For Jonesboro-Hodge High School sophomore, Xavier Atkins, the last two days have been busy. It has also been about as good as it can get. In a span of roughly 24 hours, the dynamic JHHS linebacker totaled 21 tackles and knocked down a game ending pass to help the Tigers take a thrilling victory on Friday night. Saturday morning he was on the field at LSU during an official recruiting visit where he got to watch another great game at the invite of Tiger head coach Ed Orgeron, who he met with prior.
“I am really happy for Xavier to have this opportunity,” said JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship. “He works hard everday to get better and has earned the notice he is getting.”
Atkins leads the entire state regardless of classification in tackles, solo stops and tackles per game after compiling 110 tackles, 88 solo stops and an average of 18.32 tackles per game. This includes his 21 tackle performance in the Tigers 28-26 victory over Cedar Creek on Friday. He also is among state leaders with 13 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks and has an interception return, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries to boot in six games.
The sensational sophomore received the invitation by Orgeron this past Tuesday after speaking with Jimmy Smith of Rivals.com, the nation’s top high school rating and recruiting news website. Smith is also the publisher of the website Tiger Details. This followed a converstation Jonesboro-Hodge head football coach Terrance Blankenship had on Monday with Smith.
“I got a call from Coach Kavanaugh at North Caddo on Monday morning,” reflected Blankenship. “He said that while Smith was visiting the school (North Caddo Sophomore Omarrion Miller is an LSU commit) that he was watching game film of our team. Smith started watching and asked “who is that” referring to Xavier.”
Kavanugh then reportedly told Smith that is the best linebacker in the state that we have to play in two weeks. Smith awatched more film and then asked Kavanaugh how he could get in touch with Blankenship.
“The Rival’s rep told me that after studying film on Atkins that in his mind he is the best linebacker he has seen in high school since Devin White,” said Blankenship. “He has been flying under the radar but now that will all change with LSU asking him to visit and Rival’s adding him to the rankings soon.”
To compare Atkins to White, who prepped at North Webster High School in Springhill is about as high a compliment as you can get. White was named the Butkis Award Winner, given to the top linebacker in the NCAA after his All-American senior season and has become an All-Pro for the Super Bowl winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Louisiana is considered to have the top sophomore class in the United States with eight players listed among the top seventy five rated players including top ranked, Arch Manning of Newman High. Additional north LA players listed are:Tackett Curtis of Many High, Omarrion Miller of North Caddo and Trey Holley of Union High.
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