Notebook: East St. John’s Park to Arizona, Ponchatoula’s Campbell to GA Tech, St. Aug’s high hopes

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Lanard Fournette 2013

Lanard Fournette (#4) will have the chance to emerge from his famous older brother Leonard’s shadow for St. Augustine in 2014 (Photo: Parker Waters).

East St. John cornerback Antonio Parks committed to the Arizona this weekend. He also has offers from Arizona State, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Purdue, South Alabama, East Carolina and Duke.

Parks (5’10-177) previously attended Junior Day activities at both Texas A&M and Texas.

The duo of Parks and teammate Xavier Lewis combine to give the East St. John Wildcats one of the best cornerback tandems in the state.

Recently, Ponchatoula quarterback Christian Campbell decided that he wanted to play collegiately at Georgia Tech. Campbell (6’1-195) turned in a 4.47 forty time at a recent Mississippi State camp. As a sophomore, Campbell earned a trip to the state meet in the 100 meter hurdles.

“He’s the best athlete on this team,” Ponchatoula High coach Hank Tierney said regarding Campbell.

Tierney initially compares Campbell to Ronald Bellamy, a player who Tierney coached at Archbishop Shaw and who eventually moved on to play for the Michigan Wolverines and then the NFL. But the legendary coach also notes how his current star runs like former Shaw and Nebraska quarterback Mickey Joseph. “Campbell is bigger,” said Tierney.

Campbell ran for over 1,700 yards and threw for more than 900 yards last fall, with 28 total touchdowns.

The recruiting process could continue for Campbell if the right circumstances – such as the potential to play cornerback or wide receiver at the next level – occur.

“He’ll run the same type offense at Georgia Tech that we run at Ponchatoula,” Tierney continued. “His skill set is very unique. To play another position, you would have to project how he might perform there and that’s tough because he is competing with players who have played those positions all of their lives and are comfortable .”

PURPLE REIGN: Leonard Fournette has moved on to the college ranks, but St. Augustine head coach Cyril Crutchfield feels his 2014 team could be special.

“This group has the best attitude and best overall work ethic that I have had,” Crutchfield exclaimed.

The Purple Knights fell one game shy of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome state championships last December following a semifinal loss to Rummel. “They’ve dispersed the responsibility of what needs to be done. Collectively, they work together for the good of the team, so that all 11 can be successful.”

St. Aug had 14 seniors on the 2013 squad sign football scholarships, including the dynamic running back Fournette to LSU, cornerback Jermaine Roberts to Texas and offensive tackles Joseph Paul and Courtney Garnett to Oklahoma.

Despite those losses, the cupboard is hardly bare. At least six seniors on this year’s team are being highly recruited by college football programs far and wide.

Wide receiver Stanley Morgan (6’1-190) has offers from Clemson, LSU, Nebraska, Georgia, Tennessee and Michigan State. Shifty RB/WR Lanard Fournette holds offers from USC, LSU, Alabama, Tulane, Miami and Fla. State. Safety Theron Williams is a Louisiana Tech commitment. CB Joshua Brooks (5’10-180) holds an offer from Southern Miss. Safety Yusef Scipio has been offered by ULL, ULM, La. Tech and offensive guard Collins Williams (6’2-315), a three-year starter and the team’s best offensive lineman last season, is considering offers from Mississippi State, La. Tech and Tulane.

Theron Williams, in particular, is an intriguing prospect and a key piece to the Purple Knights’ secondary success.

“This is the best defensive backfield I’ve had here,” Crutchfield said. “(Theron) is a great athlete. We call him ‘Baby Tyrann (Mathieu)’ because of his ability to make plays.”

Williams (5’10-180, 4.55) lined up at safety to begin the 2013 campaign after previously playing at the linebacker spot. He totaled 42 tackles and an interception before an injury curtailed his season after only four games. He has a tremendous impact on the defense when he’s healthy.

“If there are 10 hard collision tackles during a game, he’s got seven of them,” said Crutchfield.

The Purple Knights will be challenged in the early going in 2014, facing powerful Landry-Walker in the jamboree before tests against rival McDonogh 35, Edna Karr, Crutchfield’s alma mater Covington and perennial power John Curtis in the first part of the regular season.

The weekly battles won’t be for the feint of heart.

Although the team’s expectations are the same finish the season hoisting the state championship trophy, their goals are a bit more manageable. “It’s more of a team focus,” Crutchfield said. “One game, one week at a time. The rest will take care of itself.”

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau


Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even greater fashion while in Baton Rouge. Nadeau played semi-pro football for two seasons with the New Orleans Blue Knights. He has been a prominent sports figure in the New Orleans area for 29 years. Nadeau currently serves as a color…

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