Heralded parish recruit off to a fast start in 2021

Kyle Riviere
Donaldsonville Chief
Former Ascension Catholic football player Khai Prean (2) has transferred to play his senior season at St. James. He is a four-star receiver prospect.

Ascension Catholic’s Khai Prean generated quite the buzz over the summer. 

Prean became one of the hottest names in the 2023 recruiting cycle as he turned heads at camps and teams from numerous Power-Five conferences showered him with scholarship offers.

There was plenty of hype for Prean heading into 2021, and though the Bulldogs have played just two games so far, the Ascension Catholic standout has lived up to the high expectations and then some.

In just two outings, Prean has already scored five touchdowns, but it’s the way he’s scoring that has been so impressive. He’s done it all. Prean has scored from the ground, through the air and he has even scored on defense.

His hot start is what many recruiting analysts predicted before the season.

As a sophomore, Prean began to steadily make a name for himself as he produced highlight-reel plays each week.

As the Bulldogs went undefeated during the regular season and claimed a district championship, Prean rushed for 897 yards and 14 touchdowns in just eight games. He also scored on two punt returns and one pick-six.

Those feats were good enough for him to be named the District 7-1A Co-Offensive MVP. He was also named honorable-mention All-State.

After the season, the scholarship offers began to pour in for Prean. His first offer came back in March from an SEC school in Mississippi State.

Ever since then, he has received seven more. Those offers have come from schools such as Michigan State, Kansas State and most recently, Auburn. The Tigers offered Prean last month.

Recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks of 247Sports said this of Prean: “Prean’s athleticism shows on the field. He flashes initial burst and acceleration with good top-end speed that fuels his big-play ability. Prean’s size and solid build make him a tough tackling assignment at the small-school level. His running instincts and contact balance enhance his physical gifts as a runner.”

Prean is currently ranked by Rivals as the 158th-best 2023 prospect nationally. They rank him the third-best all-purpose back in the country and the 14th-best recruit in Louisiana.

Also, 247Sports ranks him the 11th-best prospect in the state, while the 247Sports Composite have Prean listed as the 12th-best recruit in Louisiana. They also rank him as the 236th-best prospect in the nation.

Schools have also been impressed with Prean’s ability to excel outside of football. He’s an all-district basketball player, and he finished as the Class 1A state runner-up in the 200.

“Prean’s physical tools and overall athletic profile are strong,” Brooks said. “He owns the requisite size with verified speed that raises his ceiling. His three-sport participation, which includes basketball, too, further enhances his athletic profile.”

After playing running back for the past two seasons, Ascension Catholic has been splitting Prean out to play wide receiver much more in 2021.

In the Bulldogs’ upset loss to Vermillion Catholic, Prean had touchdown catches of 94 and 39 yards. He also had a rushing score in Ascension Catholic’s 30-8 victory over Archbishop Hannan.

But Prean has been just as good on defense. He has scored on a pick-six in each game this season.

“Prean could very well wind up on defense in the long run,” Brooks said. “He’s played safety for Ascension Catholic, and his physical running style as a ball carrier should carry over to a full-time defensive role if desired. He could contribute in varied special-teams roles as well.”