Tulane coach Curtis Johnson has never left any doubt about where his recruiting hot spot is.
South Louisiana is the Green Wave’s first, second and third priority with some Florida-area prospects thrown in along the way.
On Wednesday, Tulane’s focus proved particularly helpful as it helped land the commitment of Warren Easton defensive back Dedrick Shy. The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder was set to take a trek upriver to join defending American Athletic Conference champion Memphis, until he was urged by family and friends to a look at the Tigers’ roster.
Then, he was reminded that Memphis coach Justin Fuente was the subject of countless rumors this offseason regarding his potential defection as one of the rising stars in the coaching world. And Shy’s mind began to turn to his own backyard.
“When they told me to look at the team, I realized there was nobody from Louisiana on their roster,” Shy said. “So, if anything happened there, I really could be in a bad spot because they don’t really recruit from Louisiana. And anytime a job comes open for another college, I hear about Memphis’ coach as the person they want for that job. So it made me think more about it.
“So, the reason I picked Tulane is that I wanted to stay home, with the home team, and try to build something at Tulane like I built at Easton with all of my teammates.”
Shy served as a key defensive cog in Warren Easton’s first run to a state championship game since 1958, after moving from wide receiver to defensive back following his sophomore year. He expects to play cornerback under Green Wave secondary coach Jason Rollins, who led Shy’s recruitment, but is open to returning to receiver or possibly filling in at nickel or safety if needed.
No matter what, his ball skills, athleticism and lengthy frame that helped earn him an array of scholarship offers, from not just Tulane and Memphis, but also Louisville, UL-Lafayette, Kent State, UL-Monroe and Louisiana Tech, will be on display.
And after going to every Tulane home game this year in Yulman Stadium, Shy said he could feel the momentum of the program growing and wanted to be a part of it.
“I took unofficial visits all of the time to Tulane,” Shy said. “I like the new stadium because everyone plays in the Superdome. High schools play in the Superdome. Tulane has its own stadium and their own fans, like the students, who can just walk to the game. I thought it was really cool.”
Maybe most importantly, choosing Tulane also allowed Shy to keep his word. As sophomores, Shy and fellow Warren Easton product Jeremie Francis said they’d play college football together.
When Francis, a fellow defensive back, committed to the Green Wave in April, he hoped to see his teammate join him. Now, the tandem is assured it will rise to college together.
“He supported me to wherever I was wanting to go, because he is like my brother and we talk all of the time,” Shy said. “He had my back the whole way, but I remember telling him that we made the promise to each other that we would play on the same team in high school and college, whether it was Division I or Division III. When it became crunch time, I had to join him and go to Tulane.”
Shy is the Green Wave’s 15th commitment of the 2015 class, and the third from Warren Easton (Francis and running back Devin Glenn). He’s also the 14th pledge from Louisiana and the 10th from the New Orleans area.
“It’s good be home,” Shy said. “I’m definitely not the only one from Louisiana at Tulane.”