"The tournament was beautiful," exclaimed Thibodaux cornerback Cartel Murray, who helped lead the Louisiana squad to a berth in the semifinals. "There was so much talent there and it was evenly distributed, so that you had to win by will and by coming together as a team. There were no mismatches.
"We lost to the South Florida Express today in the semis. They had the best player in the tourney, their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Miami commit). He was the unquestioned leader of their team. He was amazing, very accurate and confident. I think we lost 34-22. We got behind early, but our quarterback, Stevie Douglas (Memphis commit), brought us back with some big throws and time just ran out on us."
The Louisiana team, which included Devin Boutte, Jarvis Landry (LSU commit), Denzeil Warner, Dylan Yesso, Odell Beckham, Douglas, and Murray, finished with a 5-2 record - which included wins over teams from Maryland, Texas, and the Southeast Elite squad (comprised of players from multiple states).
"Devin Boutte is a quiet guy," said Murray, "but he was a momentum changer for us. He answered for us with a reception when we needed it. Odell Beckham is an all-around receiver who makes the circus catch look easy. I like the way he's so mello. He has a cool demeanor.
"I rode down there with Jarvis Landry and - wow, wow - he's just Jarvis Landry. He was ready to play. That's all he talked about. I was so impressed with how he focused on the little things. He sealed one of our games with an interception. He picked off a pass, but the officials waved it off because they said he didn't control the ball long enough. So then he intercepted another pass two plays later."
"Some of the coaches want to see my film from our first couple of games this fall," said Murray, "and I'm okay with that."
"That should be a really good game. Our coaches did a wonderful job in the McDonogh game last year (21-20 Thibodaux win). Our coaches made the right adjustments in that game and they stay under control, regardless of the circumstances. They've been with us in the weight room and on the practice field, helping us, and they expect nothing less than perfection. In turn, we expect nothing less than perfection."
In 2009, Murray notched 45 tackles (31 solo), intercepted three passes, and averaged more than 30 yards per kick return. He also knows plenty about talent, having played alongside Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson.