With football season fast approaching, most New Orleans -area fantasy nuts are trying to figure out the answers to a few key questions.
Are Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees worthy of first-round picks? What kind of impact will rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks have? Which Saints running back Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson, or Pierre Thomas will get the most carries in 2014?
I'm trying to answer a slightly different question: What would a fantasy team made up of metro area high school players look like?
Here's my best shot.
QB: Jabiari Tyler, Sr., Newman
Tyler is undersized at 5'9', 165 lbs., but give me someone who breaks Peyton Manning's high school records any day. The son of former O.P. Walker and LSU standout Herb Tyler, Tyler threw for 2,242 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2013 and added 673 yards and eight scores with his feet. He is looking for his third straight Class 2A All-State selection in 2014 he was tabbed as the Outstanding Offensive Player last year but bringing home the Greenies' first state football championship ever is the real goal.
RB: Erron Lewis, Sr., St. Charles Catholic
The 5'10', 192-lb. Lewis tallied 1,300 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground in 2013 as the Comets made it all the way to the select Division II quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions John Curtis. Lewis, who has an offer from Southern Miss, brought home All-District honors for District 11-3A.
RB: Kendall Bussey Jr., Sr., Newman
Bussey, a Nebraska commitment, rushed for 974 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2013 en route to honorable mention Class 2A All-State honors. He also caught eight touchdowns from Tyler, his running mate. Tyler is the centerpiece of the Greenie offense, but it could be Bussey who really takes Newman far in 2014.
WR: Tyron Johnson, Sr., Warren Easton
The 6'1', 195-lb. wideout was a Class 4A All-State selection, and his 87 receptions for 1,433 yards and 13 touchdowns were a huge part of Easton's run to the 4A quarterfinals where they lost to eventual champions East Jefferson. Johnson is a consensus top receiver recruit, ranked as high as No. 6 overall in the country by Rivals.com, and his recruiting stock only increased when the Eagles won the National Select 7-on-7 tournament in Hoover, Ala. In July.
WR: Kirk Merritt, Sr., Destrehan
Merritt, an All-District 7-5A selection in 2013, tallied 32 catches for 607 yards and eight scores last season, but he makes this squad largely on potential. The Newman transfer won the SPARQ Championship at Nike's prestigious summer showcase, The Opening, making him the third Louisiana prospect in four years (former Dutchtown safety Landon Collins won in 2011; former Karr athlete Speedy Noil won in 2013) to stake his claim as the most athletic player in the country.
WR: Stanley Morgan, Sr., St. Augustine
So the Purple Knights lost all-world tailback Leonard Fournette to LSU. If Morgan and Lanard Fournette yes, Leonard's younger brother and successor in the backfield have anything to say about it, St. Aug won't miss a beat. The 6'1', 185-lb. Morgan combined with new quarterback Justice McCoy for three scores in the Purple Knights' spring-game victory over Warren Easton, which bodes well for Morgan's production in 2014 despite a tough schedule.
ATH: Donte Jackson, Sr., Riverdale
Okay, so this might be cheating a little, since Jackson primarily plays defense. But he is one of the best return men in the state, and he was named to the All-Tournament Offense at The Opening in July, so I'm taking him anyway. Jackson is an absolute burner, and whatever school he signs with he has offers from LSU, Georgia, Oregon, and USC, among others is getting a special player.