The first day of the NCAA’s football signing period often plays like a movie you’ve seen over and over. Players commit early and then sign with their respective schools.
Port Allen offensive lineman Marcus Keyes and Central wide receiver Terrell Chatman didn’t follow the script.
Keyes signed with Oklahoma State, while Chatman, a Miami commitment, did not sign. Chatman is pondering his choices thanks to late pushes by Georgia, Arizona State and TCU.
Keyes committed to Louisiana-Lafayette last summer and was set to sign with the Cajuns until Monday.
“Coach (Guy) Blanchard (Port Allen coach) came and knocked on my classroom door. And he said ‘You’ll never believe this, but you just got an offer from Oklahoma State.’ ” Keyes said. “That was two days ago. I was shocked. It really gave me something to think about. Part of me wanted to stay with ULL, but I’d had a lot of people tell me I’d been passing up some opportunities. This was too good for me to pass up.”
Keyes will have an ally in Central safety Kevin Henry, an AAU basketball teammate from middle school days, who also signed with the Cowboys.
“To be honest with you, I was ready for the whole recruiting process to be over. It can be wild,” Henry said. “When I heard about Marcus, I was a little surprised. That’s my old buddy. It’s always nice to have someone from home going to college with you.”
Henry said he feels for Chatman, saying the 6-foot-4 receiver has quite a “predicament.”
Central assistant Frank Fresina agreed, saying Chatman did not wish to be interviewed. Chatman walked into the Central gym for the afternoon signing ceremony with Henry and defensive lineman Cameron Hooper, who signed with Northwestern State, but quickly walked out.
“This is not one of those guys who wants to drag it out to get attention,” Fresina said. “Terrell went on some visits the last couple of weeks. He’s not sure what he wants to do. We’re going to let Terrell make his decision and support whatever that is.”
Three other players made signing-day choices to go to out-of-state schools. Dutchtown safety Justin Reid chose Stanford over LSU and Notre Dame. Southern Lab’s linebacker Javahn Ferguson and defensive back Joseph McWilliams chose New Mexico State.
Ferguson visited New Mexico State last weekend and convinced the Aggies to make an offer to McWilliams, a longtime friend and teammate since youth football.
“At first, I was reluctant to go away from home,” Ferguson said. “I’m used to having my family there for games and always around. The New Mexico State coaches convinced me I could have that there even when my family can’t make it to games.
“I asked them if they needed a DB, and they said they had an opening. Once they saw him (McWilliams) on film, they offered him too. It’s great that we’re going to get the chance to play together longer.”
Defensive lineman Jozie Milton of Clinton’s Silliman Institute opted to change his commitment from South Carolina to TCU in December.
“I fell in love with it when I went there for the all-star game, and it’s a lot closer to home,” Milton said. “I turned everybody down after I made the trip to TCU. I’m happy to be a Horned Frog.”
Catholic offensive lineman Aaron Wiltz also had a change of heart in December and changed his commitment from Central Florida to North Carolina State. He signed with North Carolina State, while McKinley defensive lineman Daniel James signed with Yale despite a late push from others, led by Vanderbilt. Like James, Dutchtown’s Alonzo Craighton held firm to his commitment to Minnesota.
Plaquemine, McKinley and Livonia each had five players sign. PHS quarterback D’Morea Wicks, who’ll play either running back/receiver, signed with Air Force. McKinley’s other out-of-state signee was linebacker Kirk Louis, an Arkansas State signee.
Parkview Baptist had two players sign with out-of-state schools. Receiver Houston Robert is bound for Rice, while defensive back Josh Stansell signed with Arkansas-based Henderson State.
James was not the only local Ivy League signee. Episcopal receiver Spencer Kleinpeter signed with Cornell; defensive back Jyron Walker of Dunham signed with Penn.
Mississppi-based Millsaps signed linebacker Gage Garcia of Livonia, defensive lineman Chase Garcia of Livonia and receiver Grayson Walsh of Catholic.
Other out-state signees included St. Michael the Archangel running back Matthew Butler with Texas Southern, Zachary safety Khari Lowe with Howard, East Feliciana linebacker Tyquincy Kilourne with Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Denham Springs tight end Zach Mayo with Arkansas-Monticello.
Players who signed with junior colleges included Ascension Catholic defensive lineman Delmond Landry with Southwest Mississippi Community College, Denham Springs defensive back Dare’yn Wilson with New Mexico Military Junior College, Scotlandville offensive lineman Kody Holmes with Kansas-based Hutchinson Junior College and two Livonia teammates who signed with Kilgore (Texas) Junior College, linebacker Bryce Jones and receiver Stephen Guidry after also signing with McNeese.