College football stars in the making: 7 wildcats celebrate National Signing Day

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, February 12, 2020

PHOTO: Signing Day ESJ.jpg

PHOTO: Antonio Sanders.jpg

PHOTO: Dontae Fleming.jpg


RESERVE — Dontae Fleming could have had all of this behind him in December.

The East St. John senior wide receiver didn’t just choose his college in 2019, he also put pen to paper and signed his name on a National Letter of Intent, confirming his commitment to play his next football game for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He even had a nice little ceremony in his school library with his family and coaches.

But what’s the fun in celebrating without the teammates who have fought battles beside him on the football field?

Dontae Fleming put pen to paper to commit to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette back in December. He and his family celebrated the accomplishment with the other Wildcat signees inside the school gym last week.

Fleming chose to officially celebrate his decision with six of his fellow Wildcats at a big party held in the school’s gym on Wednesday, which was National Signing Day across the country. Besides Fleming, the future Ragin’ Cajun, there were offensive lineman Jakobi Anderson, who signed with Mississippi Delta Community College; defensive back Amani Bernard, who signed with Southern Arkansas; offensive lineman Jeremiah Harry, who signed with McPherson College; defensive back Shaun Sterling, who signed with Glenville State College; defensive back Antonio Sanders, who signed with Louisiana College; and defensive back Howard Joseph, who will attend Nicholls State University as a preferred walk-on.

East St. John football players Jakobi Anderson, Dontae Fleming, Howard Joseph, Antonio Sanders, Shaun Sterling, Jeremiah Harry and Amani Bernard celebrated their college football signings last week in a big celebration attended by East St. John students and eighth graders from around St. John Parish.

For Wildcats Coach Brandon Brown, having just completed his second season at East St. John, it was a big deal. Brown invited not just his own school’s student body, but also the eighth grade classes at all the local public schools to attend and watch the ceremony. The East St. John band even performed.

“It was real nice,” said Fleming, who wanted to celebrate with his teammates rather than with a solo ceremony. “I’ve been dreaming of that since I was small. I wanted to go up there with all my teammates. There were a lot of people there from a lot of different schools, a lot of reporters, the band.”

Antonio Sanders, future football player for Louisiana College, poses for the camera in the East St. John Library on National Signing Day.

Brown was especially proud of the large group of signees on the stage considering last year, there were only two. He said there will be more to come.

“Since we started, we’ve talked about changing the culture here at East St. John,” Brown said. “We talk about East St. John as the flagship team of this parish. We’re starting to see the results of that. I’m so proud of these guys.”