by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Rarely do we highlight young high school players from the next cycle before their time, as we feel so many kids are being overlooked in the present class as it is...
....however.... when you're as gifted as Tackett Curtis...we make exceptions.
One of the fastest rising names of the 2023 class, Many High's explosive safety Tackett Curtis has burst on to the scene after a phenomenal sophomore season. Leading his school to the 2A State Championship (coached by his uncle Jess Curtis), Tackett pulled off one play after another beyond his youth.
The Northwestern Louisiana safety is no slight sophomore either...
Standing at a long 6'2, Curtis is also thickening at a quicker rate than many sophomores (205 pounds) and when combined with his frenzied instinctual play, flying around with zero regard for skill position humanity, the Many safety is a human missile crisis for every offensive coordinator to game plan against.
When I mean fly to the ball, I'm only barely using hyperbole...
The Many defender gains a head full of steam before becoming a battering ram, shutting everyone down in the ashes of their wake.
He's so good, I'm not even defining him by what he's doing right this instance... it's the knowledge of the footballing journey that's about to unfold for this young man which is truly exciting.
Taking precise angles as he attaches himself to the ball like a magnet, Curtis sports smart gap discipline, excellent contain, heroic pursuit, impeccable reactions (6 INTs last year...all after the ball had touched an opponent)...
For one interception, the Many High safety sniffed out a batted pass and dove for the interception, sliding on his back and shoulder as he completed the grab, pointing out his natural anticipation skills & sick athleticism.
He executed this again when a pass ricocheted off a cornerback's outstretched hand and a receiver before Curtis arrived to catch the ball out of the air for yet another pick.
Frankly, some of Curtis's sophomore plays were so outrageous in their swagger, definitive aggression and fortified destruction that the truth must be said: why haven't LSU offered the young man?
That's a big mistake if they never do...
Blasting receptions out of the hands of receivers, snuffing out the option game just as it begins (sometimes before) blowing up the line of scrimmage, creating turnovers, and seeking retribution on all ball-carriers who dare to step on the same field as him.....he's the definition of a modern safety...
....no blade of grass is safe from Tackett's ultimate destiny.
He gives the maximum on every play:
A lot of Tackett's highlights begin with the young man far from the focus of the action at first; then, he appears out of nowhere for a thunderous play.
Even if there's a few missed tackles by his teammates, Curtis has their back 100%, huffing and puffing across the field in order to physically devastate running backs or receivers...often pasting skill position players to the ground.
Curtis also showcased the uncanny playmaking abilities every major program are on the lookout for, highlighted by a fumble recovery he ran in for a touchdown:
Fumbling the scoop at first, this delayed his run to the end zone and allowed offensive opponents to recover, obscuring his path...for two tenths of a second. He simply collected himself, ripped the ball up, cut back across the offensive lineman and quarterback (effectively juking them into a block by a Many High defender) and turned on the jets...was he even touched???
Tackett isn't even a raw prospect for me...sure his game will only evolve and improve, however when judging by his off the charts character, high football IQ, championship experience or filled-out measurables, you can accurately judge his game right now... (he's only going to grow, too... a scary proposition for offenses, as well as his parents' grocery bill).
With Tackett also being highly touted, trained and mentored by Shreveport-native, LSU Tigers Legend and #18 Jacob Hester, it's odd there hasn't been an offer from the Tigers...although could it be simply down to the turnover from Bill Busch to Daronte Jones???
Or maybe LSU happens to be focusing on 2022 as much as specifically possible, perhaps some coaches in the 5 o'clock Power Hour sessions wonder why locals are making such a big fuss about a 2023 guy, right now??
Well...now locals aren't the only ones making a big deal about Many High's medieval safety:
24 offers have come in for the highly-lauded safety (who also rips opponents apart in the return game and at running back):
Among the growing list are Oregon from the other day, Boston College, USC, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Louisville, Colorado and Ole Miss...remember, he's only a sophomore.
To me, Tackett will be a 5 star at some point...
...it's only a matter of time before the "worst kept secret in Louisiana football" gets an offer from you know who...Nick Saban....
Make no mistake, now that he's started off strong with one title and a brilliant sophomore campaign, if his game continues to expand / evolve and if he can sustain his potentially boundless sideline to sideline pace, then Tackett will set defensive standards within the state of Louisiana until graduation.
I talked to Tackett Curtis just yesterday in a one on one through text and here's what the young riptide safety had to say about his recruitment, his friendship with Jacob Hester and much more:
LONN: Given the fact you are such a highly gifted Louisiana talent, only a sophomore, have LSU been in contact, Tackett?
TACKETT: No sir they haven’t been at all. Thank you again for the kind words.
LONN: That's bizarre, I'm sure they will very shortly now...How did you get to know Tigers Legend Jacob Hester?
TACKETT: I used to live in Stonewall which is a few minutes from Shreveport. Mr. Hester was still living up there and I got hooked up with him for a couple summers.
LONN: Nice! What do you think he helped you with the most?
TACKETT: He helped me with my footwork and route running the most.
LONN: As a Louisiana-native, are you a Tigers fan?
TACKETT: I’m not a LSU fan. I grew up a Bama fan. However both My older brothers both attend LSU currently and one even used to be one of the Mike the Tigers for a couple years and has made me like them more than I used to although Bama probably is still my most favorite team although I’m not as die hard on them as I used to be.
I really just like watching teams that play hard and aggressive on defense. I really don’t have a favorite team anymore and don’t dislike any team either. Mr Hester is a great man. I was so appreciative that he took time to work with a young kid like me. I remember him saying that I reminded him of Erik Decker, who he played with in Denver.
He was very good to work with me. I looked up to him and appreciated it a lot.
He knew I liked Bama and he obviously didn’t, so in the pic he is holding up four fingers for how many times he beat Bama at LSU and made me hold up a zero for how many times Bama beat him.
LONN: That's total Jake! I bet Daronte Jones, LSU's new defensive coordinator & safeties coach, will be the guy who pursues you. I bet the only reason LSU hasn't offered you is Bill Busch being there. But that's very interesting you grew up a Bama fan.
TACKETT: Yes sir.
LONN: No wonder Jacob was trying to turn you to the purple & gold side.
TACKETT: He was trying to work on me all the way back then.
LONN: Wow, I'm looking at all those offers coming in, I didn't even know you had this many. Congrats on Oregon tonight, man!
TACKETT: Thank you! I appreciate it.
LONN: Can you sense your profile rising?
TACKETT: Yes. I appreciate all these teams looking at my film and thinking enough of my game to offer me early. They are going to get my attention.
LONN: And that's how it should be, bro. Loyalty and riding or dying from the jump is what it's about
TACKETT: I agree.
I just want people who are following my recruitment to know I’m not focused on LSU.
I’m focused on the schools that see value in my ability and think I’m a great fit for them. Different schools see different things in each player. I’m blessed to have a number of great programs who have stuck their neck out there early and are betting on me. I appreciate that and the way that I was raised, loyalty means a whole lot.
I’m focused on those schools that have bet on me and believe in me and working to prove them right everyday.
2020 PARTIAL STATS:
1 FR RET TD
1 ONSIDE KR TD
(if anyone has his full stats, please send them to us. Thank you!)
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Tackett is a stellar young man with a promising future of ahead of him.
Tackett, follow your light, follow your beliefs, go with what you know is true and believe in what you're doing, enjoy what you're doing and most of all: love what you do.