Bulldog junior ranked among the best in the nation

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

As the football season approaches, we continue to hear about the top recruits in the 2021 class, but in recruiting, seniors aren't the only prospects getting attention from college programs.

Many of the top recruits in the 2022 class have also been coming to the forefront.

ESPN.com has released their top 300 juniors for this season. One of the 2022 recruits named comes from right here in Ascension Parish.

That prospect is Ascension Catholic's J'Mond Tapp. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Tapp has been ranked by ESPN.com as the 172nd-best player in the 2022 recruiting class.

Overall, they give Tapp a rating of 82. To put that into context, ESPN.com's top-ranked recruit in 2022 is Southlake, Texas's Quinn Ewers. The quarterback has a rating of 92.

The website ranks Tapp as the eighth-best player in Louisiana for 2022. They also rank him as the 26th-best junior defensive end in the country.

Tapp is graded out as a four-star prospect by ESPN.

Tapp became a key component on Ascension Catholic's 2018 squad that reached the state title game. He was just a freshman.

That Bulldog team went 9-1 during the regular season.

This past season, under first-year head coach Benny Saia, Tapp became Ascension Catholic's starting defensive end on defense and their starting tight end on offense. He excelled at both positions.

Tapp was named both first-team All-District 7-1A and first-team All-Parish as both a defensive end and tight end.

The Bulldogs went undefeated during the regular season. That was a first for the program in more than 50 years.

They went on to reach the state quarterfinals, before being eliminated by Southern Lab.

But football isn't the only sport where Tapp has flourished. He's a terrific athlete that has also played well for the Bulldog basketball squad.

Tapp is a two-year starter. In both years, he has helped lead Ascension Catholic to the playoffs. In 2018, they reached the quarterfinals.

Last season, Tapp was named the District 7-1A Defensive MVP, and he was a second-team All-Parish selection.

He has yet to play his junior football season at Ascension Catholic, but he has already garnered scholarship offers from multiple "Power Five" programs. Tapp has received offers from Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Kansas.

Some of those football programs have already been represented in Ascension over the past decade.

In 2013, Dutchtown's Shelby Christy signed with Mississippi State. In 2017, East Ascension's Justin Harris signed with Baylor, and this past season, East Ascension's Steven McBride signed with Kansas.

Ascension Catholic football has had multiple players sign with college programs over the past two years.

In 2018, linebacker Bubba Gautreaux signed with Louisiana College, while defensive lineman Dillion Davis signed with Nicholls.

This past season, running back Jai Williams also signed with Nicholls, while offensive lineman Nick Hilliard signed with Princeton.

Tremendous uncertainly surrounds this upcoming football season, but if the season is played, Tapp and the Bulldogs will be seeking a second straight District 7-1A championship and their fifth straight appearance in at least the state quarterfinals.