Gavin Landry versatile tool in St. John football team toolbox _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- St. John's Gavin Landry (2) runs for the end zone to score a touchdown against Central Catholic, Thursday, September 3, 2015, at Plaquemine High School in Plaquemine, La.

St. John of Plaquemine coach Oliver “Crickett” Crockett’s favorite weapon on a Friday night is a Swiss Army Knife.

It’s reliable, versatile and at 5-foot-6, its small frame can pack a punch.

The name of Crockett’s multitool weapon is Gavin Landry, and the running back/quarterback/defensive back/kicker/punter/kick returner has just about as many functions as the aforementioned knife.

“He does it all for us and does it well,” Crockett said. “A lot of times with kids, sometimes something lacks, but not him. He excels at all of it.”

The Swiss Army Knife nickname spawned from several Internet posts that made the initial comparison and was one of the first descriptions Crockett made when Landry’s name was mentioned.

Landry said the moniker hasn’t caught on too strong yet — a fact he’s not heartbroken over due to not wanting it to go to his head, but he does think the comparison to its versatility is appropriate.

The Eagles senior captain rarely leaves the field during a game, and even then, he’s hardly ever in the same position for long.

Landry constantly moves around the field but was primarily a defensive back for St. John until last season when Crockett began to utilize his speed at running back, as well. The past few weeks, Landry has also seen time at quarterback in the team’s “Wild Eagle” formations, its personal twist on the wildcat system.

Crockett said Landry’s services will once again be to spread out on the field this week as the No. 11 Eagles travel to No. 6 Southern Lab for the first round of the Division IV select Pplayoffs. The game is a rematch of the district rivals’ regular-season meeting, a 46-6 home win for the Kittens. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

“I don’t get tired. That’s the joke we like to say,” Landry said. “I can’t get tired. (The team) depends on me a lot, and that’s the mentality I have to take going into a game.”

Landry’s lack of size is can be a disadvantage to his performance, but he hasn’t let that slow him down, racking up more than 1,000 yards rushing through the regular season.

Crockett joked that his do-it-all back must have worn thick shoes when he measured at 5-foot-6, but he more than makes up for his physical shortcomings with an abundance of intangible assets, calling him a natural leader on and off the field.

Landry isn’t worried about his lack of size, though, saying he models his game after another short player from Louisiana in former LSU standout and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.

“The mentality I take into every game is that size doesn’t matter,” Landry said. “Tyrann Mathieu at LSU wasn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he made plays. I base my game off of him. He took what he wanted, and I just like to do what I do.”

Landry’s days on the gridiron are numbered at St. John with the season coming to a close soon, but he plans on continuing his playing career at the next level — wherever that may be.

He recently received his first official scholarship offer from Division II Wingate University in North Carolina. He’s also shown interest in Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana among a few other state schools in the region.

“I’ve been going on a couple of visits to places, but college football is definitely something I plan to do,” Landry said.