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August 14, 2013

Ranking the all-time five-stars: Louisiana

MORE: Alabama - California - Florida - Georgia

The battle for its space among the talent-producing states may be more interesting than where its talent is ranked. Louisiana -- with Hurricane Katrina well in its rearview mirror -- is back to being among the most densely packed areas for major college prospects, jumping into the conversation with Georgia for a spot just outside the Big Three states. Both have elbowed past Ohio in national recognition.

Former River Ridge (La.) John Curtis running back Joe McKnight was the No. 2 player in the class of 2007 and has gone on to moderate success at USC and in the NFL with the New York Jets. He leads the pack of high school prospects to come from the state over the last dozen recruiting classes.

  Name Year/Rank
1 Joe McKnight 2007 No. 2
2 Rueben Randle 2009 No. 2
3 Early Doucet 2004 No. 3
4 La'El Collins 2011 No. 6
5 Chad Jones 2007 No. 14
6 Ryan Perrilloux 2005 No. 16
7 Anthony Johnson 2011 No. 17
8 Landon Collins 2012 No. 17
9 Jarvis Landry 2011 No. 18
10 Janzen Jackson 2009 No. 17
We Missed On...
  Glenn Dorsey 2004 No. 47
From the class of 2002 -- when Rivals.com established the Rivals100 -- to the class of 2013, there have been 11 states to have double-digit players earn five-star rankings. This week, it is time to turn back the clock and put those players in order based on what they did in high school.

None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014 is considered for this ranking. Each is subject to change through the regular season and all-star game evaluations.

Louisiana has had just 13 players rated as five-stars over the last dozen classes, but the list figures to grow this year, with sure-fire five-star player Leonard Fournette among those being discussed by analysts.

Mike Farrell leads the Rivals.com team of analysts. He has been a fixture in the industry for nearly two decades, and he has seen the rise and fall of players and locations.

He believes Louisiana is back to churning out players.

"If Georgia made a push at the Big Three in 2011 and 2013, Louisiana has made the push now as well in 2011 and in this year's class," Farrell said. "In fact, the battle between Georgia and Louisiana for that No. 4 status is an epic one."

While the two states are on a similar plane for producing talent, they share another trend in that the players often have not lived up to the hype.

While McKnight, Rueben Randle and Early Doucet have made the NFL, none of the trio has developed into the major, impact player many expected out of high school. The jury is out on several others.

"McKnight gets the nod over Randle, and while both had good careers and are in the NFL, neither lived up to the hype," Farrell said. "The same can be said for Doucet and Chad Jones as well -- although baseball was a distraction for Jones. The verdict is still out on La'El and Landon Collins as well as Freak Johnson, but all look promising, while Jarvis Landry hasn't lived up to the hype yet."

Another trait binding the states is troubled stars. Ryan Perrilloux was suspended from the LSU football team as a sophomore before being kicked off as a junior. He finished his college career at Jacksonville State, where he also had disciplinary actions taken against him. Janzen Jackson was on his way to stardom at Tennessee before being arrested for armed robbery as a freshman and then dismissed following his sophomore season for undisclosed reasons. He finished his career at McNeese State.

Both are in the Canadian Football League. Most -- including Farrell -- expected NFL fame.

"Perrilloux checks in at No. 6 on this list and obviously became his own worst enemy," Farrell said. "Overall, Louisiana has had a nice share of five-stars, and this latest group could redeem a few guys who didn't shine as brightly as we thought they would."

One player who rose above the rest but is not included on the list is former four-star player Glenn Dorsey.

Now a San Francisco 49er, Dorsey was a decorated college athlete and the fifth player taken in the 2008 NFL draft. Farrell says his 6-foot-1 frame was worrisome in high school but in hindsight his talent should have shone through.

"Dorsey was No. 47 overall back in 2004 but clearly emerged as a much better prospect in college," Farrell said. "Top 50 is very good, but concerns that he was a bit sawed-off seem kind of foolish now."



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