Every Louisiana high school football player fantasizes about holding a state championship trophy in the Superdome.
That dream remains a possibility for five players committed to the 2011 LSU class. With all five classifications down to the semifinals, a state championship is well within reach for some of LSU's most talented recruits.
O. Perry Walker High School defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, who broke the national high school sack record Nov. 26 against Bastrop, said a championship would be the perfect finish to a tremendous career.
"I've had a lot of accolades in my career," Johnson said. "But I've never won a state championship. I'm trying to get to that 'Dome."
O. Perry Walker will square off against Franklinton in the Class 4A semifinals Friday — a matchup between two future Tigers. Terrance Magee, a LSU commit and three-star athlete who plays quarterback for Franklinton, said he and Johnson discussed the possibility of meeting in the playoffs this past summer at recruiting camps.
"All year he's been telling me we're going to play each other," Magee said. "And it's going to happen now."
That matchup won't be the first time LSU recruits met in a playoff game this year. Patterson running back Kenny Hilliard battled Redemptorist running back Jeremy Hill and offensive lineman La'el Collins in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Nov. 26.
Hilliard, who holds the Louisiana career rushing record, came out victorious, ending the high school careers of his two close friends.
"When it's over, you're in a state of shock," Hill said. "You're at a loss for words. It sucks. There's nothing you can say to express how you feel at that exact moment. You feel for all your teammates, all your seniors. It's a bad feeling."
Patterson now moves on to face West Feliciana in the Class 3A semifinals on Friday. Patterson coach Tommy Minton said his team can't get caught looking ahead to the Superdome.
"The only thing guaranteed is Friday night," Minton said. "If you want to play in the state championship, you have to take care of business Friday night."
LSU's reach has stretched to the Class 1A playoffs with White Castle safety Ronald Martin, who faces Oberlin on Friday. Martin said the prospect of a state championship has made the small town of White Castle come alive.
"It's real fun around here now," Martin said. "Most of the town has been dead, but it's a different atmosphere now."
West Monroe quarterback Paul Turner, rated a three-star athlete by Rivals.com, completes the list of future Tigers represented in the playoffs. West Monroe will take on Westgate in the Class 5A semifinals Friday.
Minton said the number of LSU recruits that have made it to this point in the playoffs shows how rich the talent is in this class.
"It's a great quality in that recruiting class," Minton said. "It's a great year in the state for college talent. I think LSU's putting together a great class."
Contact Hunter Paniagua at firstname.lastname@example.org