Brother Martin runs past Holy Cross _lowres

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Brother Martin's Jared West tries to pull away from Holy Cross' Kenny Hebert last season.

Five months after national signing day, Jared West finally reached a decision.

Turns out, the star running back from Brother Martin is headed to the school that was there all the time.

West committed to Northwestern State on Tuesday night, picking the school that began recruiting him toward the end of his junior year. He is expected to actually sign soon.

“They have been very loyal since Day 1,” West said. “I felt like it was the best place to be. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for them from the beginning because they were basically one of the first schools to recruit me.”

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound West originally committed to Northern Colorado but changed his mind after the school parted ways with running back coach Terrance Robinson in October. Robinson was the coach recruiting West.

West, the school’s second leading rusher, also considered Louisiana-Monroe, Grambling, Southern Mississippi, Southeast Missouri State and Washington State.

“It was very gruesome because I committed early in my senior year,” West said about the recruiting process. “I wanted to make sure I had the perfect fit. Then a lot of teams started coming late. Out of respect for those teams. I started looking at those teams as well.”

He heads to Natchitoches after back-to-back stellar seasons at Brother Martin. As a senior, he rushed for 1,702 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 173 yards and was first-team selection on The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro Team for Large Schools.

He helped lead the Crusaders to a 10-3 mark and to the semifinals of the Division I playoffs. He leaves Brother Martin as No. 2 in career yards and yards in a single season and touchdowns (single season and career).

He trails former Brother Martin back Dante Butler, who just finished his career at Tulane.

“I’m going to most remember helping bring the program back to where it needs to be and where it should be,” West said about his high school career. “We made that semifinal appearance, we won 10 games and we hadn’t won that many games in 20 years. So it was just a great year all around.”

West will head to play for the Demons the first week in August when players report. He said his main goals are to get faster.

“College athletes are a lot bigger and stronger and faster, so I know I need to get bigger, stronger and faster as well,” West said. “So I have been working out every day.”

West doesn’t have any lofty goals for his freshman season.

“I just want to make sure I do whatever I can to be a great teammate,” he said. “I want to encourage others to play up to their potential and just be a great teammate. If I get a chance to play early, that would be great. But my main thing is to just come in ready to work hard.”