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November 19, 2004Editor's Note: Rivals.com analyst Matt Malatesta has been covering the Galena Park (Texas) North Shore program the past three years while doing research for his book on the program's run to the Texas state championship last season. Malatesta got to know everybody in and out of the North Shore program and he developed a great relationship with Farr and the entire staff. Here is Malatesta's look at Dajleon Farr's decision to commit to LSU early this week.
GALENA PARK, Texas - While covering North Shore Senior High School for two seasons doing an expose' on the state of Texas' greatest high school team, I saw Dajleon Farr develop into a bona fide national recruit while staying within a regimented offensive system that relegates him to a blocking tight end.
In a program that has sent 110 athletes to the college football ranks over the past 10 seasons under coach David Aymond, Farr could be the most coveted recruit in the history of the program. He owes part of that to those he has followed including Detroit Lion Cory Redding, Dallas Cowboy Andre Gurode and last year's Bobby Reid, just to name a few.
"He will be the most recruited kid we've had come through this program," Aymond, an Opelousas, La., native said. "He has a tremendous college frame, great feet and great upside. He's also a great kid that has taken care of business in the classroom. He should be playing on Sundays."
The 6-foot-6, 245-pounds man-child was the first person I ever met at the east Houston high school. I entered the field house and found the dressing room. I entered and was shocked by the size of the person standing in front of me.
"Is Coach Aymond around," I asked.
"I'll show you," Farr said with a voice years past puberty.
The shirtless Farr took me around the corner to Aymond's office and I could only think that he was an alum just in from college working out at the old high school.
"Who is that, coach," I asked Aymond.
"That's Dajleon, he's just a sophomore," he said, as I scooped my jaw off the floor.
If you go by the numbers, Farr doesn't seem that impressive. He doesn't have gaudy reception and touchdown credentials, but he is invaluable in the Mustang's zone offense attack.
When he does get the opportunity, however, he makes the most of it. During the state semi-final last season, he caught a tight-end drag and rumbled 55-yards for a touchdown, carrying Austin Westlake defenders much of the way. He's had a pair of 50-plus yard touchdowns this season and will be showcased in the later rounds of the playoffs.
What numbers are impressive is the fact that he is an A and B-honor roll student with an impeccable conduct record.
"What is so impressive is how Dajleon has handled this season," Aymond said. "He has been on the cover of magazines that reach across the county, but he is the same quiet, respectful kid who works hard."
DREAMING OF MIAMI
After winning a state championship during his junior season, the recruiting sharks began coming out the woodwork last winter. His first offer came from Oklahoma State, which started the avalanche of mail and Fed Ex packages landing on the doorstep of Aymond's office.
He gets his first taste of what is to come during the 2004 signing day program at North Shore. Twelve of his teammates sign on the dotted line and don their respective teams' hats during the 10th Annual North Shore Signing Day Program.
Heading back to class after the program while the seniors have their lunch is Farr. Farr knows he will be on the same stage next season with his class. The above average student takes one last look at his teammates. He is moving on with the secure feeling that he has official offers from every major program in the country, including LSU, USC, Texas, Miami, Oklahoma and UCLA, just to name a few.
A classmate approaches Farr on his way out and poses the question that college coaches, recruiting gurus, teammates and family all want to know.
"What hat are you going to be wearing up there next year?" his peer asks.
"It's been a dream of mine to play at Miami since I was your size," Dajleon jokes.
THE PRESSURE MOUNTS
Farr worked out throughout the spring and summer in North Shore's summer camps before attending LSU's Junior Day. No Nike Camps - no nothing. Why does one of the nation's most coveted prospects need to attend a combine? In his spare time he reaches the regional state track meet throwing the shot put and discus.
He plays cat and mouse in regards to recruiting during the regular season with the same response, "I have no idea where I'm going. I have no favorites."
He unofficially visited LSU for the Tigers' first game of the season against Oregon State.
"It was a good visit," he said. "The coaches asked me if I wanted to tour the campus, but I just hung the Lawton Room and watched some games on television with the guys. A few of my teammates, Everett Edwards and Freddie Patton were supposed to come Saturday, but they didn't make it."
Earlier that same week he was named to the U.S. Army game to be played in San Antonio in January.
Soon after, The Woodlands tight end Kyle Anderson commits to LSU. Alief Taylor's tight end Martellus Bennett also commits to one of Dajleon's favorites Miami just before school starts.
"Martellus called me and said I should still come to Miami," Dajleon said days after Bennett's commitment. "Why would two of the nation's top tight ends go to the same place. It makes no sense."
Anderson on the other hand is more of a traditional blocking tight end that could easily move inside to tackle.
"Me and the guy in The Woodlands are two totally different players, so I didn't mind that much when he committed," he said.
THE OTHER OFFICIAL VISITS
He takes a visit to Oklahoma in October, where former North Shore alumns Jonathan Jackson and Bubba Moses start at defensive end and tight end, respectively. Farr enjoys his trip to Norman where he is shown around campus by freshman sensation Adrian Peterson.
The following weekend Farr visits Nebraska, where promised his favorite recruiter John Blake he would take a visit.
"I really liked it up there," Farr said of Lincoln. "I felt like I ate 30 times. I was telling myself that I was gonna weigh myself when I got back, but I forgot.
"The game was good and I got to meet a lot of the players and coaches. Coach (John) Blake is by far the coolest coach recruiting me. He is just hilarious. I like how they are using their tight end in the West Coast offense. I really had a good time."
Which brings us to last weekend, when he took another unofficial visit to LSU. He did much of the same on this visit, but the timing was right for Dajleon.
"I just felt like it was time," he said. "My mom is sick and it's a little stressful right now. I wanted to give her a little relief and to calm her down a little bit. She just wants to know that I will be taken care of and I will be close to home.
"LSU offers me a good opportunity to play early, has good academic support, good coaches and is close," he stressed. "I called all the coaches that have been recruiting me from other schools and told them that I verbally committed. I do plan on taking the rest of my visits though. Coach Saban said he was okay with that."
He plans on taking a visit to Miami and Southern California in the next few months.