Kirk Merritt transferred from Newman to Destrehan two years ago and, for a time, was known only as “The Kid From Newman.”
Then Merritt started making spectacular catches and runs, finishing his first season with more than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns, and it all changed.
“It feels great knowing I made a name for myself here,” Merrittt said Wednesday.
Next stop: Oregon.
Merritt, a member of The New Orleans Advocate’s Super Dozen, signed with the Ducks two days after committing to the Pac 12 school on Monday night.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Merritt won Nike SPARQ national championship (given to the most athletic player in the country based on vertical jump, 40-yard dash and other measurables) in Oregon during the summer.
Merritt was one of 12 football players from Destrehan and Hahnville who signed a national letters of intent in a joint ceremony between the two schools.
“This is a ‘wow moment,’ ” said St. Charles Parish Athletic Director Willie Wise, who also recalled meeting with one-time LSU coach Gerry Dinardo during a recruiting visit. “He said this region is the bull’s-eye of the dart board for recruiting. This shows the he was right.”
Destrehan wide receiver Alfred Smith signed with Utah, safety Brandon Scott signed with Central Florida, defensive back Korian Reynaud signed with Louisiana-Monroe, strong safety Raekwon Morgan signed with McNeese State, linebacker Allen Pittman (Nicholls State) and cornerback Austin Dickerson signed with Louisiana College.
Running back Will Matthews, a member of The New Orleans Advocate All-Metro team, saved his official commitment for Wednesday, pulling a Kent State hat from a gift bag.
Hahnville defensive tackle Frederick Brown signed with Purdue, wide receiver Brandon Singleton signed with Cal, linebacker Dwaine Thomas signed with Texas A&M and offensive lineman Adrien Young signed with Fullerton College.
Headed to Notre Dame
John Curtis linebacker Bo Wallace signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday.
The 6-4, 220-pound Wallace committed to the Fighting Irish in October.
“Education played a big role,” Wallace said. “Most people can’t say that their university is one of the top 20 universities in the country. That speaks for itself.”
Wallace is one of two Louisiana players Notre Dame signed this season, joining Evangel Christian lineman Jerry Tillery.
Wallace was one of six Curtis athletes to make their college choices official Wednesday.
The other football players were: receiver Jacob Bordelon (Southeastern Louisiana), linebacker Mike Corcoran (Nicholls State), linebacker Josh Schweiger (Mississippi College) and quarterback Myles Washington (Kent State).
Volleyball player Tatiana Bell will play at Faulkner State Community College.
Fournette joins big brother
Lanard Fournette’s recruitment didn’t get nearly as much buzz as his big brother’s did last year.
But then again, not many recruiting processes will be as busy as that of Leonard Fournette, the LSU back who was the nation’s top recruit last season.
Lanard made it official on Wednesday though, joining his brother at LSU.
“I had no doubt as to where I wanted to sign on national signing day,” said the younger Fournette, also a running back. “It has been the plan in my mind for some time now, so I was 100 percent committed. I just needed to sign the papers and get ready to join my brother.”
Fournette’s teammate, receiver Stanley Morgan, signed with Nebraska.
“I am ready to go in and play from Day 1,” Morgan said. “I have no intent on redshirting, and I want to contribute heavy in my first year. I look forward to getting there and getting bigger and stronger. I am ready to show the nation what I am all about.”
Jacobs heads Rummel class
Rummel defensive lineman Tyrell Jacobs was committed to Oklahoma for a while, but recently switched to Missouri.
He will indeed play at Missouri, signing with the Tigers on Wednesday.
“It really came down to my parents and me just feeling at home there,” Jacobs said. “They felt comfortable there, and Missouri sends more defensive linemen to the NFL than anybody. So you have to look at all those things.”
Jacobs was one of four Raiders who signed, joining Brandon Phillips (Delta State), Ryan Hanley (Nicholls State) and Michael Mosley (Louisiana College).
Bussey officially an Aggie
After a topsy-turvy recruiting process, Newman running back Kendall Bussey signed with Texas A&M.
Bussey originally committed to Tulane and the switched to Nebraska, but re-opened his recruitment after coach Bo Pelini was fired. He committed to Tennessee before switching to the Aggies on Monday.
“I had been waiting for this day, and it’s really crazy,” Bussey said. “I’m happy that it’s over with.”
Bussey rushed for 1,240 yards and 28 TDs this season and was named the New Orleans Advocate’s Offensive Player of the Year for Small Schools.
His teammate Jay Tyler, who was the Advocate’s Player of the Year last year as a junior, signed with Stanford on Wednesday.
Rod Walker, Lori Lyons, Dashone Dunomes, Will Guillory contributed to this report.