Making dreams come true

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 10, 2001


Sixteen local athletes sign on Signing Day

LAPLACE – One of the most important days in college football was also one of the most important days in the lives of 16 local athletes on National Signing Day Wednesday. Two of the state’s top recruits were Hahnville quarterback Dawan Landry and St. James wide receiver Davin Dennis. Landry signed with Georgia Tech and Dennis with Kansas State. Landry chose Georgia Tech over Tulane. He was the offensive MVP in District 7-5A, the River Parishes and in the Metro area and an honorable mention all-state selection after leading Hahnville to an 11-1 record and the district championship. He passed for over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior season. “The atmosphere up there was great,” Landry said of Georgia Tech. “I got along great with the coaches. It’s a great engineering school and that helped.” Landry joins his cousin, former East St. John receiver Kerry Watkins, with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech was one of the best offensive teams in the country last season and played in the Peach Bowl against LSU. “They can put points up on the board,” Landry said. “They have been a top 25 team the last couple of years. Their strength of schedule is great. They play Florida State and if you can beat Florida State, you have a chance to win the national championship and that’s one of my goals.” Winning a national championship was also on Dennis’ mind when he signed with the Wildcats. Dennis selected Kansas State over Colorado, Pittsburgh and Massachusetts. “It was a pretty hard choice for me,” Dennis said. “I had to sit down and think about it. Once I did that, I decided I wanted to go to Kansas State. It’s the best place for me. They have a great program. I have a chance right off the bat to win a national championship.” Dennis was a first team all-District 7-5A and honorable mention all-state selection after catching 26 passes for 507 yards and six touchdowns in his senior season. Dennis’ teammate Shane Kliebert also signed in the school library Wednesday morning, signing with Nicholls State. The first team all-District 9-3A and honorable mention all-state defensive end chose the Colonels over Louisiana-Monroe after canceling a trip to Massachusetts. “I’m going somewhere I’m going to be comfortable,” Kliebert said. “It’s the right place for me. It’s down south where I grew up. It came down to where I felt where I belonged. I went to Nicholls State and felt at home.” Kliebert recorded 43 solo tackles and 19 assists in 2000. He also had 10 tackles for losses, five sacks and three forced fumbles. “I like the way they use their defensive ends,” Kliebert said of the Colonels. “They are going to put some weight on me so I can go in and make a big impact early.” Across the river, Lutcher had six players sign. Chris Johnson and William Adams both signed with Southern Mississippi, joining former Bulldog Kenneth Johnson with the Golden Eagles. Adams was a second team all-District 9-3A selection at running back in 2000. He chose Southern Miss over Louisiana-Lafayette, Henderson State and Tulane. Southern Miss has two seniors starting in the backfield this season so Adams said he has a good chance of starting his redshirt freshman season. “I need to get a little more strength and speed,” Adams said. “I get that all down, I should be set.” Johnson, who had Kenneth Johnson as his host when he made his visit, selected Southern Miss over Louisiana Tech. He was a Class 3A honorable mention all-State selection this past season. Johnson, the District 9-3A offensive MVP, gained 1,495 yards in offense in 2000 as a wide receiver, running back and kick returner. “I liked the academic program,” Johnson said. “I felt with the way they use their receivers, I can go in and play early.” David Pittman, a first team all-District 9-3A selection at defensive back, signed with Southern. He chose the Jaguars over Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette. He will also run track in college. “It feels good,” Pittman, who had three interceptions and 50 tackles at cornerback in 2000, said. “I think it will be a great opportunity. It will help open doors for the younger guys behind me. I liked what I saw on my visit up there. I should have an opportunity to start my redshirt freshman year.” Defensive back James Williams and defensive linemen Chris Lee and Courtney Long all signed with Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Ark. Williams was the defensive MVP in District 9-3A and a first team all-State selection in Class 3A his senior year in 2000. He set a team record and led the River Parishes with nine interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. “I felt good about it,” Williams said of his visit to Henderson State. “I like the environment. If I go in and do my work, I should see a lot of playing time.” Lee was an honorable mention all-District 9-3A selection in 2000. He chose Henderson State over Jackson State and Nicholls State. “It feels good stepping up to the next level,” Lee, who is projected at outside linebacker in college, said. “My main goal is to focus on my education, then focus on football after that.” Like Lee, Long liked the small school atmosphere Henderson State had to offer. Long chose the school over Jackson State and Nicholls State. He was a first team all-District 9-3A and honorable mention all-state pick in 2000 after recording 109 tackles, seven for losses, and seven sacks. “It’s a good school,” Long, who is also projected at outside linebacker, said. “If I go up there and do my work and do what I’m supposed to do, I can start.” It was also a busy time over the St. Charles Parish School Board office where five Hahnville and one Destrehan athlete signed. Hahnville wide receiver Aaron Alexander received a congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Alexander, a first team all-District 7-5A selection in 2000, said. “I get to play Division I football and get the best education possible.” Hahnville offensive lineman Dale Lirette and defensive lineman Lloyd Brimmer both signed with Louisiana-Monroe. Lirette was named first team all-District 7-5A and second team all-state in 2000. “I liked the atmosphere and all up there,” Lirette said. “I have a pretty good chance of playing early.” Brimmer was an honorable mention all-state and first team all-District 7-5A selection in 2000. He chose Louisiana-Monroe over Tulane and McNeese State. “I liked the facilities up there,” Brimmer said. “It’s not too far away from home and they have a great pharmaceutical school up there.” Defensive lineman Al Fiffie signed with Southern, choosing the Jaguars over Southern Miss and Alabama. Fiffie was an all-District 7-5A selection in 2000 after recording 44 solo tackles and 31 assists. He also had 11.5 sacks and 11 tackles behind the line. “It’s a great environment there,” Fiffie said. “There’s a lot of tradition there and you get to play in the Dome twice a year. And it’s close to home and I love my mother.” Destrehan all-state linebacker LeKeith Robinson signed with Louisiana-Monroe. Robinson was also the defensive MVP in both District 7-5A and the River Parishes after recording 102 tackles and 24 sacks in 2000. Robinson also looked at McNeese State and Clemson came on late. “Louisiana-Monroe is getting a good one,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “He is a good all-around athlete. He loves the game and plays it 100 percent. He gives as much as he can on every play. He’s a guy whose best games are ahead of him. He has the best athletic skills around here since Edward Reed.” East St. John’s Louis Gardner signed with Jackson State Thursday. Gardner was a first team all-District 7-5A and all-River Parishes pick in 2000 after catching 19 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Gardner chose Jackson State over Southern, Grambling and Murray State. “It feels good knowing I can go somewhere and compete for a spot,” Gardner said. “I get to play college ball in the next level. It’s not far from home. It has nice facilities and it always has a good football team.” Gardner, who is projected at tight end, said he may get a chance to play as a freshman. He will also play baseball in college. On the soccer front, Destrehan sweeper Natalie Robert signed with Louisiana-Lafayette. Robert was the District 10-I defensive MVP both her freshman and junior year and helped lead the Lady Cats to the district title this season. She was also an all-Metro selection last season.