Shyrone Carey has seen this movie before. In fact, he starred in it when he came out of Marrero (La.) Archbishop Shaw High School in 2001. At that time, he was one of the most sought after recruits in the country. Tennessee signed him before he made his way home to Baton Rouge to play for LSU.
Now Carey can pass on his football and recruiting knowledge and experiences to his younger cousin: junior WR Raheem Falkins (New Orleans/Carver). He is about to burst onto the recruiting scene and will likely emerge as one of the top prospects from the Bayou State in the Class of 2013.
“It’s all about to happen for Raheem,” Carey said. “He’s about to blow up. I see him as a Calvin Johnson-type of receiver. He’s big and rangy. He runs routes, gets open and understands coverages. And he’s a good blocker and very physical.”
Falkins, 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, has no idea what’s in front of him. His football abilities, as well as his excellent work in the classroom, will provide him a chance to get an education and play major college football at the next level.
“Raheem is one of the best kept secrets in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana,” Carver coach and athletic director Walt Harris said. “Alabama is probably showing the most interest followed by LSU. He just doesn’t have much exposure at this point. He would be an asset to any school in the nation.”
However, it’s not just Falkins' athletic ability. He stands out at Carver in every way possible.
“As good of a wide receiver that Raheem is, he’s a better person,” Harris said. “The kid is never in trouble and a very good student. He’s well-mannered and dresses appropriately. And he’s one of our school leaders.”
Carey became the coach at Carver after Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans. He recently left to accept the running back coach’s position at Langston College in Oklahoma. Still, he has taken it upon himself to see that Falkins does everything the right way and from the ground up. He started working with Falkins a few years ago when he was a freshman. Carey had a chance to play for a couple of coaching legends in high school coach, Hark Tierney, and his college coach, Nick Saban. Along the way he learned much about the game of football and the game of life. He’s now passing that on to his cousin.
“We watched a lot of film and now he understands the defense and what to do," Carey said. "He sees things on the field and mentally understands the game. He’s learning the nuances of the game and he has a great understanding of the game. That makes a difference and he just loves to play.
“It’s a family thing with us. I am just trying to pass on what I learned to him. I played at LSU and coached here at Carver. I want to help develop Raheem. He’s growing into his own and I have seen great progress.”
Falkins is a sponge, soaking up everything Carey and the Carver coaching staff throws at him. He knows he’s on to something and he just wants to continue to fine tune his craft and be the best he can be, both on and off the field.
“I can go up and get the ball at its highest point,” Falkins said. “I run good routes but I have to get better at everything and in all the little things of playing the position.
“This year I made the big plays much more so than last season. I had to be the lead guy this season and it seemed to come much easier for me.”
Harris has plenty to say about his star player and you can hear the excitement in his voice.
“Raheem has excellent ball skills,” Harris said. “His height is his greatest asset. He's quick out of his breaks and has great hands. He snatches the ball out of the air. He also runs well and is a track guy.
“There’s no doubt he will be 210 to 215 pounds in a few years. Raheem is a work out warrior. He works hard and will continue to do so. He’s also a student of the game and knows what everyone’s responsibility is on every play we call. Raheem has a full understanding of our offense.”
What lays ahead remains to be seen. But there are strong indications that Falkins will be on the receiving end of some major offers.
“The schools I like are Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and USC,” Falkins said. “LSU is winning. They just go out and ball and it’s close to home. They win and I want to win. The same things I guess go for Oklahoma and Alabama.”
Falkins hasn’t yet had the opportunity to visit a bunch of schools and attend a bunch of games, but he did stop by Tuscaloosa a few weeks ago when Alabama hosted LSU.
“That was something else,” Falkins said. “That was just crazy.”
His mother, Tamice Falkins, is just happy that her son has worked his way into this position. She knows her son has a chance to move on and do something special, especially having a chance to get a degree.
“I just want to see Raheem fulfill his dream,” she said. “I am proud of him and I just want him to mainly go get that education. That’s what’s so important.”
One thing Carey learned when he was being courted by schools from coast to coast a decade ago is that with recruiting, you have to take your time. He’s hoping Falkins has the same opportunities he had. If he does he wants to help be that sounding board every step of the way.
“I would tell him to focus on football and not worry about recruiting,” Carey said. “I told him to wait and take his visits. His time will come and he will make the right decision.”