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Takeaways from the weekend

Sam Spiegelman09/20/22
Article written by:On3 imageSam Spiegelman

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Football season is back. Week 4 got underway in Texas as well as Week 3 in The Boot. On3 National Recruiting Analyst Sam Spiegelman was on hand for primetime showdowns in both states — Temple (Texas) hosting Arlington (Texas) Martin and New Orleans’ Edna Karr and Warren Easton facing off in Algiers.

Here are some takeaways from the action:

Toviano takes center stage

On3 Consensus top-35 overall player Javien Toviano was masterful in a showdown where he was tasked partly with trying to contain one of Texas’ most dynamic athletes across from him. Toviano’s pick-six in the first half was a turning point early for Martin. After recognizing the play, the instinctive defensive back stepped into the passing lane and propelled into the paint for the touchdown.

Toviano is getting actively recruited as both a cornerback and safety by an array of schools. His size (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) and range gives a defense a game-breaker in the back end of the secondary. Toviano, however, has the rare ability to line up as a big corner and has pesky length and closing speed to man up on receivers one-on-one.

Toviano’s recruitment may be a mystery, but his talent is not. LSU is leading the way on On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine.

Harrison-Pilot impresses in spurts

Versatile On300 No. 3 ATH Mikal Harrison-Pilot was the focal point of Martin’s defensive game plan. Nonetheless, the electric playmaker found ways to impact the game — beating a host of defenders around the edge and showing well making catches in traffic in the middle of the field and extending the play after the catch. The 6-foot, 190-pound Harrison-Pilot has elite speed and continues to impress finding holes underneath and with the rock in his hands. The Longhorns are favored over TCU currently on the RPM.

Bax continues ascent

Three-star TCU LB commit Jonathan Bax continues to show out during the first month of his senior season. Bax, a top performer at various live evaluations this offseason, was masterful flying off the edge for Karr. Playing with his hand in the dirt and a stand-up linebacker, Bax has special first-step quickness and is wasting little time getting to the quarterback this fall. He picked up two sacks, three TFL and had a few more hits and pressures along the way, and was also dropping back in coverage.

The well-rounded skill-set reminds me of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. The in-state Tigers and several other programs are also keeping a close eye on Bax’s strong senior year.

Karr secondary runs deep

Three-star Karr CB Ryan Robinson Jr. came away with passes defended down the seam and underneath. He’s continued to be a rock-solid DB capable of playing in the slot or outside. Nebraska leads on the RPM.

Opposing of Robinson is new On3 profile 2024 CB Levi Darensbourg. The long (6-foot, 170 pounds) corner has size and was outstanding getting tested on the perimeter and came away with a deflection closing in a route underneath. Darensbourg made an acrobatic breakup and interception in the red zone, too. He’s a name to put on the radar.

Safety tandem of 2023 DB Michael Richard (Louisiana Tech) and Tre Brown stood out as one of the hardest-hitting 1-2 punches in recent memory. Richard is a pesky nickel that punishes underneath and flies around the ball. Brown (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) has more to his frame with a similar menacing playstyle. In the slot, Brown has a great feel in coverage defending the middle of the field. Ole Miss leads early on the RPM.

Next wave of East Texas stars

East Texas powerhouse Carthage (Texas) boasts a trio of underclassmen that are quickly surfacing as notable recruits for the perennial title contender. 2024 RB LaRandion Dowden (6-foot, 180 pounds) comes downhill in a hurry. He has great size and stop-start quickness, and consistently falls forward. Dowden has amassed 339 yards and 7 TD (7.55 YPC) along with 6 catches for 51 yards over the first month of the season. Those around the program believe he has better speed than former Carthage, now USC RB Keontay Ingram, who clocked a 4.53 electric in high school.

Another member of Carthage’s program making plays is 2026 RB KJ Edwards, who has already drawn rave reviews around the program. One source called him the best back that’s played for legendary coach Scott Surratt — as a freshman. Edwards clocked a 11.14 100-meter time and recorded a 21’3″ long jump. He’s insanely explosive and has flashed as a runner between the tackles and breaking runs outside. He’s a no-brainer kind of talent.

One more notable underclassman turning heads is 2026 QB Jett Surratt, impressing with his ability accurately deliver the football as a freshman, and could be elevated to the varsity squad for Carthage’s postseason run. Surratt is also a member of the Texas Junior Golf Tour.

Additional notes

  • Ponchatoula (La.) 2023 DL Tyler Bailey is generating buzz in and around the state as well as across the Southeast. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder lost weight since a season-ending injury last fall and is playing end as a senior. He’s accounted for a handful of sacks and has made a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage and returned an interception Week 2. A leaner Bailey seems fully healed and actively making plays up front for the Green Wave. He’s emerging as a top senior eval target for several Power 5 schools.
  • Baylor commit Taurean York was active for Temple (Texas) on Friday. The tone-setter on that unit, York consistently clogs up running lanes and races to the ball. He was active trying to stymie Martin’s multi-faceted rushing attack.
  • On300 junior OL Makai Saina flashed as a road-grader for Martin. Anchoring the line at left tackle, Saina (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) is light on his feet and packs a powerful punch. He moves well and is asked to pull and block in space. Texas A&M leads the way on the RPM.
  • New Mexico State DB commit Naeten Mitchell was a playmaker on the back end of Temple’s defense. Mitchell came away with multiple passes defensed roaming over to the ball deep, including a few fade balls in the red zone. He’s a sure tackler.
  • Two-headed Karr rushing attack Chris Vasquez Jr. and DeAntre Jackson piled up massive yardage against a stout Easton defense, and this has been a theme for this team. Vasquez (5-foot-9, 200) ran downhill for three touchdowns and flashed off some of his athleticism on a few long runs. His backfield mate Jackson flexed his track speed in space with touchdowns runs of 65 and 94 yards, accelerating in a hurry and quickly breaking away from the pack. Jackson clocked a 10.55-second 100-meter and 21.91-second 200-meter this spring.
  • New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton 2024 RB Fred Robertson was a third back that shined in this Saturday night affair. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder with speed (10.55 seconds in the 100M this spring) has juice out of the backfield as well as in the return game. Robertson was dynamic in space and has speed to burn.