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RIVER PARISHES ATHLETES HEADED TO NEXT LEVEL

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 9, 1998

RESERVE – Wednesday was National Signing Day, college football’sequivalent to the NFL draft, as recruits across the country put their verbalcommitments into writing.

The list of River Parishes athletes playing on Saturdays continued to growas players from Vacherie to Hahnville signed letters of intent touniversities from Louisiana to Georgia.East St. John had two top recruits sign Wednesday morning. Offensivelineman Corey Sewell signed with Tulane and wide receiver Kerry Watkinsinked a scholarship to Georgia Tech.

Sewell, who was also courted by Southwestern Louisiana, Nicholls State,Alcorn State and Northeast Louisiana, said he chose Tulane because of itshigh standards of academics. An “A+ Student” and a member of theAcademic All-State honorable mention team with a 3.26 grade pointaverage, Sewell said he plans to major in electrical engineering.

Sewell was selected to the All-River Parishes and All-Metro teams afterleading the Wildcats to their second-straight playoff appearance. He saidthe key to being successful in both academics and athletics is timemanagement and dedication and discipline.Sewell committed verbally to the Green Wave in December but said therecruiting process was still hectic. He said he was receiving about threephone calls a night from recruiters.

“I am glad to get it over with,” Sewell said.Sewell said the Tulane coaches were really friendly and open.

“They talked to you like friends and not coaches,” Sewell said. “Theylaughed a lot with you.”

Sewell’s father, Gibson, said the decision was basically Corey’s and thathe left it up to him. Gibson Sewell said the main factor was academics andsaid that he liked that a lot of the Green Wave’s games will be close tohome.

“It is a pretty good situation,” Sewell said. “We’ll get to see him a lot.”

Watkins will also being going into a good situation at Georgia Tech. TheYellow Jackets are looking for receivers and return their quarterback fromlast season.

“Kerry is going where he can play right away,” East St. John coach LouValdin said. “Georgia Tech runs a pro-style offense and throws thefootball. It is a program on the way up.”Watkins said academics was the major factor in choosing Georgia Tech. Hechose the Yellow Jackets over Illinois, Michigan, Miami (Fla.) and Tulane. “The players made be feel comfortable,” Watkins said. “They are countingon me to start early.”

Watkins’ mother, Lisha, said there was pressure on him to make a decisionfor awhile but that it started easing up recently.”Everybody was kind,” Lisha Watkins said. “They were very nice and veryrespectable.”

Thomas Pittman, an East St. John graduate who was drafted by theMontreal Expos after signing with Auburn last year, attended the signingceremony in theschool’s cafeteria. Like Pittman, Watkins, a member of the Wildcats’baseball team, may have to choose between baseball and football at theend of the year.

“When the time comes to make a decision, I am going to have to make it,”Watkins said. “Whatever is best for my future is the one I am going tohave to go with.”

The District 10-3A champion St. James also sent two players to the nextlevel Wednesday. Defensive ends Terrence Landry and Daniel Borne signedwith Nicholls State and Southwestern Louisiana, respectively.

Landry, an All-River Parishes selection, chose Nicholls State overMcNeese State, Southern Mississippi and Southwestern Louisiana. St.James coach Rick Gaille said he could make an impact right away.

“He can contribute right off the bat,” Gaille said. “Nicholls State is a I-AAprogram and got a I-A player.”Daniel Borne, an All-District 10-3A selection, selected Southwestern overMcNeese, Southern Miss and Nicholls State. Gaille said Borne, only 17years old, has a lot of growing ahead of him and could contribute on eitherside of the ball.

Two players from the District 6-5A champion Destrehan Wildcats signedWednesday. Offensive lineman Chrys Bullock joined Sewell with the TulaneGreen Wave and linebacker Germond Williams signed with NorthwesternLouisiana.

West St. John defensive lineman Donriel Borne, L’Observateur”s RiverParishes defensive most valuable player, has already signed with and isattending Pearl River Junior College. West St. John coach Laury Dupont said it is a good situation for both Borneand Pearl River.

“He is a very good kid,” Dupont said. “Well disciplined. He will doeverything you ask of him. He is going to be a good ball player.”

Riverside defensive lineman Stephen Gill signed with SouthwesternLouisiana, while Hahnville quarterback Antoine Williams joined his formercoach, Darren Barbier, at Nicholls State.

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