Coronavirus not slowing down recruiting process for area four-star athletes
The coronavirus pandemic has caused several aspects of everyday life to slow down, including live sports.
However, one thing that hasn't slowed down is the recruiting process for Class of 2021 prep football players.
The Acadiana area features some of the top football prospects in the state, including a trio of four-star athletes in Comeaux's Malik Nabers, Opelousas Catholic's Keon Coleman and Lafayette Christian's Sage Ryan.
With college coaches having extra time on their hands to watch film, the recruiting profiles of these highly touted prospects have gone through the roof in recent weeks. That's been especially true for Nabers, as he's picked up an offer from at least one school in each Power Five conference.
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"I think it's wide open for him," Comeaux head football coach Doug Dotson said. "He'll have to narrow it down at some point, but he'll take full advantage of the process and make his visits so he can make a good decision. He's got NFL potential. I've told him that since his freshman year. He's got that kind of talent. He's one of the best players I've coached just based off pure athletic ability."
Nabers is up to a total of 26 Division I offers, which include high-profile schools such as Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn, Oregon, Michigan State and Miami.
"It's been great getting offers from schools that are high-ranked Power 5s," Nabers said. "It's great knowing that my name's been going around campuses and just being able to meet coaches and getting to see their facilities. I've been enjoying the attention I've been getting."
While Nabers will most likely play wide receiver at the next level, some of his biggest offers want him to play defensive back.
"When Oklahoma came in and offered him as a defensive back, I think that really opened the door to everyone," Dotson said. "He got offers from schools like Georgia, Ole Miss, Auburn and Oregon after that. He's well-worth the attention. I knew he was a special athlete. He spent 90% of his time in practice at wide receiver, but he showed he could play defensive back. He'll do whatever it takes to help his team win."
Nabers plans on going through the process and visiting schools this summer before he commits, and he could still pick up offers from major programs like LSU and Alabama.
Dotson has big plans for him in his senior season.
"He's going to touch the ball a whole lot," Dotson said. "He'll have more opportunity to make plays. He could play some for us at quarterback. Anytime you have an athlete like that, the more he touches the ball, there's a better chance we'll win. He plays multiple positions for us and has a chance to break it every time he touches the ball."
Coleman's recruiting profile has also blown up in recent weeks, as he's received 35 Division I football offers, including Power 5 schools Oklahoma, Florida State, Penn State, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
"He's a kid that physically checks a lot of the boxes," Opelousas Catholic head football coach Thomas David said. "His tape catches a lot of attention. He's put together well and is a big, physical kid at wide receiver. He's just explosive when he gets the ball in his hands. He's got some really impressive offers.
Coleman also has offers to play Division I basketball, and some schools such as UL and Louisiana Tech have offered him in both football and basketball.
"I don't think he'll ever truly put down a basketball," Opelousas Catholic head basketball coach Jeff Dupre said. "He'll probably wait until this summer to decide what direction he's going, but doing both (football and basketball) isn't impossible. It's very difficult, but that kid has a knack for competing and excelling at everything he does."
While Coleman hasn't officially decided on a sport, football appears to be his best option, as he's a four-star prospect drawing attention from Power 5 schools and has the ideal frame for a wide receiver at 6-4.
"It's been fun," Coleman said. "It's about to start getting stressful having to cut down on schools, but right now it feels like a dream. I've gotten 35 football offers and six basketball offers. I'm just enjoying the process."
Ryan's profile is a little more set in stone, as he's being recruited specifically as a defensive back and has narrowed his options down to 10 schools, all of which are Division I Power 5s. He'll likely let the recruiting process play out, but he's expected to sign with LSU when it's all said and done.
Spencer Urquhart covers high school sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @surquhart98.