Tag Archives: NFL Draft

Former Nicholls State star looks to make even bigger impact off-field

By Chucky Colin

 

Courtesy of Nicholls State University Athletics

Courtesy of Nicholls State University Athletics

THIBODAUX – Despite suffering a major knee injury at the beginning of his senior season and questions about his future in football, former Nicholls State University running back Marcus Washington is making huge contributions off the field.

Washington suffered the injury on Oct. 10, 2013 in a game against Northwestern State.

He was in the midst of having one of the best games of his collegiate career as he finished with 77 yards rushing and a career-high three touchdowns.

Although his season and collegiate career ended prematurely, Washington has stayed involved in the Nicholls State community and has used his rehab process as a form of motivation.

“Once the injury occurred it allowed me to take the time out to learn what motivates me to actually push back to get back on the field,” Washington said. “I am finally getting different types of motivation and also finding time to focus on myself.”

The missed time has allowed Washington to help others and rededicate himself to football.

Following his injury, Washington became a student-coach for the Colonels. He was responsible for helping his fellow running backs. After graduating in the summer of 2014 he was hired as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator for the Thibodaux High School Tigers.

The Tigers finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before losing to Scotlandville, 27-15.

Washington says that this coaching experience and his players helped him grow. Although he has played football his entire life, Washington admits that coaching has been an adjustment and that the initial transition was not as smooth as he would have liked.

“I actually never wanted to be a coach, so when I went into coaching I didn’t know what to expect,” Washington said. “My first few days I was quiet just observing and not saying much, but once I got to know my players that’s when I discovered Coach Marcus.”

During this time Washington leaned on his close relationships. He sought advice from his old coaches as well as family and friends.

Washington says that his grandmother has been his inspiration throughout both his life and football career. He says that the strong relationship is a result of him being the youngest of five children.

In the midst of Washington’s sophomore season at Nicholls State, his grandmother died. Although this was a tough time for him, he continued to play football. He said that football meant everything to her and his family encouraged him to play.

Washington has a tattoo of his grandmother’s name with a dove located on his chest.

“It represents my heart and sunshine, which is what she was to me,” Washington said.

Washington also acknowledges his younger nephew as an inspiration. Washington’s nephew mimics many things of his uncle which include playing the same sport, wearing the same jersey number, playing the same position and having the same hairstyle.

He also credits his parents, specifically his father’s military background, for helping to instill a strong work ethic within him.

Washington says that he soon discovered that he had the potential to be his old coach’s protege. In order to emulate the success of his former coach, Washington said that he tried to reenact many things that his former coach did. This included running the same drills in practice and “doing almost everything step by step just like him.”

This not only pushed Washington be a better coach, but it also revealed what was required of him if he wanted to be successful and have a positive impact on his players.

“The good thing was getting to understand my kid’s backgrounds, and noticing I’m not just a coach but also a life coach, a mentor, a brother, or even a father to some,” Washington said.

Washington said that the relative closeness in age to his players allows him to relate to them more than the average coach. Because of this, Washington is one of the first people that   the players approach when they are in need of advice. He believes that this helps their relationship and it’s something that he is thankful for.

In addition to being a football coach, Washington also serves as the coordinator of minority recruiting at his alma mater. He is responsible for giving campus tours and visits to prospective Nicholls State students. Washington believes that the passion that he had as a student and football player at Nicholls has helped his transition as a faculty member.

“Throughout my tenure at Nicholls I became a big fan of the university and began loving everything about Nicholls,” Washington said. “The experience of going through a university and then working for a university is very exciting.”

Washington said he believes giving back to the community is important because it can change a young person’s life for the better.

“To help someone else in need gives me a smile inside nobody can take away,” Washington said. “I want to become old and have several young men and women email or call me and tell me thank you, because without me they wouldn’t be as successful as they will become.”

He says that being able to help a student as both a coach and counselor is something that makes him very proud. He also likes the aspect of now being colleagues with his former professors.

Although Washington is still rehabbing from his serious knee injury, he is still pursuing a career as a professional football player. He currently is training for his pro day and tryout, which will begin in March. If he doesn’t receive an opportunity by next season, Washington will continue his coach career and pursue a Master’s degree in sports management.

Despite missing majority of his senior season, Washington is satisfied with his collegiate career.

“I will forever be in the record books, and everyone will remember who Nicholls running back No. 44 Marcus Washington was,” Washington said. “I achieved my awards as well school wise and nationally, so I am able to say I had a successful career.”

He finished his Nicholls State career with the 21 total touchdowns and 1,827 rushing yards, the eighth most in school history. He also was an all-conference running back in 2011.

 

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects…

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects… this is the story.

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

 

Eric Reid and Eddie Lacy began a journey together as teammates at Dutchtown High school in Geismar, La., and now they will reunite in the Big Apple for the Draft.

On April 25th, Reid and Lacy awaited their fate in the 2013 NFL Draft. Both Reid and Lacy were in New York City at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night for the draft.

Reid ended up going with the 18th pick in the first round to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, while Lacy had to wait until Friday when he was taken with the  61st  overall pick in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.

Even though both players have had significant success in their football careers thus far, their stories are substantially different.

Reid, a Baton Rouge native, knew all along that he was destined to be an LSU Tiger. His father, Eric Reid Sr., won a national championship in the 110-meter hurdle in 1987 as a senior at LSU. Reid Sr. is in the schools athletic hall of fame as an All-American hurdler and still works on the LSU campus.

Reid, opted out of his senior season with the Tigers to make himself available for the 2013 NFL Draft. Becoming a professional football player has been a dream of Reid’s since he was a little boy.

“It is my dream, I’m living my dream,” Reid said before the draft to KSLA.com. “It really doesn’t matter what team I go to. I’m doing what a lot of other people aren’t able to do, so I’m very blessed for that.”

In his three years with the Tigers, Reid played on teams that won 10 or more games all three years. In 2011 LSU went 13-1 capturing the Southeastern Conference title and contended against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

Reid and the Tigers came up substantially short against Lacy and the dominant Tide, 21-0. Overall, Reid’s three-year record at LSU was 34-6.

In his final season with the Tigers in 2012, Reid started all 13 games and finished third on the team in tackles with 91. He earned First Team All-America as a junior and was named twice to SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2011 and 2012.

Overall in his collegiate career as an aggressive safety, Reid played in 39 games, starting 29 times. He finished with 194 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and six interceptions.

On the other side of the ball, ground and pound running back Eddie Lacy endured a harder road to the pros.

In 2005, as a freshman, Lacy earned a spot on the varsity football team at Helen Cox High School in Harvey when disaster struck.

Lacy, a Gretna native, was forced out of his hometown when Hurricane Katrina hit and the Lacy family relocated to Texas. After the storm passed, the Lacy family enrolled in the “Share Your Home” program that landed Lacy in Geismar.

“Because of the hurricane, I didn’t know where I would wind up or what my future would be,” Lacy said to the Advocate.com.

At Dutchtown High school, Lacy took his frustration out on the football field while gaining serious attention as a dominant running back for the Griffins.

Both Reid and Lacy received national attention from colleges all over the country despite both players suffering injuries prior to the start of their collegiate football careers.

Lacy’s desire to play out of state led him to sign with Alabama. During his four years in Tuscaloosa, Lacy redshirted his freshman year and then sat patiently waiting behind Hesiman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, both now in the NFL.

As a junior, Lacy ran for 1,322 yards on 204 carries and 17 touchdowns, earning First Team All-SEC honors. In his final game as a Crimson Tide, Lacy earned MVP honors and scored two touchdowns and collected 140 yards in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.

“He’s faster than you think,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said to ESPN.com. “He has very deceptive speed and very deceptive quickness. … I think Eddie is a very, very complete player. I don’t really see a lot of flaws in his game. I think he’ll be a very, very good player for somebody.”

In his four years with the Tide, Lacy has been a part of a program that went 50-5 winning three BCS National Championships and two SEC Championships. Needless to say, Lacy has been a part of a national powerhouse with Coach  Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Lacy faced a national disaster at the start of his football career but it seems like nothing will detour him on his path to success.

“I can get through anything, any obstacle after you know, everything that I’ve been through,” Lacy said to ESPN.com. “I just know that nothing can stop me.”

Saints NFL Draft Preview

The New Orleans Saints will have the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL draft tomorrow night in New York City.

In many ways, the draft marks the beginning of the new regular season in the NFL, when teams replenish their rosters and focus on offseason preparations.

The Saints, buried under the bounty scandal a year ago, will start the 2013 NFL regular season free of the death grip of commissioner Roger Goodell.

So what are they to do?

Picking pretty much smack dab in the middle of the first round, the Saints, like nearly every team in the league, have a myriad of needs they hope to address via the draft.

One of the holes they’ll probably look to fill is on defense – at pretty much any position.

Luckily for the Saints, there appears to be a plethora of talented defensive players in the draft this year.

Double lucky for the Saints, they’ll look to have linebacker Jonathan Vilma for a whole season after he was suspended for a large portion of last year in relation to the bounty scandal.

Curtis Lofton also contributed a strong season last year with more than 100 total tackles from the linebacker spot.

Multiple draftniks have identified Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones as a potential target for the Saints during the first round on Thursday.

The pick would make sense. Jones would provide the Saints with a pass rushing threat the team lacked last year.

Cameron Jordan led the Saints with eight sacks last year and the aging Will Smith chipped in six.

Jones’s ability to get to the quarterback could prove useful for the Saints, should they choose to go that route.

The Saints may also opt to go after a defensive lineman in the first round.

Picking in the middle of the first round, they may not be able to get their hands on Utah behemoth Star Lotulelei or Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, but the Saints may have a shot at bringing LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo.

Mingo may see time at linebacker in the pros, but certainly would give the Saints athleticism and speed off the edge.

Here’s an interesting thought: Let’s say the Saints aren’t able to snag Jones, and Mingo’s been taken as well. What COULD be interesting is that the Saints might opt to fortify their secondary.  This would prove useful in a division that features big armed and capable passers like  Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman.

What if they go after someone like Florida safety Matt Elam?  He’s an active and tenacious player who’s projected to go in the later part of the first round.

The Saints would then have to wait until the third round to pick again.  They would still do well to get a pass rusher, and Sam Montgomery, the OTHER LSU defensive end, might still be available.

Montgomery at one point was projected as a first rounder along with Mingo.  His draft stock plummeted in the eyes of draft analysts in recent weeks after he admitted taking plays “off” at LSU and an underwhelming NFL Combine performance.

Still, there’s no denying Montgomery’s ability and if the Saints have the opportunity to snatch him in the third round, where many draft experts say he’ll go,, they’d be wise to do so.

If this were to happen, the Saints’ first two picks in 2013 would add a young and aggressive secondary player in Elam who can study under Roman Harper, and a first round talent in Montgomery, helping breath life in their derelict pass rush.

Of course, the one certainty about the NFL draft is that there will always be surprise and intrigue when the draft finally arrives.

The Saints may end up taking Jones’s Georgia teammate Alec Ogletree in the first round and South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger in the third round. You just never know.

One thing that can be assumed with relative confidence is that the Saints will look to focus on defense in this draft.

Mad Hatter Magic

 

Photo Courtesy of Bouche's Snapshot

Photo Courtesy of Chessa Bouche

LSU coach Les Miles leads his Tigers into Death Valley, eats grass on occasion, takes part in the “LSU Football Harlem Shake” video, and now the Mad Hatter has done it again. Coach Miles will take part in the NFL Network’s draft coverage that begins this Thursday night.

LSU’s Les Miles, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Standford’s David Shaw, and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly will all participate in the 2013 NFL Draft coverage.

According to draft producer Charlie Yook, Miles, Shaw, and Kelly are expected to be with the coverage team during the draft and Sumlin will work pre-draft coverage.

Apparently, Coach Miles left a lasting impression from his appearance last year as an NFL draft analyst, and the NFL Network wants him back. Coach Miles is known for his sense of humor, of course off of the gridiron, and he should provide great entertainment value to the network.

One of Coach Miles former Bengals, Barkevious Mingo, is projected to go early on in the first round. LSU has a total of 11 NFL prospects this year so Coach Miles should have plenty of things to say.

Together again…

Reid-lacyPhoto Courtesy of ESPNgo.com

Being a Northern Louisiana native, I get a lot of criticism from Cajuns here in Baton Rouge. Over and over again I have been called a “Yankee” or a “Texan”. I will never embrace either of the nicknames but I will do my best to learn more about this red stick land and the football culture that I am surrounded by.

So when I heard about Dutchtown High School having two former players entering the 2013 NFL Draft I had to do some investigating.

First, I googled Dutchtown high to find that it is located in Geismar, which is right outside of South Baton Rouge.

Second, Dutchtown high has close to 2,000 students from eighth grade to twelfth grade.

Third, Dutchtown high has never won a football state championship.

So how does a high school such as Dutchtown, which is not a powerhouse football program, produce two outstanding football stars?

Well when you have players such as Eddie Lacy and Eric Reid in your program, it seems simple.

Eddie Lacy, a former Alabama running back, and Eric Reid, a former LSU safety, are the first two players to be drafted from the Geismer School. And both players decided to forgo their senior season and be available for the 2013 NFL Draft.

More to come on their upcoming journeys to the NFL… stay tuned.

Former Tiger Impresses at the Combine

Former LSU star Barkevious Mingo shined at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The former Bayou Bengal clocked a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash, a 37-inch vertical jump, a 128-inch standing broad jump and flashed his explosiveness in individual drills. Mingo finished in the top five among defensive lineman in all four categories.

According to Bleacher Report, Mingo is in the top 10 of most NFL mock drafts and rightfully so after his impressive performance Monday in Indy.

“He can probably play either defensive end or linebacker at the next level,” said Barrett Sallee, SEC Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. “But wherever he plays, Mingo is going to be a star.”

Mingo left lasting impressions on scouts with his scorching numbers, but his size, speed and athleticism make him a solid fit at the linebacker position at the next level. According to USA Today, Mingo went through several linebacker drills and impressed at every turn.

Many teams are projecting him on the outside in a 3-4 defense, and at the Combine he was flawless. According to NFL.com, Mingo “flashed the talent and projectable skills to be a dominant NFL pass rusher, and a position switch will likely serve him well.”

Gill Brandt, Senior NFL Analyst, initially listed Mingo as the no. 21 overall pick in his 2013 NFL Mock Draft on January 15th. However, since Mingo’s dominant performance he is now listed as no. 6.

“Mingo might be a little bit of a reach here, but he boasts great pass-rush ability and can play in space,” said Brandt. “I don’t know if he’ll ever get big enough to be a defensive end, but I think he can play outside linebacker.”

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A record 13 LSU football players attended the Combine with high hopes of playing in the NFL. Mingo’s stellar performance should payoff for him on April 25th when the official 2013 NFL Draft begins. Hopefully, the former Bengal will shine once again.