) High’s championship push. The 4-star corner will shift back to corner in 2017 and be a physical mismatch there with the ability to effectively shadow No. 1 wide receivers.
Stingley is in contention to be Louisiana’s top recruit for 2019. He is as technically sound as any defensive back in the state and arguably the country. He possesses great height (6-foot-1) and speed for the cornerback position and has drawn comparisons to current LSU corner Kevin Toliver for that reason. Stingley is going to battle a lingering hip injury in the tournament, but his competitive fire should allow him to play close to full speed.
Marshall and Rogers are both priority LSU targets at receiver and quarterback, respectively. The Parkway (La.) High School teammates are top 150 recruits and their chemistry on the field has been hard to ignore in 7-on-7 events this spring. Marshall has all of the physical tools necessary to be an elite pass-catcher, and his work in the 7-on-7 circuit is helping him to polish up even more routes. Rogers has as strong an arm as there is among dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. This spring he is adding even more to his arsenal as he polishes up short and intermediate routes, while also keeping defenses off-balance with his big-play ability.
Other notable Bootleggers include LSU receiver targets Ja’Marr Chase (2018), Devonta Lee (2019) and Trey Palmer (2019); and budding cornerbacks Eddie Smith (2018), Damien Tate (2018), Derius Davis (2018), Derek Turner (2018), Jeremiah McDonald (2018), Donald Clay (2019) and Chester Kimbrough (2019). The safety position is highlighted by fast-rising prospects such as Jordan Clark (2019), Lance Robinson (2018), Shawn Preston (2018) and Kansas pledge Aaron Brule (2018).
Chase has enjoyed a monster spring. He earned his LSU offer early on and has since proven his natural playmaking skills during the camp circuit. He is very deserving of his fourth star. Lee and Palmer are two of the best in the state for 2019. Lee has elite size, vertical ability and hands, and cemented his status as a 5-star. Palmer could soon follow suit given his fluid route-running and sure hands. He is a natural playmaker getting personally recruited by LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.
Smith is one of the fast-rising corners in the 2018 class, adding a Mississippi State offer last month and now drawing interest from LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. He visited Baton Rouge earlier this week and will be on the staff’s radar because of his size, physicality and ability to play the nickel or outside. Davis, Turner, McDonald, Robinson and Preston are defensive backs whose stocks have risen thanks to breakout springs, too. All have secured double-digit offer sheets as they burst onto the scene.
On offense, prospects to watch include quarterbacks Chandler Fields (2019) and John Gordon McKernan (2019); speedy all-purpose backs Anthony Williams (2018), Garland Lafrance (2018) and Davon Harris (2018); and standout wide receivers such as UTSA commit Sheldon Jones (2018), Makiya Tongue (2019), Kym Wimberly (2018) and Koy Moore (2020).
Fields is on his way to making himself a household name among 2019 Louisiana prospects, and his development at this stage should show up in his offer list as the fall approaches. Williams, Lafrance and Harris are all gifted weapons out of the backfield with elite speed and shiftiness. Jones is as sure-handed a receiver as there is in the 2018 class, with former LSU assistant and UTSA coach Frank Wilson getting one of the gems from New Orleans. Tongue and Wimberly are athletes who are destined for breakout falls for University High and Holy Cross, respectively.
Houston’s Fast 7-on-7 features some of the premier skill players from the Lone Star State.
The No. 14 team in the country, per the Top Gun Coach’s Poll, is loaded at key spots and features a wealth of LSU targets on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the passing game is highlighted by LSU 4-star wide receiver targets Joshua Moore, Brennan Eagles, Jaylen Waddle and 2019 blue-chipper Jordan Whittington. Moore and Whittington both visited LSU last month for national junior day.
Defensively, the secondary is spearheaded by priority cornerback target Jalen Green, who is favoring LSU along with Texas; Texas A&M commit Jordan Moore, who recently visited LSU for national junior day; top-10 safety Leon O’Neal Jr., who added an offer from the Tigers earlier this spring and named them to his top schools list; and stud Houston corner D’Shawn Jamison. Jamison, a 4-star corner, is teammates with 5-star corner Anthony Cook at Lamar (Texas) High School and holds offers from Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, TCU, Tennessee, Texas and Southern California, among several others.
Other members of the Fast 7-on-7 offense to know are 3-star corner Starrland Baldwin, 3-star receiver Taye Barber, 3-star receiver Antonio Gage, 3-star all-purpose back Tazshawn Henry, 2020 TCU pledge Jacobi Bellazin and 4-star Oklahoma dual-threat quarterback Casey Thompson.
Other members of the Fast defense to know are 2020 corner Dwight McGlothern, who added an LSU offer this winter; 4-star safety and Penn State commit Isaiah Humphries; and 3-star safety Christian Young.
Team Texas Elite
Last year’s Team Texas Elite was one of the more talented squads at The Bootleggers Invitational tournament, featuring Ausbon, Delpit and alum Kary Vincent Jr., who eventually committed and signed his letter of intent with LSU.
Expect more of the same with this 2017 version of Texas’ perennial 7-on-7 power. This year’s squad features LSU wide receiver target Miles Battle, who stopped by Baton Rouge for national junior day last month. It also has a pair of 2019 standouts in 4-star safety Jamal Morris and 4-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson, who boasts an offer from more than 25 schools. Henderson is currently committed to Oklahoma.
Aaron Allen is the 3-star dual-threat quarterback directing the TTE offense. Allen has already procured a dozen offers this spring.
As expected, the team representing South Florida is loaded with elite national talent.
Headlining the 2018 recruits are 3-star defensive end Patrick Joyner, who plays tight end for the Miami Immortals along with Chris Carter. Louisville commit and 3-star safety Jamal Anderson anchors the secondary.
Much of the talent lies in the 2019 class, including Miami athlete Tyrique Stevenson, who holds an offer from Florida, and Gators wide receiver pledge Frank Ladson.
Entering this weekend, the Miami Immortals are ranked No. 18 in the country, per the Top Gun Coach’s Poll.
One of the newest 7-on-7 teams in the southeast is the Coastline Stars, which has immediately grown in popularity thanks to influx of New Orleans area talent.
Jason, the No. 3 overall prospect in Louisiana, is a top 100 recruit in the 2018 recruiting class. Harris, a 4-star corner and recent invitee to Nike’s “The Opening” Finals in Oregon, is a top 200 prospect. Foucha has seen his recruitment continue to spike this spring with 20-plus offers, including Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Michigan, among others.
Some of the Magnolia State’s top prospects will be represented on the Mississippi Grind team set to compete on Sunday.
Included on this year’s team is 2019 LSU target Brandon Turnage, who at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds can line up on both sides of the ball. The Tigers extended an offer to the Lafayette (Miss.) High School product in January and have gained some momentum in his recruitment.
Also on the Grind is 3-star cornerback Jaylon Reed, the No. 20 overall recruit from Mississippi in 2018. Reed, a big, physical corner, holds offers from Ole Miss, Georgia and South Carolina, among others.
Offensively, the Grind are anchored by 3-star receiver C.J. Bolar, who holds a Mississippi State offer; 2019 4-star all-purpose back Jerrion Ealy, who is being courted by Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee; and 2019 athlete Diwun Black, who has already nabbed overtures from Ole Miss, Tennessee and Southern California.
A team comprised of both Louisiana and Texas talent that produced both LSU signee Patrick Queen and Clemson signee Travis Etienne, EPS Blaze is stacked — not surprisingly — again in 2017.
The team is headed by speedy Vinton (La.) High athlete Tony St. Julien, who holds offers from Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech and remains squarely on LSU’s radar.
Other members of the Blaze to note include tight end KeAndre Turner (Lake Charles, La.); wide receiver Marka’il Nixon (Iowa, La.); 3-star quarterback Jordan Cooper (New Caney, Texas) and athlete Katon Brown (Orange, Texas).
The newly developed squad is engineered by Vandebilt Catholic (La.) 2019 quarterback Andrew Robison. The team features talent from the Tri-Parish area.
Another newly developed program in The Boot, the Boom features some of the top talent in the Acadiana Parish area.