Jared Sparks of Dutchtown High and Silliman Institute’s Zach Kelly find themselves on different points of the quarterback recruiting spectrum just before national signing day.
Kelly committed to Princeton last week. Sparks is bound for Purdue of the Big 10 after switching his commitment from Southern Mississippi about two weeks ago.
They share one major attribute: being part of the Baton Rouge area’s largest QB signing class in decades. Sparks is one of four Griffins set to sign at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Kelly is set to sign Thursday.
Nine quarterbacks from Baton Rouge area schools are set to sign either Wednesday or in the days ahead. Some may ultimately play other positions in college but each has made their mark as a quarterback.
“I think a couple of things set this group apart,” Sparks said. “We all have a lot of knowledge about playing the quarterback position, and we’re all very driven.
“As a quarterback, you do experience ups and downs that go with leading our teams. I think that helped prepare us for this chance.”
Zachary quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr., who committed to LSU on Sunday, leads the group that also includes Sparks and Kelly. The others include Walker’s Terry Bozeman (Arkansas-Monticello), Ian Brian of Catholic (SLU), Donaldsonville’s Tyler Brown (Southern) and Southern Lab’s Bladrick Veal (TBA), who are scheduled to sign Wednesday.
Two quarterbacks who have won title-game MVPs, Parkview Baptist’s Reggie Hayes Jr. (Division II in 2015) and Livonia’s Cee Jay Powell (Class 3A in 2014), will sign after Wednesday. Hayes has a weekend visit to Navy set. Powell is considering Louisiana Tech, Central Arkansas and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
“I always wanted the chance to play on that bigger stage,” Sparks said. “I’m still grateful for the opportunity Southern Miss gave me. When I made my visit to Purdue everything fell into place.
“My relationships with the coaches and players there got stronger. It was everything I wanted.”
Sparks passed for over 1,800 yards and 16 TDs. Kelly also was a multi-purpose threat who had over 3,000 total yards. He also had offers to Troy and Jacksonville and several other Ivy League schools, along with a preferred walkon offer to TCU.
“My decision was based on my future,” Kelly said. “You figure football is only going to last another four or five years.
“The degree that I get and contacts I make will serve me well over the next 40 years. I’ve already talked with Princeton alums here in Baton Rouge and New Orleans and those contacts will help me with internships and hopefully, jobs down the road.
Other recruit news
University High will host its signing day at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday with defensive back Malik Antoine (Stanford), receiver Tre’ Jackson (Tulane) and linebacker Laryon James (linebacker) all set to sign.
UHS girls soccer player Jessica Shelby is scheduled to sign with Nicholls State.
- Add Northeast defensive lineman Leroy Roddy to the list of local players headed to Jackson State. Another Silliman player, linebacker Will Douglas, is set to sign with Nicholls State.
- Bozeman is one of five Walker players scheduled to sign at 9 a.m. The others are linebacker-tight end Kyle Nevels (UL-Monroe), linebacker Henry Monley (linebacker), defensive back Trey Keller (Arkansas Baptist) and defensive back Anthony Montgomery (Belhaven).
- East Feliciana also is set to have three football signees in defensive lineman Trevontae Booker (Louisiana-Lafayette), offensive lineman Darius Davis (Alcorn State) and linebacker Treylan Dunn (Grambling). The EFHS ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m.
- Lutcher linebacker Ben St. Pierre and defensive lineman Sully Laiche are set to sign with Nicholls. Running back/receiver Destin Porter is bound for Alabama State.
McKinley has two players set to sign at 10 a.m. — defensive back Nick Wiggins (ULL/Kilgore Junior College) and receiver Juwan Ruffin (Coffeyville JC).
- Episcopal running back TJ Wisham has committed to Army and will sign Friday at the school.