Malachi Dupre is the most coveted offensive difference-maker remaining in the current stable of uncommitted 2014 prospects. The sure-handed New Orleans receiver is viewed as an eventual No. 1 target in the passing game who is capable of contributing immediately.
He impressed again during his 2013 season with defending national champion John Curtis Christian. Dupre helped lead the powerhouse program to Louisiana state titles during productive junior and senior campaigns.
The 6'2.5", 187-pound playmaker capped off his high school run in disappointing fashion, sidelined by a hamstring injury during the final stretch of a deep postseason journey. Still, he made an indelible mark as the squad's leading receiver.
Dupre, rated the nation's second-best wide receiver recruit and No. 17 overall prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, is at his best when making midair adjustments. His size, wingspan and ball trajectory identification make it difficult for defensive backs to contend when he goes airborne.
He excels out wide, especially against one-on-one coverage that allows room to exploit space in the intermediate passing game. Dupre does plenty of damage along the sideline and in the red zone where his elite leaping ability gives him an edge even against tight coverage.
Dupre is a two-time state high-jump champ and possesses athletic traits that transcend football. However, the natural athlete ultimately decided the sport was his calling, as he told ESPN.com's Gerry Hamilton.
I did football, basketball and track, and I liked baseball too growing up. I liked football and basketball the most as I got older ... It was probably sophomore year when I realized football was the best fit for me. I have point-guard height in basketball, and realized my athletic ability would be best in football ... but I didn’t realize I would turn out this good.
It's turned out very good. Dupre quickly emerged as one of the country's premier receiver prospects, garnering offers from Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame and Clemson.
His busy January included visits to Ole Miss, UCLA, Alabama, Florida State and LSU. The month's final week illustrates how high-profile Dupre has become in the recruiting world.
He spent the weekend of Jan. 24-25 in Tallahassee, where reigning Heisman Trophy winner and national champion Jameis Winston hosted him. Dupre then journeyed to Ole Miss for a midweek rendezvous with the Rebels.
According to 247Sports' David Johnson, the 5-star prospect was the only scheduled 2014 recruit visiting campus at the time. That allowed head coach Hugh Freeze and Co. to apply a full-court press on the team's top offensive target.
The Rebels needed to make a major impact because Thursday presented a jam-packed day for Dupre. His family hosted Alabama head coach Nick Saban and newly hired offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin before welcoming in LSU coach Les Miles.
Shortly after spending time with three of the most famous football coaches in America, Dupre gathered his luggage and headed to Los Angeles. A visit to UCLA rounded out his dizzying day.
Where will 5-star WR Malachi Dupre play college football?
He will spend the weekend with Jim Mora and the Bruins before returning home to end internal deliberations. Dupre is expected to decide between Alabama, UCLA, LSU, Florida State and Ole Miss on national signing day at 10:30 a.m. EST.
His declaration will be aired on ESPNU and determine the immediate offensive fate for one squad.
“When I sit down to make that decision, it will be my mom, dad and my brothers, Vernon and Matthew. It will come down to where I’m the most comfortable,” Dupre told Hamilton.
Prediction: After considering the final pitches of several powerhouse programs, Dupre determines his best option is also the closest one. He signs with LSU and joins forces with fellow incoming Louisiana receiver Trey Quinn (all-time high school receiving yardage leader) in Baton Rouge.