The spring always presents opportunity to learn about the stories of the unknown, up and coming prospects around the region. In New Orleans, you don't have to go far to find talent and as spring ball winds down across the country, there are several players to keep an eye on locally.
At the "Battle of the South" camp presented by DynastyU and trainer Albert Brock over the weekend, there were many young prospects who might not have the recognition yet but are showing to have college level abilities. Here's a few notes on some of the standouts.
Phillip Wright III (2025 Receiver)
The offensive MYP of the event, Wright is just entering his freshman season at Destrahan High School but is one of the more electric athletes you'll find in Louisiana. Already running a blazing 4.37 40-yard dash, Wright is a slot receiver who absolutely torched the competition with his speed at the event.
He also is a track star, running the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes and has been clocked at a 10.7 100-yard dash at district and is already starting to gain a little traction from some teams, including Miami. The cousin of former LSU star Donte Jackson, Wright also has ties to the Tigers growing up watching Jackson play.
"He tells me I just gotta keep putting in the work, keep my grades up so I can get the best offers," Wright said. "I like LSU. When Donte went there, I was up there almost every week. It's loud."
Makhi Paris (2023 Wide Receiver)
After battling and overcoming meniscus injuries the last several years, the senior receiver is looking for a fresh start with Edna Karr in New Orleans in what's an important season for him. He's really improving his explosiveness as a receiver and his physicality was also on notice as a bigger bodied prospect.
Some of the teams showing him the most interest are ULL, Southern and Mississippi State, a solid list considering he's spent time away rehabbing from numerous injuries. He's set to play with another player we'll get to in a second in quarterback AJ Samuel.
"I'm ready to show my crisp route running," Paris said. "Showing off the separation I can get and the increased speed I've been working on since coming back from injury."
Caden Jones (2023 Offensive Lineman)
The 6-foot-7 offensive tackle who has over 20 offers, Jones has spent the last year really improving his body. Jones has earned offers from schools like Florida, LSU, Florida State, Houston, Mississippi State, Texas and Texas A&M throughout his recruiting process and is now up to 315 pounds.
Jones was one of the many 2023 prospects in attendance at LSU's spring game and had the chance to briefly talk with offensive line coach Brad Davis. With a lot of young players like Will Campbell having the opportunity to go in play early, it's weighed on Jones' mind as a place he feels he could also make an impact.
"He keeps everything real with you, wants to see you win on and off the field and he's just a great guy who really takes care of his players," Jones said of Davis.
He was hanging around 2022 signees Emery Jones and Bo Bordelon, who are set to join the program after the spring semester. The next steps for Jones will be to release some top schools to focus on and set some official visits heading into the summer.
AJ Samuel (2023 Quarterback)
Paris' throwing mate for this upcoming season will be Samuel, an electric dual threat athlete who throws a great ball. Decision making is something Samuel feels he's really good at but is always looking to improve and has described settling for the short passes instead of trying to force it deep.
Running a 4.59 40-yard dash as a quarterback has certainly helped in gaining some attention but being able to combine the speed with elite throwing is the next step for Samuel.
South Alabama, Southern Miss, Hawaii and Northwestern are just a few schools who have shown interest in his talents so far but Samuel is expecting a big senior season to help aid in his recruitment process. Samuel is certainly hoping to gain some interest from other programs as well like LSU and really anywhere somebody will give him an opportunity.
"I'm hoping to learn more about team camaraderie and brotherhood. At Karr it's all about family and my coaches do a great job of putting those core values into us," Samuel said. "As far as the season goes, getting to a championship and building better bonds."
He's watched as former teammates like Aaron Anderson and Tygee Hill have gone on to LSU and Alabama and certainly picked their brains about what to expect at the next level.
"They were telling me about how the standard is high and the expectation is to hold everybody accountable and just staying on top of your work," Samuel said.