NEW ORLEANS — Rivals was present in the General New Orleans area over the weekend, in a pair of matchups with five-star prospects from The Boot, as well as a pit stop to watch young talents at a traditional powerhouse.
National recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman saw five-star quarterback Arch Manning throw five touchdowns en route to an Isidore Newman victory, five-star safety Jacoby Mathews and Notre Dame’s commitment Amorion Walker led Ponchatoula to a huge district victory and visited prospects at Destrehan High School. including LSU legacy Jai Eugene Jr.
Here are some thoughts from the weekend:
THE MANNING DOMINATES
In his third game of the season and his first against a Class 4A opponent, Manning stood out with a tremendously efficient performance behind center. The nation’s number one player did just that: throwing five touchdown passes, extending plays in and out of pocket, and taking command at the line of scrimmage.
Much like his uncle Peyton became so famous throughout his NFL career, Manning was changing the plays based on what the Pearl River defense was showing. He called audibles and helped direct his teammates before the serve, which resulted in a handful of great plays on the field, as well as some scoring plays. Manning was equally impressive throwing into tight windows, maintaining his precision on the move and showing spectacular timing with all of his receivers.
With great protection of his offensive line, which has the commitment of LSU, Bo Bordelon (who won his share of knockdowns), Manning shined reviewing his readings and making smart decisions as he found holes in the zone. He delivered catchable passes downfield and had other notable shots outside of the schedule and in the race that could have led to even more points.
Across three games, the Manning Greenies are 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 36 points per game. Manning has accounted for 14 total touchdowns, including 12 through the air. He has thrown nine touchdowns in the last two games.
MORE: MANNINGS ARE METHODS, ENJOYING THE PROCESS
STORE FOR RANDLE
Three-star tight end Will Randle has become Manning’s main weapon on Newman’s offense. The junior showed off his diverse skill set with some fabulous sacks that turned into touchdowns and opportunities to rack up yardage in space. Randle is physical after the catch and a willing and effective blocker in the running game as well. He has reliable hands, can block in space and is a dangerous pass receiver in midfield. LSU is in a strong position with the Louisiana native, but Texas and SMU are two teams strongly in the mix.
PLUS: Bordelon, who protected Manning’s blind side, devised a handful of key blocks to launch Newman’s running backs in this one. It’s explosive out of position and it helped keep your pocket clean. Bordelon continues to gain strength and it shows. He played indoors and outdoors to help pave the running lanes.
FIVE STAR MATHEWS SHINES IN ALL THREE PHASES
Mathews spent his junior season as a quarterback for Ponchatoula, La., But resumed his starting job on the defensive side of the ball to prepare for the next level. Mathews is playing a hybrid role with deep setbacks at safety, like a safe in the box and even lined up as linebacker at times.
In addition to playing through Ponchatoula’s defense, Mathews saw the action as a slot catcher, quickly breaking away on a corner route to the back of the end zone. Mathews returned a punt more than 30 yards across the field, breaking multiple tackles in the process and showing his skills in the return game as well as his nose for the end zone.
History shows us that Mathews is a versatile safety capable of defending both running with reach and ballhawking skills at the rear. LSU’s one-time commitment won’t make an official visit to Baton Rouge, but a source noted that the Tigers’ defensive struggles could end up intriguing Mathews.
The five-star scheduled an official visit to Alabama just before the Advance Signing Period. Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia are also involved here with the Gators who also established host Mathews as official. He will be in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.
ON THE SUBJECT OF WALKER
Three-star commitment to Notre Dame Amorion Walker staggered on a touchdown in tight coverage over a defensive back for Ponchatoula’s opening score. As a prospect, Walker has 4.4 speed and at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, he’s long and presents a great target for his quarterback.
There are areas where Walker can shore up as a pass receiver, but the schools chasing him could also get advantageous defensive backup. He shows off the size, speed, and athleticism to cover as well.
Walker Michigan sports gloves in the pageant and then returned to Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s victory over Ole Miss. A source noted that LSU was also trying to get Walker to campus for Auburn’s career. The Wolverines remain the team in the best place to steer Walker away from Notre Dame.
If you remember the name Jai Eugene, you will want to read on.
Eugene’s son is entering his junior season and second as a starter behind the Destrehan (La.) High center. This year, young Jai has gotten off to an impressive start under center playing with more confidence and also has the opportunity to make plays from multiple positions.
In the season opener, delayed a few weeks after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, Eugene pushed his team past parish rival Hahnville and did so with his shooting and running prowess. In two games, Eugene has six touchdowns as the architect of the Wildcats offense.
During the offseason, the SEC’s legacy impressed in several 7v7 events and a handful of corner camps, including in Austin. He will also race on the track this spring. Mississippi state, Michigan and Texas are among the teams evaluating Eugene as a defensive back, while Cincinnati, the Power of the Group of 5, is keeping a close eye on the quarterback. LSU, Alabama and Notre Dame are some more teams that also participate.
At 6ft 1in and 185lbs, Eugene has many advantages in high school.