New Orleans area products found in many NFL training camps

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Tyrann Mathieu
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

The New Orleans metro area has a history of producing elite prep talent, and an impressive number of them eventually earn a spot on an NFL roster. Outstanding talent combined with the quality coaching they receive during their formative years sets the foundation for that type of success.

Players like Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk, Aeneas Williams, Richie Petitbon, Ed Reed, Steve Van Buren and LeRoy Hoard all sharpened their skills while in high school playing in the Crescent City area. The list goes on and on.

On the average, there are normally around 40 locals in training camps vying for a roster spot every August. There are currently 36 former New Orleans area high school players on NFL training camp rosters with four veteran free agents -Leonard Fournette, Jarvis Landry, Darrel Williams and Cethan Carter – expected to receive an opportunity.

Interestingly, the New Orleans Saints have the distinction of having the most local players on the roster (five) with six overall from the state. Locals include Foster Moreau, Jontre’ Kirklin, Tyrann Mathieu, Kirk Merritt and Trai Turner (injured reserve). Malcolm Roach (Baton Rouge) is also a member of the Black and Gold.

St. Augustine and Brother Martin have four players on current NFL rosters. Rummel, Edna Karr and Destrehan are next with three. Jesuit, Amite, Lutcher and John Curtis each have a pair. McDonogh 35, Riverdale, McMain, Warren Easton, West Jefferson, Bonnabel, Newman, L.W. Higgins, Ponchatoula and Northlake Christian all have one representative.

The Dallas Cowboys lead the league with nine players from the Pelican state out of 115 total. Carolina has eight followed by the Commanders with 7. The Titans and Bengals join the Saints with six. The Raiders and Ravens have five Louisiana products right now.

The team with the most players hailing from the New Orleans area after the Saints are the Titans with four. The Ravens, Bengals and Panthers have three each. Dallas and Washington have two a piece.

Here’s the New Orleans player rundown:

Saints–DB Tyrann Mathieu (St. Augustine) — The Honey Badger was a 2011 Heisman finalist while at LSU. A 3 time 1st team All Pro, a 3 time Pro Bowler.

Saints–OG Trai Turner (St. Augustine) — in injured reserve with season ending injury. a former 4 star prospect in 2011 class. 20 starts at LSU, 5 time Pro Bowler.

Saints–RB/WR Kirk Merritt (Destrehan) — helped Destrehan to 14-1 mark and state title game appearance. In two seasons at Arkansas State, had 153 catches 1,811 yards and 19 TD’s.

Saints–TE Foster Moreau (Jesuit) — helped the Blue Jays capture the state title in 2014. He also excelled in basketball there. Played 49 games at LSU, catching 52 passes for 629 yards and 6 scores.

Saints–WR Jontre’ Kirklin (Lutcher) — accounted for 147 TD’s for Bulldogs. 57 games at LSU lining up at WR/DB/QB.

Eagles–WR Devonta Smith (Amite) — 2020 Heisman winner and Biletnikoff award. While at Alabama 235 catches 3,965 yards and 46 TD’s. 34 games in the NFL he has corralled 159 passes for 2,112 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Buccaneers–WR Trey Palmer (Kentwood) — spent 3 seasons at LSU. Brought his 4.33 speed to Nebraska where he had a breakout season in 2022, 71 catches 1,043 yards and 9 touchdowns. The 1,043 yards is a school record.

Commanders–OT Cornelius Lucas (Edna Karr) — 6-foot-9 OT was a 3-year starter at Karr, 27 starts at Kansas State.

Commanders–LB DeJon “Scooter” Harris (John Ehret) — two-way performer for 2015 Patriots with 83 tackles and 14 TFL on defense, running for 1,058 yards as QB. A 4-time All SEC LB at Arkansas, compiling 371 career tackles.

Panthers–CB Donte Jackson (Riverdale) — ran track and played football at LSU. Won the state 100 and 200 meter events in high school. 64 games in NFL produced 244 tackles, 14 interceptions and 41 passes broken up.

Panthers–DB Colby Richardson (McMain) — jack of all trades in high school. Transferred to LSU from McNeese. Played 12 games for Tigers in ’22.

Panthers–LB Deion “Debo” Jones (Jesuit) — All State as senior in 2011, had 179 tackles, 8 sacks and 3 interceptions for Blue Jays. NFL career: 696 stops and 12 interceptions.

Falcons–DB Clifford Chattman (McDonogh 35) — the 6-foot-5 safety has great size, transferred to UTSA from Texas A&M.

Bears–CB Macon Clark (Destrehan) — All State performer for Wildcats. While at Tulane, he accumulated 202 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 5 sacks and 9 picks.

Cowboys–DE Tyrus Wheat (Amite) — 2nd team All SEC at Miss. State. 33 starts for Miss. State, 21 sacks, 82 pressures.

Cowboys–WR Tyron Johnson (Warren Easton) — As a senior in high school, 94 grabs, 1,589 yards and 17 TD’s, rated #2 WR in nation in 2015 class. 2 seasons at Oklahoma State, had 80 catches, 1,288 yards and 12 scores.

Rams–DB Quindell Johnson (Edna Karr) — helped Cougars capture state titles in 2016 and ’17 for Coach Brice Brown. Both of those teams had a combined 29-1 record. 48 games at Memphis 320 tackles, 15.5 TFL 10 interceptions.

Justin Jefferson

Vikings–WR Justin Jefferson (Destrehan) — grabbed 165 passes for 2,415 yards and 24 TD’s at LSU. Named 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year after catching 128 passes 1,809 yards and 8 scores. For pro career, 324 catches, 4,825 yards and 25 TD’s. Pro Bowl selection in all three seasons.

49ers–CB Tre Swilling (Brother Martin) — Basketball/football star for Crusaders was a 3 year team captain with 4 years on the Honor Roll. 40 starts at Georgia Tech.

Ravens–CB Arthur Maulet (Bonnabel) — excelled in football as DB/punter for Bruins. PG in basketball and All State in soccer. Played collegiately at Memphis.

Ravens–WR Odell Beckham (Newman) — compiled 143 catches for 2,340 yards and 12 scores at LSU. 3 time Pro Bowler. NFL stats, 531 grabs, 7,367 yards and 56 TD’s.

Ravens–DT Rayshad Nichols (L.W. Higgins) — played at Stephen F. Austin, the 6’2-305 played DE, DT and FB in High School in 2014”15 124 tackles, 15 TFL. Also played 1st base/ 3rd base in baseball and on the hardwood, as well.

Bengals–WR Ja’Marr Chase (Rummel) — career at Rummel, 115 catches, 2,152 yards,30 TD’s. Was the 2019 Biletnikoff winner. 2 seasons at LSU, 107 grabs, 2,093 yards, 23 touchdowns.

Bengals–WR Stanley Morgan (St. Aug) — 173 catches, 2,774 yards, 34 scores for Purple Knights. Career receiving leader at Nebraska, 189 -2,747 yards, 22 TD’s. Set a school record for Cornhuskers 38 consecutive games with a catch.

Bengals–TE Irv Smith, Jr. (Brother Martin) — National Title at Alabama in 2017. 2nd round pick Vikings in 2019. 88 catches 844 yards, 9 TD’s for NFL career.

Texans–LB Garrett Wallow (John Curtis) — 2 seasons at Curtis,139 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks. His Jr. campaign at TCU 125 tackles. (2019) —

Colts–DT Caleb Sampson (Northlake Christian) — the 6-3,305 rookie had 76 tackles at Kansas, 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks in 37 games.

Raiders–DB Rod Teamer (Brother Martin) — twice All District for Crusaders, All State as senior. 4 year starter at Tulane 197 tackles, 15 passes broken up, 3 intercepts.

Chargers–OG William Clapp (Brother Martin) — All State as Jr. and Sr.. Played 36 games at LSU, twice All SEC. While with the Tigers, 2,279 career snaps, 218 knockdowns, did not allow a sack.

Dolphins–LB Duke Riley (John Curtis) — Sr. at Curtis 124 tackles, 2 state titles with Patriots. State MVP. 50 games at LSU, 144 stops, 10 TFL.

Dolphins–CB Parry Nickerson (West Jefferson) — the cover corner was All State. 48 games at Tulane, 16 interceptions. Jim Thorpe semifinalist in 2017. 1st team All ACC in ’17. 5 seasons in NFL, has 4.32 forty speed.

Titans–CB Kristian Fulton (Rummel) — Jr. season for Raiders recorded 11 interceptions, including 3 in one game vs. Holy Cross. 25 games at LSU. 2nd round pick in 2020.

Titans–WR Racey McMath (Edna Karr) — The Cougars finished 14-0 state title in 2016. Made 33 catches for 522 yards and 4 scores at LSU.

Titans–DB Shyheim Carter (Kentwood) — As senior for Kangaroos, had 5 interceptions. Also ran for 1,648 yards, 30 touchdowns. 23 starts at Alabama.

Titans–RB Tyjae Spears (Ponchatoula) — 2,910 rushing yards and 31 scores at Tulane (5th school history) added 48 catches for 564 yards and 3 TD’s. In 2022 amassed 1,561 rushing yards (6.9 average) 19 TD’s. 3rd round pick of Tennessee.

Leonard Fournette


RB Leonard Fournette (St. Aug) — 2013 Mr. Louisiana Football was a 4-year starter (7,619 yards and 88 TD’s), 31 games at LSU (3,830 yards, 30 touchdowns).

TE Cethan Carter (Rummel) — TE/H-Back played RB for Rummel. In 43 games at Nebraska, 59 catches, 744 yards, 4 TD’s. Had fifth most receptions by a tight end in Cornhuskers history.

WR Jarvis Landry (Lutcher) — 5 star prospect in 2011 class made 241 catches for 3,902 yards and 50 scores, also ran for 875 yards, 14 TD’s for Bulldos. While at LSU, 137 grabs, 1,809 yards, 15 touchdowns. Has 3 Pro Bowl appearances, 713 NFL catches for 7, 870 yards and 38 touchdowns.

RB Darrel Williams (John Ehret) — Senior season for Patriots, 2,036 yards, 27 touchdowns. Shared backfield with Fournette and Derrius Guice at LSU. He has 1,006 yards and 11 TD’s during his 5 NFL seasons.

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Rene Nadeau


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to play football at LSU, developing a passion for the game in even greater fashion while in…

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