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IN THE HUDDLE WITH ANTONIO L. MOY -Editor in Chief We are honored to release our Inaugural Letterman Magazine Northeast Louisiana (NELA) Football Issue. NELA has a wealth of talent this year on the field. In this issue we catch up with some of the state’s top prospects such as Rashard Lawrence, Cameron Lewis, and Devion Warren. Letterman Magazine primarily focuses on “Academics, Sports, and Character.” The magazine has a commitment to be a platform for high school athletes and provide a marketplace that will be beneficial for the magazine, the school’s athletic program, and the student-athlete. In addition to sports, we will host a number of events designed to promote goodwill, education, employment, and community beautification.

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I sincerely appreciate the support and look forward to many more years to come. Without God, family, friends, and community support none of this would be possible. Let’s make history!

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Words of Wisdom: 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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The Team Editor in Chief: Antonio L. Moy Letterman Magazine Founder Trandon L. Moy Chief Operations Officer Justin Evans Director of Marketing-Public Relations Lavell Warren Graphic Designer Jon Buckner Co-Editors Trandon L. Moy Jerrie W. Moy Chief Photographer James Lovell Field Photographer Lawrence McNeal Letterman Recruiting Expert Tommy Tabler Promotions Manager Marcel Higgins Chief Staff Writer Jimmy Touchet Contributing Writers Justin Clardy Brandy J. Flynn Shaunsia Moy Larry Perrin Dr. Lawanda L. Sykes, Ed. D Vincent Tataglia Special Thanks Andre Gant Tina Moy Angelique & Jerry Ward Wanda & William Carr

Academics, Sports, Character


Neville Tigers Neville looks to continue a decade of dominance

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ver the past decade, the Neville Tigers have been scratching their way to victory and planting their paws in the storied history book that is Neville High School.

In the 80 plus years of Tiger History, the Neville Nation has seen great coaches like Hall of Fame coaches Bill Ruple and Charlie Brown build dynasties in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s 1980’s and 1990’s. Current Neville head coach Mickey McCarty, who was named the Louisiana Sports Writer Association (LSWA) Class 4A All-State Coach of the Year in 2014,and his staff is preparing their own chapters in the Neville history books which could be entitled “A Decade of Dominance.” Over the course of these past ten years, the Tigers have won 108 games while only suffering 25 losses. Of those 25 losses, 14 of them were by a touchdown or less. In those ten seasons, Neville has won three state championships and one state runner-up trophy while advancing to at least the regional round of the Class 4A playoffs each year, reaching the quarterfinal round eight times and the semifinals six times. “We have a proud tradition of success here at Neville,” McCarty said. “We, as coaches, want our guys to be aware of the school that they are representing when they step out on the field and the work it takes to be continual successful.” If the Tigers are to defend their 2014 Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) Class 4A state championship, Neville will have several key holes to fill especially on the offensive side of the ball. Gone from last season’s Class 4A state championship team are star players like quarterback J.T. Jackson, running back Kavontae Turpin, wide receiver Chris Fuller and offensive linemen Cole Thomas, Mikorri Reese and Jaquarius Savage. One key position the Tigers will have to address is the position of quarterback. Coach McCarty says that three players have seen significant snaps during practice and will be competing for the starting role at quarterback. According to McCarty, senior Christopher Haynes (5’10”, 155 pounds), junior Jaiden Cole (6’1”, 190 pounds) and sophomore Peyton Batteford (6’2”, 186 pounds) have all seen snaps under center at the quarterback position in the spring and summer 7 on 7 programs. “Each those guys (Haynes, Cole and Batteford) handled themselves well in the spring and showed signs of improvement,” McCarty said. “In our system, the senior will certainly get his shot, and Chris (Haynes) has done a good job. At the same time, he (Haynes) is being chased by two good quality athletes that are right behind him so I think that there is good competition there. I believe that it will inspire each of those guys to improve and we will see which one will be the leader of our football team.” Even though Neville was hit with the news that senior wide receiver Chris Fuller would be transferring to IGM Academy in Florida earlier this summer, the cupboard is far from bare for the Tigers’ skill position core. Senior back / receiver Quinton Guice (6’2”, 170 pounds), senior running back Donald Jenkins (6’1”, 200 pounds), junior wide receiver / running back Josh Diarse (5’6”, 140 pounds) and senior tight end William Wooten (5’10”, 205 pounds) are all returning players from outstanding seasons in 2014. Jenkins was the third leading rusher for the Tigers with 82 carries for 662 yards with 7 touchdowns while Dairse was ranked fourth with 79 carries for


3 state titles, 1 state runner up and 108 wins in the past ten seasons for Tigers

511 yards with 4 touchdowns. In 2014, Guice was the third leading receiver for Neville with 14 catches for 246 yards with 3 touchdowns while Diarse was fifth on the team with 4 receptions for 48 yards with 1 touchdown. Wooten added 2 receptions for 14 yards.

NEVILLE TIGERS

On the offensive line, the Tigers will be counting on duo of senior returning starters in center John Kade Lawrence (6’0”, 200 pounds) and senior guard Blaze Van Buren (6’1”, 255 pounds) to sure up the interior of the Neville offensive line and provide leadership as the Tigers will be looking to replace three linemen lost to graduation. Junior Joctavius Phillips (6’4”, 275 pounds), sophomore Devon Phillips (n/a), senior Amando Che (5’10”, 232 pounds), senior Jarred Hughes (5’9“, 220 pounds) and junior Kyle Davis (6’1”, 270 pounds) are each competing for starting positions and playing time along the offensive line. On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence (6’3”, 300 pounds) is considered to be one of the country’s premier recruits at the defensive line position. “What we really like about Rashard (Lawrence) is the fact that he has worked real hard,” McCarty said. “One concern for coaches is when a guy like Rashard gets noticed as an underclassman is the temptation for that athlete to sit back, stop progressing and just read his press clippings. Rashard has stepped up his work ethic, continued to get better every day and provide the leadership to his teammates that we need him to do as coaches.” Joining Lawrence on the Neville defensive line are senior defensive ends Anterrius Goodin (5’9”, 225 pounds) and Ben Nola (6’3”, 190 pounds). Neville will be looking to replace linebackers Spencer Brooks and Alex Prince, who both graduated from last year’s squad. One area that will be strong for the Neville defense is the returning talent in the Tiger’s secondary. Junior defensive back Corey Straughter (5’11”, 160 pounds), junior safety Jacorion Andrews (6’0”, 170 pounds), junior defensive back Cole and senior defensive back Jake Kelly (5’10”, 140 pounds) saw significant playing time in 2014 and will be counted on to shut down opposing team’s passing game. The journey of the 2015 Neville Tigers began in December of 2014 following their one point victory over the Warren Easton Eagles in the Class 4A state championship game. After a few days off to enjoy and savor the championship, the Tigers went back to work in the off season strength and conditioning program and continued that work in a good but limited spring practice effort. “We got a good group of kids that worked extremely hard in the spring time,” McCarty said. “Coming out of spring practice, we were pleased with the work ethic that we had and the improvement that we were able to make in those few days of spring practice.” The Neville Nation can listen to all of the Tigers’ varsity football games on Mix 101.9 FM with Neal Shaw providing play-by-play, Stewart Shelby offering color commentary and Frank Neetles serving as a side-line reporter from all of the Tigers’ varsity football games in 2015.


Lions return 13 starters 19 lettermen from 2014 Class 5Aff team Ouachita Parish hungry to finish strong

Ouachita Parish Lions PINEVILLE REBELS OUACHITA PARISH

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or most teams making the playoffs would be considered a successful season - which is not the case at Ouachita Parish High School.

The Ouachita Parish Lions are looking to put last season’s subpar 5-6 playoff season behind them as they work their way into a team that can win the game in the fourth quarter. “I like the attitude of our guys,” Fitzgerald said. “They have been working really hard and have been really hungry. We had a disappointing season last year. Even though we made the playoffs, we did not win the games that we should have won so we are going into the season extremely hungry.” Junior quarterback Devion Warren (5’11”, 162 pounds) returns to lead the Ouachita Parish offense after sharing quarterback duties with Charles Wright, who graduated in 2014. Last season Warren played in 10 games completing 23-of-51 passes for 235 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He placed second on the team in rushing with 93 carries for 628 yards and 6 touchdowns. “Being a year older, Devion (Warren) will be more established in what we are doing offensively,” Fitzgerald said. “Over the past year going from his sophomore season to a junior year, he has developed not only physically, but mentally. We are looking forward to him leading this team.” Senior Vershon Hogg (5’8”, 153 pounds), senior Jaylen Payne (5’11”, 186 pounds) and junior Cephus Gix (5’9”, 165 pounds) will be counted on to man the skill positions in Ouachita Parish’s multiple set offense. On the offensive line, senior Kennedy Madison (6’1”, 251 pounds), senior offensive Aiden Kirkham (5’10”, 282 pounds), junior center Scott Young (6’0”, 177 pounds), junior Cameron Webb (6’0”, 209 pounds) and senior guard Leonard Dunn (5’9”, 224 pounds) have emerged as the probable starters from spring practice. Last season, Kennedy was named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention team. On defense, the Lions will utilize a 4-2-5 defensive alignment to stop opposing offenses. Senior Linebacker B.J. Hollis (6’0”, 195 pounds) will be counted on to lead a veteran Ouachita Parish defensive unit. In 2014, Hollis was the leading tackler for the Lions with 111 total tackles, 73 solo tackles, 38 assists, 2 sacks for 3 yards and 8 tackles for loss for 13 yards which garnered Hollis a spot on the LSWA Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention Team. Joining Hollis in the linebacker core will be Ledarius Porter (5’11”, 187 pounds). Up front, junior defense end Noah Abney (6’0”, 229 pounds), senior defensive tackle / defensive end Tommy James (5’11”, 265 pounds), senior Lamarius Reed (5’9”, 250 pounds) and junior defensive end Sean Tilmon (6’1”, 215 pounds) will be counted on to man the Ouachita Parish defensive line. In 2014, James had 36 total tackles, 22 solo tackles, 14 assists, 2 sacks for 7 yards, 3 tackles for loss for 9 yards and 1 quarterback hurry while Tilmon logged 24 total tackles, 16 solos, 8 assists, 1 sack for 9 yards and 2 tackles for loss for 13 yards. Abney had 21 total tackles, 13 solo tackles, 8 assists, 1 pass break up and 1 quarterback hurry. “We have some good returners in the box that we feel will play a huge contributing role to our team,” Fitzgerald said. The Lions’ secondary will be led by senior cornerback Zach Hannibal (6’1”, 180 pounds), sophomore strong safety Jabari Johnson (5’10”, 165 pounds), junior Will Heath (5’10”, 165 pounds) and sophomore free safety Angelo Collins (6’1”, 165 pounds). Hannibel is returning from a season that saw him earning a spot on the LSWA Class 5A Honorable Mention All-State football team. Coach Fitzgerald understands the long road ahead will have its ups and downs, and he is preparing his team to rely on each other, do what they are told and stay healthy, as they enter the gridiron slate. “We have to stay together as a team,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to be positive as coaches and players as well. I believe that is going to come down to guys being extremely discipline and doing what they are coached to do. Staying healthy is going to be huge for us.”


Richwood Rams RICHWOOD RAMS

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Rams return 14 starters from last season's playoff team

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aving to replace 31 seniors in 2013, the Richwood Rams were forced to play many underclassmen during the 2014 season. Richwood head coach Robert Arvie hopes that experience will prepare the Rams for successful 2015 campaign. “We were forced to play nine freshmen during the 2014 season,” Richwood coach Robert Arvie said. “The upside is that we have experienced players returning for this year’s squad.” Due to the Rams’ strength of schedule in 2014, Richwood earned the Class 3A’s twenty six seed in the playoffs despite their 3-7 record. The Rams return last season’s leading rusher, senior running back Tarquez Allen (5’10”, 190 pounds). In his junior season, Allen carried the ball 154 times for 1046 yards and 10 touchdowns last season which averaged an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. Senior running back DeQarius Hollis (5’11”, 190 pounds) is also expected to contribute to the Rams’ rushing attack. One of the biggest challenges Coach Arvie and his staff will face this season consist of finding replacement for quarterback David Allen who graduated last May.

Freshman Ashley Holmes (5’11”, 190 pounds) has emerged as the front runner for the starting quarterback position after the Rams’ 7-on-7 season. “We were very pleased with the improvements made by freshman Ashley Holmes during our 7 on 7 play,” Arvie said. “He took all of the snaps in eleven 7 on 7 contests. The players have rallied behind Asley and we are expecting him to grow and improve on every snap.” The Richwood receiving core features three returning starters in junior wide receiver Antonio Berry, Jr. (5’11”, 180 pounds), sophomore Geor’quarius

Spivey (6’5”, 170 pounds), sophomore wide receiver Hidari Ceasar (5’11”, 175 pounds) and sophomore Joseph Smith (5’11”, 170 pounds). Last season, Berry had 16 receptions for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns. If he is not playing quarterback, Spivey could be called in to play receiver for the Rams. With a new quarterback and experience at the running back position, the Rams will count on their offensive line to protect the passing game and make holes for the Richwood rushing attack. Richwood returns senior Matt Matthews (6’3”, 310 pounds), senior Christian Freeman (6’3”, 260 pounds) and sophomore Jabari Danzie (6’4”, 300 pounds) to anchor the Rams’ offensive line. Coach Arvie has added coach Marcus Lindsey to the coach the Rams’ offensive line. “We were fortunate to add Coach Marcus Lindsey to coach the offensive line,” Arvie said. “His presence and knowledge of the game will enhance our play on the offensive line.” Richwood will utilize a 4-3-4 defense scheme to shut down opposing offenses. Up front, the Rams will look to senior defensive tackle Freeman, sophomore defensive tackle Quandarius Johnson (6’0”, 290 pounds), senior defensive end Roderick Brown (6’0”, 220 pounds), senior defensive tackle Rubin Johnson (5’11”, 230 pounds) and sophomore defensive end Jarviar Wade (6’4”, 210 pounds). When he is not playing defensive tackle, Johnson will also line up as an outside linebacker. Joining Johnson in the linebacker core will be senior outside linebacker Tyquan Pleasant (5’11”, 220 pounds), sophomore middle linebacker Deione Reed (5’11”, 200 pounds) and sophomore outside linebacker Devione Reed (5’11”, 200 pounds). In the Richwood defensive secondary, the Rams

will feature senior safety Alexaviar Gaston (6’1”, 195 pounds), senior strong safety Jerry Brooks (5’9”, 151 pounds), junior free safety Ty’ree Coleman (5’11”, 185 pounds), junior strong safety Corey Blue (6’1”, 195 pounds) and junior free safety Shondarrius Shaw (6’1”, 175 pounds). Richwood will open the regular season by hosting the Ouachita Parish Lions on Friday, September 4 and the Buckeye Panthers on Friday, September 11. Weeks three and four will see the Rams take to the road as Richwood will face the Northwood – Shreveport Falcons on Friday, September 18 and plays the Franklin Parish Patriots on Friday, September 26. On Friday, October 2, Richwood returns home to face the Bastrop Rams. The Rams open up their district schedule by hosting the Union Parish Farmers on Friday, October 9. The Carroll Bulldogs will play host to the Rams on Friday, October 16. Richwood closes out their home regular season schedule on Friday, October 23 when the Rams take on the Madison Parish Jaguars. In the final two weeks of the regular season, Richwood will travel to the Caldwell Parish Spartans on Friday, October 30 and the Wossman Wildcats on Friday, November 6. Coach Arvie and his coaching staff hope that the off season weight training and conditioning will help prepare the Rams for a run in the Class 3A playoffs. “We paid the price in the off-season and summer workouts,” Arvie said. “Of the 53 players that finished spring football, 46 made their required workouts for the summer. Because of this, we put our team in a position to challenge for a state championship.”


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RUSTON BEARCATS

Ruston Bearcats W ith a tradition rich football program like Ruston High School, a trip to the post season is expected which the Bearcats have done for the past ten consecutive seasons and forty six times in school history.

Battling for the starting quarterback position are senior Cade Gibson (6’2”, 165 pounds) and junior Jacob Phillips (6’1”, 175 pounds) with Gibson taking the early lead due to his playing experience from last season.

For a Bearcat football team to standout in the Ruston history book, they must raise their game and succeed on the field come November and December.

Junior Carlos Hunt (5’8”, 154 pounds) is expected to see some time in the Bearcats’ backfield as the Ruston running back.

The Ruston Bearcats have won eight state championships, but the last one came a quarter of a century ago in 1990 which was the same season that the Bearcats were named national champions by the National Sports News Service (NSNS).

Senior Jeremy Brown (6’1”, 204 pounds) will be counted on to lead an inexperienced group of Ruston receivers. Senior center Justin Throckmorton (6’2”, 253 pounds), junior guard Joshua Colvin (6’1”, 294 pounds) and senior offensive tackle Jarrus Single-

ton (6’2”, 293 pounds) are returning starters from last season’s Bearcats’ offensive line which should be advantageous for the Ruston offense. Ruston returns a solid inside linebacker core in senior Michael Washington (5’9”, 198 pounds), junior Corey Mamon (5’9”, 200 pounds) and senior Michael Courtney (5’9”, 180 pounds). The Bearcats will look to a pair of seniors, who are returning starters, in senior strong safety Melvin Parker (6’0”, 182 pounds) and senior free safety Seth White (5’10”, 178 pounds) to anchor their defensive secondary.


Wossman Wildcats WOSSMAN WILDCASTS


Wossman looks for deep run in Class 3A

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ossman High School is celebrates its 50th anniversary this school year and seeks to bring home some gold.

The gold on the Wossman’s “List of Goals” include a District 2-3A championship, an appearance in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) Prep Classic, a LHSAA Class 3A state championship and of course, the coveted ring that occupancies a football state championship. According to second year head coach Dean Smith, the Wossman Wildcats will need the support of Wossman alumni, fans, parents and community in order to accomplish his team’s goals for this season. “Our team understands that there is a lot of expectations and excitement around the campus,” Wossman Coach Dean Smith said. “Expectation is a two way street, our fans expect us to win, we expect our fans to show up, fill up the stands and cheer us on as we go for that win.” If Wossman’s Grady Jones Stadium is filled with a spirited purple and gold crowd, victory for opposing teams will not be in reach. At the helm of the Wossman attack is senior quarterback Cameron Lewis (6’1”, 191 pounds), who returns for his senior campaign. Lewis is completely focused on leading the Wildcats deep into the Class 3A playoffs. Earlier this year, Lewis verbally committed early to play defensive back for the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers so his recruitment would not be a distraction as Wossman prepares for a potential playoff run in the 2015. Joining Lewis in the Wildcats’ backfield is the returning two year starter, running back Ladarrius Thomas (6’2”, 213 pounds). Thomas has been a force at running back for Wossman the past two season racking up over 2,000 yards rushing in that span. Seniors Brandon Lewis (6’0”, 162 pounds), Jamarrius Rayford (5’7”, 160 pounds) and Orlando Williams (5’10”, 220 pounds) will be key assets at receiver for Wossman this season. Up front, Wossman will look to senior center Josh Wright (5’10”, 290 pounds), who moved from linebacker, to solidify a gamely offensive line. On defense, junior linebacker Charles Ellis (5’11”, 210 lbs.), senior defensive lineman Brandon Marshall (6’3”, 270 lbs.), senior cornerback Deuntae Winston (5’11”, 150 pounds), senior defensive end / outside linebacker Dequincy Dennis, senior defensive end Cedrick White (5’11”, 174 pounds) and sophomore defensive back Keldrick Ward (5’9”, 185 lbs.) will be counted on to lead the Wossman defensive effort. Cam Lewis will also be counted on to play in the defensive secondary to shut down the opposing teams offensive passing attacks. Coach Smith and his coaching staff are believers in continuous competition for starting positions. Wossman fans should expect shifts in the starting rotation throughout the season.


Carroll Bulldogs Minor setback for a major comeback

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he Carroll Bulldog football team refers to last season’s disappointing 0-10 campaign as “A minor setback for a major comeback.”

Carroll head coach Jackie Hamilton played a lot of underclassmen in the 2014 season, and believes that experience will pay off for the Bulldogs in 2015. “We had a total of six seniors on the ball club last year so this season we are bringing a lot guys back who have experience from last season,” Hamilton said. “Last year, we had a lot of freshman and sophomores getting playing time so hopefully that will pay dividends for us this year.” Carroll will look to returning junior quarterback Jerry Brown (6’1”, 183 pounds) to run the Bulldogs’ multiple spread attack. However, an off-season basketball injury has shelved Brown for the spring. In Brown’s absence, sophomore Odarius Sellers (5’7”, 136 pounds) has seen most of the snaps under center as the Bulldog’s quarterback throughout the spring and summer months. In his time leading the Bulldog offense attack, Sellers “has performed well and looked good” according to Coach Hamilton. With two experienced quarterbacks headed into August practice, Carroll could see a competition for the starting quarterback position which should improve both Brown and Sellers game management skils.

Carroll will look to returning defensive starters in junior defensive end Donterius Decatur (6’2”, 210 pounds) and senior corner back Da’Karrion Jackson (5’7”, 160 pounds) to lead the Bulldogs’ 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

at Caldwell Parish on Friday, October 9; Richwood at home on Friday, October 16; at Union Parish on Friday, October 23, Wossman at home in the “Baby Bayou Classic” on Friday, October 30 and a home date with Madison Parish on Friday, November 6.

Jackson was named the second team of the 2014 All-District 2-3A football team.

Besides the quarterbacks, there will be plenty of the position battles in store for the Bulldogs as they head into pre-season practice to prepare for the upcoming season.

“The future looks bright at Carroll High School,” Hamilton said. “We had a great spring, and the kids were energetic about what we are doing.” In order to mix things up, Coach Hamilton revamped his coaching staff in the off-season. Hamilton’s coaching staff will feature a new offensive coordinator Nicholas Lewis, defensive coordinator Mike Collins and offensive line coach Osaro Kyles. In the off-season, District 2-3A saw the loss of the Rayville Hornets to District 2-2A. The Wossman Wildcats and the Caldwell Parish Spartans will join the Union Parish Farmers, Madison Parish Jaguars, Richwood Rams and Carroll Bulldogs to create a very competitive Northeast Louisiana Class 3A district.

“First thing, we are trying to do is separate the contenders from the pretenders,” Hamilton said. “Once we get that settled, we are looking to contend.” The 2014 season showed the Bulldogs having trouble to finding practice space due to construction delays of the new artificial turf and track at Carroll’s James L. Thomas - Dorth E. Blade Memorial Stadium. A year later, Coach Hamilton’s Bulldogs have plenty of practice space as the Bulldogs look to return to the post-season.

The Carroll Bulldogs’ 2015 schedule will put the team to the test as nine of the ten Bulldog opponents made it to the post-season in 2014.

The Carroll backfield will feature sophomore Fantoryian Pendleton (5’7”, 155 pounds).

The Bulldogs will open the 2015 campaign by hosting the Class 2A Ferriday Trojans on Friday, September 4 and Rayville on Friday, September 11.

The Bulldogs will have experience at the wide receiver position with senior Patrick Taylor (5’11”, 168 pounds) and sophomore Odis Sellers (5’11”, 163 pounds), who is the brother of quarterback Odarius Sellers.

Weeks three and four will see Carroll take to the road as the Bulldogs will travel to Shreveport to face the B.T. Washington Lions on Friday, September 18 and the Neville Tigers at Bill Ruple Stadium on Friday, September 25.

Sophomore Isaac Ellis (6’4”, 280 pounds) is a mammoth presence on the Carroll offensive line. Ellis is a returning All-District 2-3A first teamer from 2014.

On Friday, October 2, Carroll will open their District 2-3A schedule by hosting the General Trass. The Bulldogs’ remaining schedule features a road date

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Brotherhood motivates Eagles

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rior to each season, the Ouachita Christian School (OCS) Eagle varsity football team uses a theme to motivate them throughout the upcoming season. “I can already tell that this is going to be a great group of guys to work with,” OCS coach Steven Fitzhugh said. “This group is very team oriented. This year, our theme is brotherhood. Our guys have demonstrated a commitment to each other and a good resilient attitude throughout our summer weight training program.” This formula has been successful for the North Monroe private school as the Eagles have captured six Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) football state championships, winning three in the past five years. “Different people define success different ways,” Fitzhugh said. “It is a journey and not a destination.” In order to be successful, the OCS Eagles will come together as “Brothers” to create a “Brotherhood” to handle challenges which lie ahead in the new district 2-2A and Division III classification. When the Eagles start their official practice schedule in August, OCS will have several holes to fill after losing eight seniors from last years LHSAA Division IV state championship team, which also included their starting quarterback position. Coach Fitzhugh did not have to look far to find his next quarterback for the OCS Eagles. In fact,

Coach Fitzhugh found what he was looking for in his own house as his son, junior quarterback Grant Fitzhugh (6’2”, 175 pounds), has seen limited action over the past two years, while being groomed for his role under center. Joining Fitzhugh in the OCS backfield will be the senior duo of tailback Josh Pennebaker (5’10”, 185 pounds) and fullback James Anderson (5’11”, 210 pounds). Despite missing most of the regular season with an injury, Pennebaker and Anderson brings solid experience to the Eagles’ backfield; Pennebaker being the more seasoned veteran of the two. Throughout his three years of playing for OCS, Pennebaker averaged 6.5 yards per carry with 1,611 yards on 248 carries and 26 rushing touchdowns. A key strength for OCS is the offensive line which returns four-of-five starters from last season. The Eagles’ offensive line will feature senior tackle Che’ Manning (6’2”, 277 pounds), senior center Randy Bentley (6’3”, 275 pounds), senior guard Brett Allen (5’10”, 215 pounds), junior offensive lineman Jackson Head (5’9”, 230 pounds), and senior guard Evan Downs (5’6”, 236 pounds). As a Class 2A and Division III school, the OCS football program will have six players looking to play on both sides of the ball. The Eagles playing offense and defense include: Anderson (fullback/ linebacker), Fitzhugh (quarterback / free safety),

Pennebaker (tailback / strong safety), Sumrall (wide receiver/defensive ends), Bentley (center / nose guard) and Wilhite(wide receiver / cornerback). Joining the iron man lineup as starters on defense are junior linebacker Cade Spikes (5’11”, 190 pounds) and junior strong safety Garrett Morris (5’11”, 175 pounds) while senior nose guard Dalton Gray (5’11”, 240 pounds) will add depth along the defensive front. With several two-way players looking at significant time on the field, Coach Fitzhugh and his veteran coaching staff are rely on a tough conditioning and weight training throughout the season. “We are off to a great start,” Fitzhugh said. “Our guys have been discipline in their attendance and their work ethic. They have done a great job. Attitudes have been great. I like the success we have started off with our summer weight training program.” Having led the Eagles to four state championship games in the past five seasons, Coach Fitzhugh understands what it takes to play for a football state championship. “We need stay healthy,” Fitzhugh said. “We will need to take it one game at a time and one day at a time. We have to get better each and every day. We need to be playing our best football come playoff time.”


River Oaks Mustangs


Limited number of players on roster means Iron-Man Mustang Football

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he River Oaks Mustangs’ stable will have plenty of stalls to fill as the Mustangs seek to replace 15 seniors that graduated from the 2014 Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Class 2A quarter finalist team. River Oaks has twenty four players on its roster to choose from to replace those graduated seniors. With a limited number of players on the River Oaks’ roster, several Mustangs’ will be required to play “Iron Man Football” which means they will play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. River Oaks coach Robert Hannah and his staff will have their hands full finding players to replace those 15 gradated seniors as the Mustangs face the 2015 MAIS football season. “We have to replace fifteen seniors that all played last season,” Hannah said. “That means that will have to count on several of guys to play on both sides of the ball.” Those Mustangs that will be counted on for double duty include senior offensive lineman / linebacker Jacob Armand (5’10”, 185 pounds), senior offensive lineman / defensive lineman Ben Hunsucker (6’1‘, 245 pounds), senior offensive guard / defensive lineman Connor Lindstrom (6’0”, 190 pounds), senior offensive lineman / defensive lineman Reagan Meredith (6’2”, 215 pounds), junior quarterback / defensive back Tyler Pommier (5’11”, 169 pounds), senior wide receiver / defensive back Ali Mousa (5’9”, 155 pounds), sophomore tight end / linebacker Adam Gremillion (5’4”, 140 pounds), senior tailback / defensive back Jacob Griggs (5’9”, 150 pounds), senior fullback / linebacker Jake Bryant (5’9”, 185 pounds), sophomore wide receiver / defensive back Josh Griggs (5’1”, 115 pounds) and freshman tight end / linebacker Rico Gonzalez (6’2”, 215 pounds). With a new quarterback, skilled players and decently sized offensive line, River Oaks will look to keep the ball on the ground with their “Power I” offense. “We are looking at going old school by running the ball a lot more this season,” Hannah said. “For the first time in several seasons, we will be under center.” Leading the way for the 2015 Mustangs’ offense will be junior quarterback Tyler Pommier with freshman Bradley Black (5’6”, 130 pounds) and Jacob Griggs providing depth in back-up roles. Senior tailback Jacob Griggs, senior tailback Will Sherrill (5’9”, 155 pounds), and senior fullback Jake Bryant (5’9”, 185 pounds).will join Pommier in the River Oaks backfield. Rounding out the Mustangs’ skilled positions are a trio of wide receivers in sophomore Jake Houston (6’2”, 170 pounds), Mousa and Josh Griggs while River Oaks will look to Gremillion and Gonzalez to fill the role of tight end this season. The Mustang offensive line will feature two-way players Armand, Lindstrom, Meredith and Hunsucker while junior center Connor Hitt (5’8”, 215 pounds), sophomore guard / tackle Cameron Rugg (6’1”, 270 pounds) and sophomore tackle Michael Hollman (5’10”, 180 pounds) will battle for playing time on the River Oaks’ offensive front line. Joining Lindstrom, Meridith and Lindstrom on the River Oaks’ defensive line will be Lowell Ashbrook (5’7”, 215 pounds) with Hollman and Rugg adding much needed depth for the Mustangs’ defensive front. The Mustangs will look to Sherill, Bryant, Armand, Gonzalez and Gremillion to fill the linebacker positions this fall while Jacob Griggs, Mousa, Pommier, Josh Griggs, Black and Cody Tindall will be counted on to play defensive back for River Oaks. On special teams, River Oaks will count on Jacob Griggs to play kicker while Gremillion will handle the punting duties for the Mustangs. Meredith is slated to be the River Oaks’ long snapper. When talking about the Mustangs’ future, Hannah believes his team must set and achieve goals to make a run for River Oaks’ fourth state championship in football. “You always want your kids have goals,” Hannah said. “First and foremost, our team goal is to win a district championship. You want to get that district championship, get into the playoffs as a high seed. Then, you can work your way to state.” River Oaks will open their season by hosting a jamboree that will feature the Mustangs, Claiborne Academy, Prairie View Academy, Glenbrook and possibly Riverdale.


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OCTOBER 30, 2015 LETTERMAN MAGAZINE GAME DAY EVENT


Panthers look to embrace the expectations

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n his first two seasons as head coach at Sterlington High School, Coach Jason Thompson led the Panthers to eighteen wins with four of those victories coming in the “win or go home” playoffs.

With seventeen returning starters from the 2014 Class 2A semifinalist team, the Sterlington Panthers are hearing their fans’ talk of high expectations for the Panthers in 2015. Many Sterlington fans believe this season’s Panther squad could return Sterlington back to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the first time since 2003. The Panthers were the Class 1A state runner up in 2002 and the Class 2A state runner up in 2003 when current Sterlington principal Dell Ashley prowled the Sterlington sidelines as head coach. In 2013, Principal Ashley hired Coach Thompson, who served as the defensive coordinator on Neville’s 2009 and 2011 state championship teams, in hopes of returning Sterlington back to title contention. Coach Thompson and his veteran coaching staff are not shying away from the high expectations. Rather, Coach Thompson is preaching to his team to embrace the expectations and rise to the challenge. “Our kids know that last year was last year,” Thompson said. “We can’t get caught looking in the rear view mirror. The fact that you started last year doesn’t mean that you will start this year. You have to earn it.” Competition is something the Panthers better get used to with the new District 2-2A schedule. Gone is Oak Grove who dropped to District 2-1A, while the Ouachita Christian Eagles (2014 LHSAA Division IV state champion), the Mangham Dragons (2013 and 2014 Class 1A State Runner Up) and the Rayville Hornets (2014 Class 3A quarter finalist) move in to join Sterlington, Ferriday, and General Trass to create one of the state’s toughest districts regardless of classification. “Our district is probably the toughest 2A district in the state,” Thompson

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(5’9”, 315 pounds), junior nose guard Austin Goodson (5’9”, 235 pounds), sophomore defensive end Brooks Rushworth (6’2”, 185 pounds) and junior defensive end Spencer Davis (6’2”, 185 pounds).

said. “Our district schedule is going to be tough battle week in and week out. We are looking for players that enjoy competition and gets better through the struggle of competition. With this in mind, our district should be a lot of fun for our kids.”

The Panthers’ linebacker core is solid and returns junior Austin Smith (5’10”, 185 pounds) and Luke Temple (5’8”, 185 pounds). Last season, Smith led the Panthers with 167 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 12 quarterback hurries and 3 fumble recoveries while Temple had 124 tackles with 10 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 7 quarterback hurries and 2 fumble recoveries.

Returning to lead the Panthers’ offense is senior quarterback Devon Murphy (5’9”, 175 pounds) with sophomore Carson Clowers (5’9”, 135 pounds) providing depth as the Sterlington back-up quarterback as well as playing receiver for the Panthers this fall. Last season’s leading rusher in Northeast Louisiana, Devonte Douglas (5’6”, 175 pounds) returns for his junior season. In 2014, Douglas torched opposing defenses for 1642 yards and 26 touchdowns.

STERLINGTON PANTHERS

Joining Murphy and Douglas in the Panthers’ backfield will be senior tailback Jeffrey Griffin (6’0”, 185 pounds) and senior fullback Kerry Burks (5’5”, 160 pounds). Burks is replacing the talented Sam Lowery who graduated last May while Griffin returns from the 2014 season which saw Griffin rush for 462 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Adding depth to the Sterlington rushing attack will be junior fullback Tyler Muse (5’7”, 185 pounds), junior fullback Clayton Tubbs (5’10”, 165 pounds), sophomore fullback Jarrett McDonald (5’8”, 175 pounds) and sophomore fullback Jacorrius Spencer (5’8”, 175 pounds). At the wide receiver positions, Clowers and junior Jacob Barr (5’11”, 165) are the returning starters from 2014. Sophomore Tucker Allen (5’11”, 180 pounds) and junior Silas Knight (6’2”, 180 pounds)

will be counted on to fill the tight end position. On the offensive line, Sterlington returns senior center Tristan Mayo (5’6”, 200 pounds) and senior guard Caleb Beard (6’2”, 255 pounds). Filling the remaining positions on the offensive line will be senior tackle Hunter Lowentritt (6’0”, 250 pounds), junior tackle Logan Bass (6’3”, 290 pounds) and sophomore guard Whit Buffington (5’6”, 220 pounds). Bass brings experience and the junior transferred to Sterlington from Northeast Baptist School where he was a two year All-State player on Northeast Baptist’s 2013 and 2014 8-Man football state championship teams. Defense will be strength for the Panthers this season as Sterlington returns all eleven starters from last season’s defensive unit. Up front, Sterlington defensive line will feature senior tackle Cedric Dyer

Junior Cody Seward (5’5”, 145 pounds) will man Sterlington’s Dog position while sophomore Trevor Jones (5’6”, 155 pounds) will fill the Bandit role for the Panthers. The Sterlington secondary is talented and led by senior corner back Jaylan King (5’8”, 150 pounds) who will be joined by junior free safety Semaj Colvin (6’2”, 190 pounds) and junior corner Dalton Daniels (5’7”, 150 pounds). In 2014, King had 77 tackles, 8 interceptions with 3 interceptions returned for touchdowns, 14 pass breakups and 3 fumble recoveries while Colvin had 103 tackles, 3 interceptions, 7 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles. Sophomore Brooks Rushworth (6’2”, 195 pounds) will be counted on to handle all of the kicking chores for Sterlington. Sterlington opened their 2015 regular season with a win against class 4A Franklin Parish on September 4. Sterlington’ fans can listen to all of the Panthers’ football games on the radio on POWER 92.7 FM or online at www.power927.fm.


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or the Northeast Baptist Knights, the road to their third straight Association of Christian Educators of Louisiana (ACEL) Eight Man Football state championship will be long and challenging. The Knights will play a ten game regular season in 2015. If the Knights are going to be successful, Northeast Baptist will need to fill several holes due to graduation and student transfers from last year’s state championship team. “We are young as a football team,” Northeast Baptist Coach Tyler Albritton said. “This year, we will only have 2 seniors (Noah Landry and Garrett Harrison). Our players that are returning have had a lot of success. I think that will fuel them to work hard. They know what they have to do to continue that success.” In eight man football, the quarterback position is critical to the teams success.

E For the past four seasons, Northeast Baptist has looked to Noah Navarro, who excelled by completing 249-of-514 passes for 4,860 yards with 65 touchdowns and 29 interceptions while rushing for 2,148 yards on 210 carries with 39 rushing touchdowns.

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The reigns of the Knights offense will be turned over to the capable hands of sophomore quarterback T.J. Roberts (5’9”, 160 pounds).

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Despite technically being an underclassman, Roberts has plenty of experience on the Northeast Baptist offense having started at receiver and running back for the past two seasons. When Navarro went down with a season ending ankle injury in the 2013 playoffs, Roberts stepped up and filled in admirably at quarterback leading the Knights to their first 8-man state championship with a 12-8 victory over John Paul the Great.

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EIGHT MAN FOOTBALL DOMINANCE “T.J. (Roberts) is a very good athlete, and he has some experience playing quarterback,” Northeast Baptist Coach Tyler Albritton said. “As an eighth grader in 2013, he played quarterback in the championship game and led us to a championship.” In his two season playing back-up quarterback, Roberts has completed 6-of-14 passes for 143 yards with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions while rushing the ball 56 times for 616 yards with 8 rushing touchdowns.

positions on the field. I expect T.J. to enjoy the role of being our starting quarterback and for him to put up some impressive numbers as a first year starting quarterback.” The Northeast Baptist skill positions will be manned by senior running back/slot back Garrett Harrison (6’2”, 185 pounds), junior wide receiver Lane Eubanks (5’3”, 125 pounds), junior wide receiver Logan Eubanks (5’7”, 140 pounds) and freshman Parker Ballinger (5’9”, 160 pounds).

Roberts has also been the Knights leading receiver for the past two seasons with 64 receptions for 1167 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns in his two years of action.

The Northeast Baptist offensive and defensive lines were hit hard by off-season transfers of Logan Bass to Sterlington, Angelo Battaglia whose family moved to Lafayette and Kyle Cole moved to Baton Rouge.

“T.J. (Roberts) is also a very good receiver and defensive back,” Albritton said. “I think playing those positions will help him understand all the

On the Knights’ offensive line, senior center Noah Landry (6’1”, 180 pounds) returns and will be joined by junior offensive line Micah Landry (5’10”,

185 pounds) and sophomore Hayden Bruzeau (5’9”, 170 pounds). The Northeast Baptist defensive front will feature freshman defensive end / outside linebacker Carter McManus (6’1”, 175 pounds), senior linebacker Noah Landry, junior defensive end Micah Landry and sophomore defensive line Bruzeau. Noah Landry was the leading tackler for the Knights in 2014 with 139 total tackles with 72 solo tackles, 67 assists, 1 tackle for loss, 1 fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles. “Noah Landry has been with us for a while,” Albritton said. “He has earned his playing time and has become one of our best defenders. He is one of our hardest working kids. I expect him to finish out his high school career with his best season yet.”


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ast season, the West Ouachita Chiefs cruised to a 7-3 regular season record which garnered the Chiefs a playoff spot in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs for the first time since 2008. Even though West Ouachita fell on the road to a perennial playoff power Breaux Bridge Tigers, the Chiefs reasserted themselves as a team to be reckoned with on the gridiron. If West Ouachita returns to the Class 4A playoffs again this season, the Chiefs will have to replace fourteen starters who graduated last May.

campaign to lead the West Ouachita offense. Joining Chatham in the Chiefs’ backfield will be senior tailback Dylan Spillers (5’9”, 170 pounds) and junior tailback Andrew Lockhart (5’8”, 155 pounds), sophomore tailback Hayden Hester (5’7”, 154 pounds), senior running back Tommy Rhodes (5’5”, 150 pounds) and senior fullback Logan Ratcliff (5’10”, 180 pounds).

TIOGA INDIANS

West Ouachita coach Joey Pender and his staff are preaching the importance of working hard at every practice and getting better every day as keys to another successful season.

“We ask our guys every time that they walk off that practice field to ask themselves one question - Did I get better today?” West Ouachita coach Joey Pender said. “Everyone on this team whether it is players or coaches have a role to fill. In order for us to be successful, it takes everyone getting better in their roles every day.” Junior quarterback Hunter Chatham (5’9”, 160 pounds) returns from a successful sophomore

junior inside linebacker Micah Menard (5’11”, 230 pounds), senior nose guard Oakley Simpson (6’1”, 240 pounds), senior defensive end Josh Turner (6’4”, 230 pounds), junior linebacker Garrett Peters (6’0”, 175 pounds) and senior inside linebacker Micah Jones (5’9”, 180 pounds). In the Chiefs’ secondary, senior Brandon Florez (6’1”, 180 pounds) returns as the free safety while juniors Tylan Jackson (6’1”, 180 pounds) and Jacob Halloway (5’9”, 160 pounds) will man the strong safety position. Junior cornerback Jeremiah Horne (5’8”, 140 pounds) and sophomore cornerback Kameron Miller (5’9”, 150 pounds) are the slated to be the other starters for the Chiefs’ secondary.

WEST OUACHITA CHIEFS

Senior split end Nathan Gatis (5’11”, 170 pounds), junior tight end Michael Ryder, and senior tight end Clay Corley (6’1”, 190 pounds) will provide experience at the receiver positions for West Ouachita.

Left tackle Austin Walker (6’4”, 240 pounds), senior center Matthew Smith (5’9”, 190 pounds), senior offensive lineman Jordan Cummings (6’2”, 185 pounds), senior Brendan Thomas, and sophomore Freeman are expected to fill spots along the Chiefs’ offensive. On the defensive side of the ball, the West Ouachita front seven will feature starters in senior defensive tackle Nick Privitor (6’0”, 210 pounds),

On special teams, West Ouachita will look to sophomore Andrew Lockhart to handle the punter duties while Jake Leonard is tentatively slated for the kicker position. All West Ouachita Chiefs’ varsity football games will be broadcasted on the radio at KRLQ 94.1 FM. West Ouachita fans can listen online at www. krlqfm.com. Bob Day will handle the play-by-play calls for this season’s Chiefs’ football games.

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Community Spotlight

Darron Underwood is a family man that has had a major impact on the Northeast Louisiana Community for the past 8 years. He teaches math at his alma mater Ouachita Parish High School as well as Louisiana Delta Community College. When Darron met his wife, He could recall telling her early in their relationship that he wanted to be a math teacher because of being challenged to be a better person by former math teachers at this school. “I was raised in an impoverished community in a three bedroom house with 19 people. Education was never my priority until the right people came along. Like most people math was never my best subject but through dedication and persistence I got better. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I was better at it than most.” He says. This challenge led him to become the person he is today. He feels that it is his obligation to pass the gift of math and that challenge on to the students that he teaches. My involvement in the community. Mr. Underwood works primarily as a high school math teacher. In addition, He works as a Teacher Leader with the Teach Project at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. One of his duties is to mentor first year math and science teachers by assisting them with the effective practices of teaching. He has mentored graduate students from several parishes from all parts of Louisiana.

While he works professionally with several teachers and universities, he also finds time to work with students at the local library. It is here that he renews his passion for teaching. Working one-on-one with struggling students that really have a passion f o r learning gives him hope at the end of frustrating days. What am I writing for? What is the president’s award?

This year, Darron is one of the four Louisiana State Math Finalists for the President’s Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The next level is to be a National Finalist of the PAEMST program should he be chosen. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Since 1983, more than 4,300 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. What change/impact am I looking for in the future of education/community? With the increase in the usage in technology in our daily lives, he hopes that parents and students are provided more opportunities of interacting with their classroom materials and student progress more frequently. I just think that there can be more interventions and interactions between the teacher and parents as well as the student and the classroom.


Fourth and One with D1 Academy Training CEO Brandon Landers Interiew by justin evans Justin (J): What is your goal/motivation? Brandon (B): I want to get something else out of children. I believe that if I can touch one kid, I have done my job. I want to get these kids the avenue to move forward in life through sports. I believe that students who engage in sports have more opportunities/avenues to move forward in life. And in doing so, they will be able to get stuff like scholarships or even go to school free. J: What skills do sports instill in students/kids that are important in life? B: Through sports, you learn how to cope, how to be dedicated, how to work as a team and learn how to compete. When you combine these skills with what students learn in school, this brings out the professional in them. J: How do you plan to communicate your plans and expectations with your students and parents? B: I plan to use social media. I will create a new Facebook page with my biography, telling about my life, what I want to get out and everything I am doing. I will also use newspapers and magazines. I want to also engage friends to help me spread the word to the public. J: So which model do you want to adopt as a coach? B: I want to be more like an extended coach. I don’t want to be tagged to any particular school without holding any ties, tags, or any particular players. I just want to train students without limiting myself to one particular group or school. J: Do you plan to do a fundraiser or any type of activity? B: Yes, I plan to do fundraisers but I have not yet conceptualized on the model I will use. For now, I am just getting started. As for activities, I plan to schedule a football camp for bonding, which will then have a follow up, a 7 on 7 pass league where students will get real football training and a high school showcase. J: Describe a human example of your role as a role model for your players B: This role hit me in high school when people would tell me that I had it in me and I would always

do the right thing, as I knew people were always watching. Therefore, I just understood as I grew as a player and a man more of what it was all about. I took on the responsibility knowing that I had a long life and I did not want to be judged or looked at the way others were looked at. I wanted to be different and instead of selling drugs, I decided to always do the right thing, as I knew I was a role model. Once I understood and embraced my role model part, I knew what I was doing and I did not play or jeopardize it.

household, I was able to persevere all through my trying times and I still came out a positive, respectful and good spirited person.

J: How would you assist in counseling the players that are being recruited to play in college?

J: What are the three things that your previous experience in coaching or your present experience in coaching taught you?

B: I would tell every kid that they should not cling to one school but give everybody a chance. I don’t care if it’s Alabama or Grambling; give everybody a chance. Just hear what they have to say and don’t be so quick to go to where you want to go; evaluate first all the options. J: Describe your role as a motivator? How do you plan on motivating your players? B: I will constantly tell them to work hard, continue to train, be positive, do the right thing, be a team player and motivate them by staying positive and telling them the right thing. J: What coaches, teachers, or other people have been of great influence in your life? B: Guys like Coach Jessie Smith, my high school coach, came and got me out of the street and put his time into me.....Coach Eric Davis, took me in when I was like 13..14 and I started staying with him and he helped take the pressure off my mom who had 5 kids and was a single parent…..Principal Sam Moore who gave me counsel and helped me qualify for my junior SAT and Mr. Highshaw together with his son Antron helped me a lot.

J: Besides techniques, what do you want to come across…or teach your players? B: I want to teach them the game, any and every detail about the game as football is a game of detail; teach them on techniques, skills of the game, how to be a competitor, how to win and how to be a teammate...

B: I have been taught patience, listening to others, being able to agree and disagree, learning from them, teaching technique and skill, loving kids and being open to other options. J: How has coaching affected your life? B: Coaching? First of all, in life, you ain’t playing. Coaching helps you see the game from another level. It also helps you see the game from a different angle and I now understand the things that my coach used to tell me. J: What do you think makes a great coach? B: Knowing how to listen to others, being able to agree and disagree, collecting different opinions from various people and being able to come together and making one game plan. Patience, positivity, loving what you do, being sincere to your job and motivation also makes a good coach. J: Describe or name how life is like a fourth and goal based on your experiences from where you went to high school all the way to college…

B: I would say Coach Smith…I call him my father as he never gave up on me and he was always there for me; we built a father-son relationship considering that my dad was never in my life.

B: A fourth and goal is about decision making and I put that to action when my brother was shot by my cousin. I had a decision to make. I did not panic and I was able to save my life by taking my car and going with my brother and cousin to the hospital. Through this, I am now able to handle various situations and still come out strong and effectively think under pressure.

J: What’s the one word of praise that you want people to associate with your name?

J: Man that’s awesome, Mr. Landers I thank you for your time. Thanks for allowing me to sit with you.

B: (Perseverance) Coming from a single parent

B: Man the pleasure was all mine sir.

J: Out of all those folks who met you, who’s your greatest role model, either person or coach?


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LETTERMAN CREED In the world today, there are believers and nonbelievers. Supporters and Critics…Optimist and Naysayers…Where you stand is your choice…But one thing remains true, NEVER underestimate the heart of a Letterman... A legion of men and women who have given everything they had for the Letter. No matter the challenge or opposition, they never quit. “The Ultimate Sacrifice.” Blood, Sweat, Tears, and even pushing through the midnight hours all for one goal…Greatness! They set aside others opinions and doubt by conquering every obstacle thrown in their path, realigning their defining moments… embracing the struggle and having the determination to RISE above…when it’s clutch time…The definition of a true Letterman. Characterized by their Passion, Vision, Purpose, Desire, Performance, and Ultimately Success. You ask…how can I become a Letterman? It’s simple...through faith, discipline, hard-work, and Sacrifice!


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Louisiana Football Royalty

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he name Joe Coats is an honored one, when it comes to football in the state of Louisiana. Coats’ career has spanned over 4 decades and during that time he has become one of the most respected coaches in the state. Coats is a legend, not just in Louisiana but all over the South for the terrific career he has put together over the course of 42 years. Coats and Neville High School are thought of in the same instance. Joe Coats started his career at Neville. Coats played high school football at Neville and would later join the staff as a student coach while attending the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Coats graduated from ULM in 1973 and coached for one season at Wossman. Coats much like Bear Bryant returned home, and home just happened to be Neville High School. Coats joined Coach Charlie Brown’s staff at Neville in 1974. Coats is very proud of the fact that he has been Tiger all his life. Coats stated, “Between my father coaching, or me playing, my brothers playing, or my sister president of the Tigerettes, my mother went to over 350 straight gamed on the road...she never missed a game. As far as me being a Neville person that’s who I am.” Once he returned to Neville, Coats would not only be an assistant coach to the Tigers’ football team, he would also coach golf baseball coach. Coach Charlie Brown retired in 1992, and Coach Coats was tabbed as the new head man at Neville. The toughest job for Coats was to have to replace a legend like Coach Brown. Coats remembers the great moments but the losses in 1991 and 1992 stick with him. Coats performed well and was able to bring a state championship in 1995. Coats’ career is one that all coaches would like to emulate in terms of longevity, success on the field, and how he cared about his players. What sticks out to this day about Coats, is the way his Neville teams played defense. Coats was the defensive coordinator from 1981 to 1993. Coats has noticed the changes with the game of football and it mainly has to do with the individual instruction that is available

today over past years. Listening to Coats, folks can tell he still loves the game and the teamwork that developed from the game of football. Coats during the span of his 42 year career was able to coach terrific young men. A few of those men went on to distinguished pro careers. Coats remembers former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Bubby Brister as being a great athlete and individual that could accomplish anything. Brister was a great baseball player and a terrific player on the field. Coats’ memory is sharp when he talks about his former players that he had a hand in coaching. Defensive linemen Rashard Lawrence is one of the most dominant players that Coats is keeping an eye on out of Neville. The skies the limit for Lawrence because of the athletic ability and dominance he has shown. “They have built a strong foundation...you can’t find a stronger tradition anywhere in the nation,” Coats said. “Out of all the things I’ve done...a lot of people say the best thing I did was to hire Coach Mickey McCarty, and I agree.” The state of Louisiana may not ever see another coach like Joe Coats. Coaches at almost every level do not stay in one area or one state anymore. To see what Joe Coats has accomplished in 42 years is what impresses absolutely everyone. Listening to Coats speak, people can tell that he cares about the players he coached, whether it be football, baseball, or golf. The players have an impact on Coats. Coats wound down his career after leaving Neville at Tensas Academy. Coats would lead Tensas to a state championship in 2011. Coats has proven no matter where he went in Louisiana he could win. Winning, caring about his players, and his longevity is what every coach wants to accomplish during their career. Those attributes are what made Coats a legend not just in the state of Louisiana but all across the South. “The first thing you learn at Neville is teamwork…you have to depend and trust everyone,” Coats said. “I think that carries over after football life.” Letterman salutes Coach Coats, a Louisiana High School Football Legend!


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r. Lawanda Sykes is in her ninth year at Grambling State University, second year as the Director of Academic Enhancement for athletics. She also serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department on Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies and Project Facilitator for the university’s College Readiness program (SAGE). As director of academic enhancement, her duties include working closely with the Director of Athletics and Compliance Officer to ensure all potential student athletes meet initial eligibility for participation in collegiate sports, NCAA’s Progress Toward Degree Criteria, developing and re-evaluating new academic plans for “at risk” (GSTARS) student athletes, establishing relationships across campus, revising academic enhancement’s study hall requirements, APR updates and Grades First Analysis and usage. However, her primary focus is on the academic success of student athletes and assisting incoming student athletes in their transition from high school to college.

strategic academic practices and plans for improvement to assist each team and the athletic program in remaining compliant with NCAA Academic Performance Program mandates as well as institutional guidelines.

Prior to her services in athletics, Dr. Sykes served and a First Year Experience/ Student Success Instructor, Academic Advisor, Assistant University Registrar and Athletic Certification Officer

•Working closely with campus stakeholders in the coordination of services for student-athletes.

Dr. Sykes is no stranger to sports. She began playing sports at an early age in pastures, on dirt, concrete, grass and rocky roads in Collinston, La. with her uncles, brothers, siblings, cousins and father, Sam Lee, while her mother, Liz and younger siblings watched from the tailgate of the truck. She became a standout Jr. high and high school athlete at Delta High School in Mer Rouge, La., where she lettered in track, softball and basketball. Lawanda was also a member of the Morehouse Parish, All Star, World Series Softball team (Green Machine) in the early 90’s late 80’s. Due to torn ACLs on both knees, her dreams and desire of playing sports began to diminish.

Other duties include:

•Grant writing to assist sports with the necessary resources needed for achievement

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•Developing and distributing accurate and timely academic warning and grades reports for coaches and administrators throughout each academic term. •Collaborate with the athletic compliance office to administer NCAA rules education and accurately and timely complete NCAA reports. •Serves as primary liaison to the Office of Admissions and the Office of the Registrar •Interacts and consults with college academic advisors, faculty, and college administrators regarding studentathletes’ course scheduling and other appropriate academic concerns.

Lawanda went on to obtain her BS and Master of Public Administration and later a Doctorate in Developmental Education with a concentration in Student Development and Personnel Services from Grambling State University in 2013.

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WANT TO PLAY COLLEGE SPORTS?

There are new requirements for college-bound student-athletes enrolling full time at an NCAA Division I college or university on or after August 1, 2016. For college-bound student-athletes enrolling full time at an NCAA Division I college or university on or after August 1, 2016, there are three possible academic outcomes: 1. Full qualifier = competition, athletics aid (scholarship), and practice the first year. 2. Academic redshirt = athletics aid the first year, practice in first regular academic term (semester or quarter). 3. Nonqualifier = no athletics aid, practice or competition the first year. Core-course progression. • Must complete 10 core courses before seventh semester of high school (e.g., senior year). • Of the 10 core courses completed, seven must be in the area of English, math, or science. • These 10 core courses become “locked in” for the purpose of core-course GPA calculation. A repeat of one of the “locked in” courses will not be used if taken after the seventh semester begins. • Division I Sliding Scale

All potential student athletes (scholarship or walk-ons) must register with the NCCA Clearinghouse/ Eligibility Center @ www.eligibilitycenter.org (contact your high school counselor for this information) • PLEASE NOTE: THE INSTITUTION DOES NOT DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY


Larry Perrin National Director of Football National Scouting Report

UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS

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he first Wednesday of February, 2015 was an unbelievable day for the staff at National Scouting Report: Football. We were on watch duty for our kids that were to sign National Letters of Intent to play college football. The east coast athletes started the festivities and set the tone for the rest of the country. We had athletes signing at some of the most prestigious Division 1 schools, FCS, several Division 2 schools, D3, Juco, and NAIA all across the nation. We were posting and sharing on social media, talking to local media outlets, and working with athletes and coaching staffs to assist in this process. This was just one day out of our year. We do this kind of behind the scenes work everyday for our athletes in all sports, but the sport of football gets to have a nationwide party on the first Wednesday in February every year. There are several factors that led up to this dramatic day. Our scouts had to find these athletes first. They do this by spending hours in the field at games or practices, or by watching countless hours of film to determine who has the potential to be a college football player. They had to identify kids that have the athletic ability, size, and speed to play at the next level. The scout then had to interview the athlete and the family to determine if the prospect had outstanding grades and, most of all, the desire to do what was necessary to become a collegiate athlete both on the field and off. If the athlete and family meet the criteria that the scout needed, then he would proceed to enroll them in our program. What the public does not realize about National Scouting Report is that we do not enroll every kid we come in contact with. We are very selective in choosing the right kind of student/ athlete. This one key factor is why we have a success rate of over 95% placement of the athletes in our program. What does the NSR athlete look like? First is the athlete needs to have great grades. Grades, often, are the difference between two

athletes with similar skills, and grades could make academic money available that could stack with athletic assistance to potentially fill out the total cost of attending college. We also look for athletes that fit in to very specific BOX’s with regard size and speed. These BOX’s will help the scout identify what type of program that the athlete has the best chance of going to. The actual determination of where an NSR athletes goes to college is made by the college coaches, but our scouts need to know, based on data from colleges and previous athletes, where to start the process. Next, the NSR athlete must know about several different topics related to the NCAA. Things such as being registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and how to go to NCAA. org to do this. If the athlete is determined to be of NAIA caliber, then they would need to register at PlayNaia.org in order to complete their eligibility for that type of institution. Each athlete must know that they HAVE to be registered with either the NCAA or NAIA eligibility centers before they can play the sport of their choice at the collegiate level. The family must know about contact periods and learn exactly when and where college coaches can actually talk to the athlete. We go in to when and how college staffs can evaluate the athlete, and how important this evaluation is in determining whether or not the athlete will actually be recruited. Our families are educated on college visits and they learn the difference between official and un-official visits. They also will have the knowledge of knowing how may visits they can actually take. We even cover things such as not taking gifts. But the main point we have to make known is that if you are not talking to college coaches, you are not being recruited. It’s that simple. Becoming identified and recognized is the first step that has to happen in order for a college to put you on their recruiting board. Once the athlete is identified and recognized by a college staff and the coaches reach out to

them, then they are in the recruiting process. The next phase is the evaluation portion of the process. Coaches have to actually determine if this athlete is indeed a college caliber kid. Then the comparison comes versus other kids that play the same position. If the athlete survives the gauntlet he will move to the offer phase of the process. Here is where the school offers a non-binding pledge to provide financial assistance to an athlete. They key to this is that offers are non-binding and can be pulled at the discretion of the institution, and that not all offers are full rides. FBS schools have 85 head count scholarship versus FCS with 63 scholarships to fill an 85 man roster. Division 2 schools only have 36 scholarships that can be divided throughout the roster and NAIA schools have 24 scholarships that they spread out over their team. Not until the athlete signs a National Letter of Intent are the school and the athlete bound to any agreement. Families must understand that the majority of what they read on social media regarding offers is HYPE. National Signing Day and/or the signing period will determine who actually gets the scholarship to attend the institution and play football. So as you can see, there is a significant amount of effort and communication that is required to get to the point where a student/ athlete gets to sign an NLI. The old statement, “If I am good enough, they will find me”, will have you behind with regard to the recruiting process, and could, potentially, leave you out of it entirely. Do yourself a favor. Take control of your dream. Get identified and recognized. Get scouted and evaluated by professional scouts that understand the football recruiting process. If you feel you have the ability, grades, and are willing to put in the effort to master your game contact National Scouting Report. www.nsrinc.com


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LIFE COACH P

erseverance is a steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. It is a dogged and determined holding on. During my time at New York University, I experienced Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The high winds, hail, and heavy rainstorm dented the dozens of cars that lined the streets, shattered many glass stores and office buildings, and even unrooted the grand oak trees that had graced the local park for decades. As I looked down my street, everything seemed completely destroyed, except the old wooden and cement church. Its stained glass windows had been blown through, and the wood that panelled the outside walls had been cracked, but the cement structure underneath had persevered, its stony surface able to absorb the impact of the storm. During my years at NYU, I often felt overwhelmed, stretched out, and overworked

by Shaunsia Moy

by course work, financial worries, and the responsibility of living on my own, but whenever I would walk to class, I would pass by that old church and remind myself of how even though the wood had been stripped away by the storm, the structure itself had persevered. This was not by accident or chance either. After researching, I discovered that cement is the one of the greatest building materials on Earth because it dries hard and makes typically weak materials stronger. It stands the test of time and can weather whatever nature throws at it.

harder, network better, and become more creative in balancing my hectic schedule.

As a young adult in school, I have found myself feeling vulnerable or discouraged by many things, whether it has been being declined for a certain scholarship or not doing so stellar on an exam, but I too have a strong framework, a spirit of great determination not easily broken. One that is able to aid me in enduring whatever college, or even life, throws at me. I have used that inner perseverance to study

Just like in football, you take many hits game after game, and you may even get injured, but your body starts to adjust to the contact and you toughen up in certain areas. You stand your ground and try your hardest to help your team to victory, despite the pain you may feel or the discourage you may face, and that is what perseverance is. It is the act of endurance against all odds.

It doesn’t guarantee that I will never be set back by any future obstacles ever again, but it does insure that I will be able to persevere in spite of them. You see, the difference between the grand oak trees and the wooden church was the absence of cement. The wood that made the long branches and thick trunks was solid, but it did not possess the strength, durability, and perseverance that the church’s walls held.

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Helping you Become a Better You: The Sports Edition

When referring to sports and athleticism, people usually think about the physical attributes: talent, speed, and agility. Although, those aspects of an athlete are important on the field, they are not the only ones. Often times the mentality and the mental attributes of the athlete is often overlooked. Whether organizations believe it is not necessary or haven’t considered the contribution of mental health counseling. Brandy J. Flynn recognizes the importance of the mental aspect of the athlete in relation to making you a better you. The Birth of the Brand Brandy has a love for mental health and sports. She is always in the know with what is going on with athletes. One NBA season, a sports anchor interviewed former Los Angeles Lakers Ron Artest about his victory of the championship game. During his interview, he made the statement, “I want to thank my therapist.” That profound statement was the true foundation of Brandy J. Flynn Counseling & Consulting Services. From working with pro athletes to student athletes, Brandy recognizes there is more to being a successful athlete than winning.

Counseling the Athlete When you think of sports and mental health, you usually think of sports psychology. Although that spectrum of mental health is needed in the world of sports, so are more concrete foundations found within mental health. Many athletes come from diverse backgrounds which can inhibit them from meeting their full athletic potential. Dysfunctional families, anger, and depression: these are just a few things some athletes go through and are unable to deal with because of limited resources geared towards athletes. As a mental health clinician, Brandy is able to work with athletes dealing with life issues that could be a barrier for them to become a great athlete. Sewing a Seed for Harvest The sports industry is a different world. Many athletes are naïve and sheltered to the game that is bigger than sports. While athletes are worried about winning the game, many athletes are focused on winning over a player in their inner circle. Instead of having an intervention, Brandy utilizes life skills and

awareness as a prevention model to help athletes to stay on the right foot. Learning how to say no, staying away from people who may hinder their growth, and making good choices: these are some of the components that are taught by Brandy to help athletes be great. Spreading the Word Teaching is fundamental! Brandy enjoys going to various schools to speak with student athletes and address various aspects of being a great person: in the game and out of the game. Her speaking presentations are engaging and realistic, so student athletes are able to relate with the topics. It is a great stepping stone for athletes to re-evaluate themselves and see where they stand when it comes to mental health within the sports world. To learn more about how Brandy can assist your athlete or athletic organization, visit www.brandyjflynn.com


Teaching Tongues

by Justin Leonard Clardy When we think about challenges that Black students face in primary school, things that typically come to mind are the quality of teachers in schools, whether or not students are properly nourished, and whether or not they receive care and educational reinforcement within the home. Without a doubt, these things are important contributors to the success of all children in schools. However, there are other issues and challenges that Black children face, that we are not aware of such as how language affects the way we learn. Our lack of awareness, in turn, contributes to an ever-growing indifference toward victims of systematic injustice in America. Contrasting what is known as Main American English (MAE) is a vernacular of English known as African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Although many might not be aware of this fact, AAVE or Ebonics, is a variation of American English that has the components of other recognized languages—phonology (the organization of sounds in a language), morphology (the identification and analysis, and description of the structure of a languages linguistic units), syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language), and lexicon. Yet, this vernacular is not taught and some times not tolerated in our country’s schools. It is uncontroversial that we learn to speak, in large part, from the families and communities that we are raised in. For many African

Americans this means that the dialect that they first acquire and learn how to speak contains several features of African American Vernacular English. What we often do not realize, however, is that this creates learning difficulties for some students related to how well they process and comprehend school material. In other words, the ways you process language in more private settings such as the home versus other settings such as school can be different. In many cases, this creates a disadvantage in schools for English speakers who’s dominant dialect is a variation of English that differs from MAE. In other words, native MAE speakers stand a higher chance at succeeding in schools because our curriculum (and often times our educators) cater to this dialect of English. We should realize that this catering to MAE as the primary way of speaking and writing perpetuates of structural oppression that Black children face in schools. Socially, this disadvantage is discriminatory. Instead of acknowledging other ways of speaking and writing as equally acceptable ways of speaking and writing, we usually regard certain ways of speaking as superior to others. For example, we typically regard ways of speaking and writing that closely reflect features of MAE as “proper”. What this suggests is that different ways of speaking and writing than MAE, are improper. But the claim that AAVE is an improper way of speaking is a difficult (in not impossible) claim to justify.

Despite the social disadvantage that is created (disadvantaged groups tend to do poorer in schools and as a result are not as competitive as their peers when entering college and the job market) in our schools as a result of privileging certain ways of speaking and writing, and the social discrimination that is partially responsible for the continuation of these practices, we remain indifferent to this issue. This is demonstrated by the fact that there is not much being done by ordinary citizens to ensure that this issue is addressed in our schools. But this issue is urgent. If our children do poorly in schools, their life’s prospects are gravely affected by increasing the likelihood that they end up impoverished or imprisoned. Without calling attention to structural oppression, we run the risk of inappropriately blaming those who end up impoverished or imprisoned as a result of their prospects being affected. To attribute sole blame unto these victims would be to exhibit the very indifference that we ought to combat. In my own research, I discuss how public emotions like tenderness can combat this indifference by raising the awareness to how some of our nation’s institutions inadvertently are causes structural oppression. Further, I encourage my readers to visit the work of Stanford Linguists Dr. John R. Rickford and Sharese King because it an exceptional job raising awareness in the areas of language and education.


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You Play, You Pay

THE NCAA

by vincent tataglia


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Headquartered in Indiana, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) serves as the governing body which regulates legislation and directs regulation by installed compliance. The NCAA is tasked in overseeing and monitoring the actions of diverse membership, which includes more than 1500 universities, colleges, conferences and affiliate organizations, all of whom, share and serve a common idea. Student-athletes enrolled in member institutions, competing in sanctioned sports, must abide by, NCAA standards principles and ethics, tailor made for the operation of various athletic programs. The activities and interests of the NCAA, are confirmed, secured by legislation and enforced by institutional control. This brand of management serves to dissuade careless oversights, and demands responsibility from coaches, staffs, student-athletes, boosters and anyone else involved in NCAA regulated events. The rules and regulations which make up the NCAA were designed to assist coaches, prospective student athletes, current student-athletes, and boosters who are involved or connected by intercollegiate athletics.


To promote fair play the current athletic structure is comprised of three (3) levels of competitiveness; Division I, Division II and Division III. The three groups are classified by the proficiency of individual and overall talent in relation to athletic prowess. Each of the three division’s creates its own rules that follow principles of the NCAA. Each of the three Divisions are respected in their own right and provide limitless athletic and academic opportunities. The division considered to be the highest and most heralded of the three groups, Division I, features a collection of the country’s most historical institutions, coaches and like-minded athletes, and is determined by all measure as the draw for athletes with the highest level of skillset. The divisions are a host to conferences which are stacked by school/teams, representing most every state in just about every corner of the nation. The integrity of the NCAA relies heavily on the prompt investigation and the swift reckoning of any and all identified or suspected rule violations, stemming from gambling, illegal recruiting, eligibility infractions, immoral and unethical behavior. College and University presidents conduct and monitor each of their respective division’s by the vote of a committee, backed by athletics administrators, faculty and student-athlete representatives. The Compliance Office maintains an active role in student-athlete and coach focused activities by providing clear and concise interpretation of NCAA legislations as it relates and addressees most every subject. The NCAA further expands objective, by providing its membership and its athletics programs with favorable conditions, so that they may prosper and succeed in all endeavors.

The NCAA also sets forth a number of classroom eligibility rules, which apply to high school student-athletes wishing to pursue intercollegiate athletics. Most high schools can provide lists of a cce p ta b l e NCAA Courses

a cce s s i b l e through the student counselors or guidance offices. The NCAA Eligibility Center website serves as a resource service, designed wholly to assist any college-bound student-athlete during the high school to college transitional stage. Student-athletes preparing to enroll in a Division I or Division II programs must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, previously known as the NCAA Clearinghouse. Universities competing under the Division III structure are exempt from the registration procedure. In granting certified clearance, all Division I and Division II student-athletes must meet each and every standard of athletics amateurism and classroom academic standards set by the NCAA governing body.

Note: This is specific to the National Collegiate Athletic Association legislation and compliance structures and would be considered common knowledge by many readers and the publisher. For these reasons, they need not to be cited.

To some, these guided outlines may come as elementary, but to many student-athletes this information comes as a shocking last minute surprise. Each year many student-athletes fail to register timely as citing lack of awareness that the process even existed. By rule, the best time to begin the eligibility and registration process should come as early as sophomore year and no later than the junior year. The time that it takes to move from registration to pending eligibility then to cleared status, is a time consuming effort marked by unremitting persistence. Therefore, the best idea is to take matters into control early and maintain a smooth and manageable schedule. Besides maintaining in the classroom, this particular step is by far the most important stop on the journey, yet branded the most forsaken.

NCAA Eligibility Center & Registration

Once complete, the applicant receives their

personal (10) digit NCAA ID number, gaining temporary good standing but remains in pending state while Eligibility Center staffers move diligently through measures which ultimately ensure registered student-athletes are declared amateurs as interpreted by NCAA standards. The NCAA ID number is generally requested on most athlete questionnaires and one of the single most asked about items in talking with coaches and recruiters. By obtaining the NCAA ID number early, sets a precedence of selfresponsibility, and perceived by most coaches as a big step in the right direction. The NCAA Eligibility Center communication is by electronic transmission, so monitoring email accounts regularly for updates or requests is essential.

Steps to Eligibility • You can access and print your high school’s List of NCAA Courses at www. eligibilitycenter.org. • Click the NCAA College-Bound Student-Athlete link enter, then navigate to the Resources select U.S. Students find the link listing NCAA Courses. • Sophomore year, complete the online registration www. eligibilitycenter.org • Classes must be 4 yr. College prep. & meet NCAA requirements for initial academic eligibility. • Register & take ACT/SAT use NCAA Eligibility Center code 9999 as a score recipient to send official score(s) to NCAA Eligibility Center. • Have your high school counselor send official transcript to NCAA Eligibility Center after completing junior year. • Before registering for classes for your senior year, check with your high school counselor to determine the number of core courses you need to complete during your senior year • Take the ACT and/or SAT again, if necessary. NCAA Eligibility Center uses the best scores from each section of the ACT or SAT to determine your best cumulative score.

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• Continue to take college-preparatory courses. • Check the courses you have taken to match your school’s List of NCAA Courses. • Review your amateurism responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 (for fall enrollees) or October 1 (for spring enrollees). • Graduate on time with your graduating class (eight semesters after starting year nine). • After graduation, ask your high school counselor to send your final official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center with proof of graduation.

violation is to ask staff members before you enter into any situation or accept any sort of potential benefit. Involvement in a rules violation can have serious effects on your eligibility to practice, compete, or receive athletic scholarship aid. Protect yourself and your team by talking to your coaches, sport administrator, or Compliance staff members whenever a question arises.

Standards If you are planning on participating in NCAA Intercollegiate Athletics, stop planning and react. Effective August 1, 2016 , Division I Academics, and Athletic Eligibility Standard will require an increase in GPA and SAT/ACT scores. The current requirement of a 2.0 GPA will call for a 2.3 GPA. The days where making straight C’s and scathing by were status quo, will no longer meet requirements.

Ask Before You Act

This will create further concerns for some, as the number relative to sliding scale methods will also increase the requirements in ACT and SAT scores as well. Current standards for Division II & Division III institutions will not be affected and will remain as they are.

The easiest way to avoid an NCAA rules

The Brutal Reality

• The NCAA Eligibility Center will use only approved core courses to certify your initial academic eligibility.

According to the NCAA, about 10 percent of aspiring Division I athletes fail to meet the NCAA’s academic benchmarks each year, and that percentage will likely surge, when the tougher 2016 rules come into effect. The NCAA has further concluded and calculates that 15 percent of college athletes and 35 percent of football players who entered school in 2009 would not be eligible to play under the new criteria. The key in obtaining a higher standard in education, while chasing your dreams of college sports has become, and will continue to move more closely to academic achievement. Regardless of freakish speed size, and unmatched attributes, without disciplined academia, you will not clear the doors of college office admissions. There are no gimmies, no do overs and no compassion when it comes to meeting target academic requirements. If you do not produce in the classroom, those very coaches that woe you now, will become will leave you in the dust. It’s the 4th quarter, you’re down by a few, and it is 4th and 1 guys. You are playing in the game of your life, everyone including the haters are all watching , some are pulling for you and some would like nothing more than to see you selfdestruct, fall flat. What will you do?

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