As swift as his nickname suggests he is, Edna Karr High School standout Devante “Speedy” Noil is taking his time when it comes to picking a college home.
Slow down, LSU.
Wait a minute, Texas A&M.
Southern California and Florida? Hmmm ... he’ll get back with you guys.
“Nothing different between all of them,” Noil recently told SBNation.com. “They all win games; they all compete. It’s just that I’m looking for a team that’s great for me.”
That’s going to take a little bit more research. And why should he rush?
Depending on the recruiting service, Noil (5-foot-11, 176 points) typically is ranked around third among in-state recruits for 2014 — right in line with West Monroe offensive tackle Cameron Robinson and St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, considered by many the best in the nation at his position. Noil is also ranked nationally as a top-10 receiver.
Noil’s teammate, defensive tackle Gerald Willis (6-3, 275), also ranks in the top 10 of most in-state lists. Willis is the younger brother of Alabama defensive back Landon Collins, the former Dutchtown High standout.
“They both understand what it takes to be a top recruit,” first-year Karr coach Nathaniel Jones said. “It takes a great work ethic. I think they’re just out here just trying to be the best high school players they can be.”
Noil has earned the right to take his time, thanks to his quarterback heroics last season that led Karr to the Class 4A state championship. He capped the run by throwing for 145 yards during a 29-22 win against Neville in December at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
More is yet to come this fall as he enters his senior season. For now, it’s time to examine each program’s roster and coaching staff and follow up on information he receives from schools.
And know that he pays attention to everything. Noil took mental notes last season as he watched senior teammates endure the recruiting process, from their first college letters to National Signing Day.
Now it’s his turn. It’s why he speaks about recruiting in such a calm tone. Why he handles the calls and the school visits like he’s experienced it all before.
In college, Noil wants to play receiver for a passing offense in 2014, a program that will allow him to flourish early — even as a true freshman.
As if enough schools weren’t competing for his services, Noil won a skills competition earlier this month at a national recruiting event. His performance included a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 45.3-inch vertical jump.
Noil clearly is making his own decisions. While the addition of former Karr teammate Noel Ellis to the Texas A&M roster doesn’t hurt the Aggies’ chances, he doesn’t plan on following anybody’s dream but his own.
“It’s what comes out of me,” he said, “what I feel about the school.”