LAFAYETTE — In front of their families, friends and fellow students, a trio of Northside students took their next educational and football steps in the school’s library Wednesday.
For the three Vikings, that included staying in-state: Ethan Rose is going to Louisiana-Lafayette to play cornerback or safety. Offensive lineman O’Shea Dugas is headed to Ruston and projects as a left tackle for Louisiana Tech. Linebacker Jordan Williams is set to continue his schooling at Southern.
“Most people only saw what these kids did on Fridays,” Northside coach Trev Faulk said. “We (the coaches) saw what these kids did behind the scenes. It’s a very proud moment, and I feel blessed to be part of it.”
The moment came after many other moments in the weight room or at the practice field. Faulk told dozens of people in attendance how Dugas had willed himself to get down to 285 pounds from 335 —through workouts, physical education classes and his efforts on the Vikings’ wrestling team.
Williams, who plans to major in mechanical engineering at Southern, has a straightforward plan for jumping into his freshman year for the Jaguars and coach Dawson Odums. “They care about players and want you to get an education,” Williams said. “I want to grow as a player, give everything, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Faulk, a former LSU and NFL linebacker, had a personal stake in seeing Williams work his way up to the moment in the library.
“We were probably harder on him (Williams) than anybody else because that is the position that I played and a lot of the members of the coaching staff played,” Faulk said. “I never had to worry about him being at workouts or practices.”
Rose’s workouts and practices included him playing on both sides of the ball as a quarterback and cornerback. He totaled three interceptions as a senior — two of which came during a 13-10 Vikings’ victory over Evangel Christian Academy. Rose also accounted for 18 touchdowns and more than 1,700 yards as a quarterback. “All the work I put in ... I’m just proud that I made myself and my family happy,” Rose said.
Faulk also praised the parents in attendance for their roles in getting the three young men ready for college.
“These three guys are signing and getting a beautiful opportunity,” Faulk said. “This is no coincidence, either. The parents and grandparents have been great and have been instrumental in where these kids are.”
All of the universities waiting on those kids enjoyed a measure of success last season. The Cajuns are coming off their fourth consecutive New Orleans Bowl victory. The Jaguars finished 9-4 and represented the Western Division in the SWAC Championship Game. Louisiana Tech had a 9-5 season and defeated Illinois in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Dugas, who won a state wrestling championship, is ready to be a part of that sort of college team success.
“My senior year gave me a chance to go to more (football) camps and work on my craft,” Dugas said. “I just want to be part of something great.”