By Lee Brecheen
Head Coach: Jeff Tanehill (4th year)
2022 Record: 9-3
Class & District: Class 4A (District 2)
2022 Playoffs: 1st Round Bye, Defeated East Ascension 31-9 in 2nd Round, Lost to Westgate 21-10 in Quarterfinals of Division I (Non-Select) Playoffs
There’s a lot of tradition at Neville HS as the program is the second-winningest in LHSAA history with 790 wins and they are only behind 1A powerhouse Haynesville HS. The Tigers have won 12 state championships and have been state runner-ups six times.
Neville has also produced some great players from Neville HS showcasing their talents in both college football and the NFL. Some of Neville’s current college football standouts include RB Ajay Allen (Miami), OT Will Campbell (LSU), DT Enyce Sledge (Auburn), DE/LB Matthew Fobbs-White (ULL) and DB Lorenzell Dubose (ULL. In the NFL, there’s KaVontae Turpin (Dallas Cowboys) who is one of the best return specialists in the league, DT/DE Phidarian Mathis (Washington Commanders), OT Max Mitchell (New York Jets), DT Rashard Lawrance (Arizona Cardinals) & DT Justin Ellis (New York Giants).
The Tigers have not been back to the state championship since 2016 when they lost to then-emerging power Edna Karr HS out of New Orleans. However, this young team can make a run back to the Dome.
“We are still a young team overall in 2023 and we have a small senior class of kids, said Neville head coach Jeff Tannehill. “We played 13 sophomores in 2022 which will pay off for us this year. A lot of the seniors who return did not play much or at all in 2022. We had a great off-season kids are hungry and we are excited for this upcoming season.
The offense has two really good quarterbacks competing going into fall in seniors Aman Fuller (6-2, 180) who is a pocket passer, and John Michael Sampognaro (5-10, 185) who is more of a dual threat. Both of these kids now run the offense and should be exciting how the QB spot ends up with both kids starting another spot if not the quarterback in the end.
The offensive line has a chance to be really good as it is led by senior and team leader center Taylor Quinn (6-0, 274), senior OL Kameron Johnson (6-1, 285), OL Tyler Brown (6-2, 270), OL Van Martinez (6-3, 230) and OL Bennett McNabb (6-3, 260). TE Brody Whatley 6-3 245 and FB /TE Thomas Campbell (6-1, 225) will both help contribute to the run blocking as well as the passing game.
The wide receiver spot also has a chance to be really good. The group is led by three-year starting senior WR Bradley Hanlon (6-4, 188) who has hands, speed (4.59 40) and brings leadership to this team. You also have senior WR Tamarrion Wade (6-2, 175), WR Caleb Vaughn and WR Zealand Young (6-3, 180).
The run game will need a big year from Jaylon Nichols as he can be the next great back for the Tigers. You also have talented running backs in Brelin Robinson and Jakeem Reitzell to rotate in an offense that needs at least three backs to stay fresh in a tough district.
The defense for the Tigers has always been tough for years as they always have a combination of speed, size and quickness and 2023 should be no different. The front seven will be led by DE Brody Whatley (6-3, 240, 4.7 speed), DT Kameron Johnson (6-1, 285) who has great feet, DT Anzalone Perkins (6-0, 255), DT Jordan Fobbs, DE Malik Grayson, senior OLB Brelin Robinson (5-11 180) who runs a 4.5 forty and also plays RB for the team and talented senior DE/OLB Jayden Webb (6-1, 210) has 4.6 speed is a three-year starter.
The defensive backfield also has speed and talent as it is led by senior hard-hitting safety Tytron Hanley (6-1, 181) who has 4.5 speed, senior CB Allen Price (5-11, 174) who has 4.5 speed and recorded four interceptions in 2022), veteran safety Robert Graves (5-7, 160, Sr.), SS/FS Julian Burns, CB Cam Riley (5-10, 176) and DB Jayden Reed. Other young players will get a shot to get on the field and make a name for themselves in 2023 to make this another great defense for the Tigers.
Neville’s special teams unit is always solid and it will stay that way with kicker/punter back Jake Deal (6-3, 230), who is built like a linebacker but has a good leg and experience.
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