Don’t sleep on these talented local WRs 

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

I have shared some profiles recently of great Class of 2023 wide receivers from Shreveport/Bossier. Today we’ll introduce you to the area’s sleeper receivers who I think can play college football or are athletic enough to have a chance to play a different sport in college.

They are Tay Bell of Bossier High, Fred Benjamin of Green Oaks, Pearce Russell of Benton High, John Carmody of Loyola Prep, Trenton Lape and Mark Mathieu Jr. of Parkway, and Jalen Lewis and John Ecot of Haughton.

We start with a newcomer to the gridiron, Tay Bell of Bossier, who came out from the basketball team with a ton of raw talent. Bell has a chance to really hit the recruiting scene at 6-3, 160 with 4.55 speed and a frame to be 185 pounds in another year of growth.

Bell enjoys playing basketball, football, running track and playing video games.

His favorite college teams are Miami, Georgia, Mississippi State and Ohio State.

He would like to major in business because “I would like to sell shoes or have my own business while investing NFL money,” Bell said.

Fred Benjamin of Green Oaks will embark on his first year of football after coming over from the track team. Benjamin is 6-1, 170 with 4.5 speed and has a chance to become a star as a sleeper.

“Fred may be new to football but the explosiveness that he brings along with leadership skills will be extremely valuable to our team,” said head coach Chadwick Lewis.

Benjamin lists his favorite colleges as East Texas Baptist, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State and LSU-Shreveport. “I have visited all of these schools for camps,” he said, “and all of these coaches are very welcoming and positive on and off the field or court.”

He plans on majoring in either engineering, arts and sciences, health science or biology.

In track he runs the 400 meters, 4×400 and 4×200 relays. His 400 time is 53 seconds, and he will run the 800 this year and maybe the 100 meters.

Benjamin is the cousin of Robert Rochell of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Both his dad and uncle ran track and played football.

Pearce Russell of Benton is a three-year starter going into the 2022 season. I saw Russell play a few times on film. He has great hands, makes things happen in space and is tough as nails. Russell had 53 catches for 1,032 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021 alone and holds most of the records for the Benton program as a wide receiver going into his senior season.

John Carmody of Loyola is 6-2, 185, a late bloomer who is a big-time basketball player for Loyola with a 14.2 points-a-game average. He started to show over the summer he could become a big-time football player in 2022 with 4.65 speed, good hands, and the kind of frame that can add weight.

He is cousins with former Loyola kicker Art Carmody, who went on to become an All-American and Lou Groza Award winner for Louisville, and current offensive guard Joseph Alexander of Army, who played for Catholic High of Baton Rouge.

Carmody plans on majoring in pre-med.

“Coach Greene is an icon in this area,” said Carmody of head coach Mike Greene. “I am fortunate and grateful to be coached by him for my last two years of high school.”

Parkway’s Trenton Lape, 6-2 and 190, has committed to LSU for baseball but is a big-time wide receiver for the football program with 4.55 speed in the 40, great hands and the talent to be a Division I wide receiver if he wasn’t playing baseball in college; he’s got a 92 miles-per-hour arm.

Mark Mathieu Jr. of Parkway is an example of a high school team being deep with players at one spot. Mathieu rotates in the game and he’s 6-2, 178 with 4.55 speed. He has a chance to sign although he doesn’t even start all the time.

Jalen Lewis from Haughton is a big-time sleeper as a slot/wide receiver, at 5-10 ½, 170 pounds. He’s a very productive wide receiver for the program and also will carry the ball at running back at times. Lewis had 29 catches for 394 yards and three TDs in 2021 and scored once as a quarterback.

“I enjoy just being outside with my friends. I also play video games any chance I get,” said Lewis.

His favorite colleges are Ohio State, Grambling, LSU and Oregon. He plans on majoring in sports medicine.

“What I like most about football is really just how much I enjoy playing and the teammates that I have around me that push all of us to go harder every day and the chemistry that we build with them every year,” Lewis said.

John Ecot of Haughton is a big-time playmaker in space as a slot/wide receiver for college with 4.33 speed in the 40 — one of the fastest players in the area — and a 5-7, 150-pound frame. He was hurt most of last season and hopes to have a great year in 2022. Ecot runs a 10.8 100 and 21.86 in the 200 in track. He is also a kick returner.

“What I love most about football is celebrating with the crowd and my team after a win,” said Ecot.

He is being recruited for track by ULM, Navy, Southern Arkansas, and Bucknell.

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