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High schools announce National Signing Day plans

LAPLACE — As the end of high school draws near, National Signing Day becomes an occasion for student athletes to celebrate their future in college athletics with coaches, friends and family.

The occasion is typically hosted at school with cake and plenty of accolades as the young athletes don college gear and sign a binding letter of intent to the school of their choice. St. Charles Catholic High School and Riverside Academy are hosting National Signing Day ceremonies on Wednesday, Feb. 3, while East St. John and West St. John are holding off on the celebration for the time being.

St. Charles Catholic’s Mandel Eugene already committed to playing football at Tulane University during the early signing day period. He will be honored at the Signing Day ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday, along with fellow Comet Kamren Campbell, who has committed to play football for Louisiana College.

Retiring SCC Coach Frank Monica said both are outstanding young men who played an important role in helping the Comets reach the Division III-Class 2A championship in 2020.

Monica believes Eugene’s best football is still ahead of him.

“He’s a long-ranging guy with great speed. He can run with the ball and hit with the best of them, and he is very, very flexible in terms of positions that he can play,” Monica said. “He can play inside or outside as a linebacker, and he has tremendous speed. He has a great work ethic, and I think his leadership ability is just off the charts when it comes to what he can bring to the locker room.”

According to Monica, Campbell has an equally strong work ethic and the versatility to be a great asset to Louisiana College.

“Kamren Campbell is just a steady player for us and a physical type corner back,” Monica said. “He’ll fit somewhere in the secondary. I don’t know if he will be a cornerback, but he will be a strong safety, free safety type guy. He’s actually big enough and physical enough to be an outside linebacker, so he’s a pleasure to coach. Both of them are.”

Riverside Academy coach Kevin Dizer said Nick Washington will sign a letter of intent to play football at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The Signing Day ceremony will take place around 12:45 p.m. Feb. 3 in the school gym.

The Rebels had their best season since Dizer became head coach three years ago, and Washington has brought great talent to the defensive line.

“I’m proud of Nick for playing four years of high school ball and his hard work. Nick actually started high school as a safety, and now he’s a 250-pound defensive lineman,” Dizer said. “I think being a natural athlete helped him play that D-line position. If he works hard, he’ll do just fine and be a contributing member of the team.”

Dizer is not sure whether any other Rebels will be signing to continue their football careers. All eyes have been on Gage Larvadain after his outstanding offensive performance in the 2020 season earned him Crescent City Sports’ High School Football Player of the Year. Dizer said the swift-footed quarterback has one offer on the table for football but has not made any decisions at this time.

East St. John’s Welland Williams has already committed to McNeese State University in Lake Charles, while Jackie Marshall committed to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Wildcats coach Brandon Brown would like to hold a ceremony to honor their collegiate choices. However, COVID-19 precautions and virtual schooling have presented challenges to figuring out the logistics. As of Jan. 28, East St. John did not have a ceremony planned for National Signing Day.

Brown said Williams and Marshall have been excellent additions to The E’s football program.

“From day one when I stepped foot into the building, they were going into their sophomore year. For three years, we have grown together, and we’ve kind of built our program around guys like Jackie and guys like Welland,” Brown said. “They led by example, not just on the field, but also by the things they did in the locker room and the things they did in the classroom. This is bigger than football. We really want to develop and create great scholars and put wonderful people out into the world. That’s who they are.”

West St. John only had a handful of seniors on its 2020 football team. Coach Brandon Walters said Jaydon Hamilton and Troy Jasmin are considering taking their football careers to the next level, but no decisions have been made at this time.

“They play other sports as well, so they are trying to wait it out and see what happens for them,” Walters said. “I think both of those guys have good work ethic. They are definitely taking care of business academically. I think they’re both college material. It’s a matter of being ready for the next step. Those two guys could have an impact on a college level, depending on what opportunities come about for each one of them.”