NEW ORLEANS – Four student-athletes from St. Augustine High School formally signed their letters of intent and declared Wednesday where they would continue their academic and athletic pursuits after graduation next month.
The quartet of Perre Barbarin, Albert Franklin, Devin Givens and Brandon Watson entered the school’s library surrounded by coaches, classmates, friends and family who were all excited to share in the celebration of this milestone in their lives.
Watson and Franklin, both members of the Purple Knights baseball team, chose to attend Tougaloo College where they will continue their careers together. The lure of playing close to home and the chance to be roommates was a combination that they could not pass up.
“We visited together,” said Watson. “When we went up there, we kind of felt at home. Just the environment made it feel comfortable for us.”
“We can come home a lot, we can play against people we know,” added Franklin. “You can always come to your people and talk to your family.”
Another huge factor in their decision-making was the focus that Tougaloo placed on academics, and its status as a historically black institution; two characteristics in line with the St. Aug tradition.
“They were very strong on academics and I liked that,” Franklin said. “They want you to get your degree, they’re not worried about you playing sports; but they also want you to play sports and be good at it and be great in the classroom.”
Both agreed that the St. Augustine experience was vital in getting them to this point.
“I feel like it prepared us a lot, not just as students and athletes, but as young men,” Watson said. “They prepared us for the real world that’s ahead.”
Watson plans to major in economics while Franklin will major in physical therapy.
Perre Barbarin and Devin Givens were both spring football commits. Barbarin, who played running back for the Purple Knights, chose to play for the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. Givens, a wide receiver, will play for Post University in Waterbury, Ct.
“At St. Francis, I see that they are about work,” said Barbarin regarding his decision. “I was fortunate to have a coach here at St. Aug that coached at St. Francis, and he felt like I would be able to fit in and have a huge impact.”
Givens relied on his family for guidance in selecting to become an Eagle. “I talked a lot to my aunts and uncles, we’re all real close,” he said. “They just all gave me life lessons and told me about how they went about picking colleges. Post definitely made me feel like I was at home so it wasn’t hard for me to make a decision.”
For all four athletes, the lessons learned at St. Augustine are ones that they plan to carry with them throughout their lives. That’s something they are thankful for and that their teachers, teammates and classmates can be proud of.