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St. Thomas More quarterback Walker Howard announced Friday with a video his verbal commitment to the LSU Tigers.

Former St. Thomas More and LSU quarterback Jamie Howard and his highly-recruited son, Walker, have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I think everyone needs to know this is a very serious thing,” said Howard, adding that he is recovering. “When it’s all said and done, I think a lot of us, maybe half of us, are going to be exposed to it at some point. I think we’re all just reacting differently to it.

“You don’t want people scared to see you or anything, but people need to know how serious this is. This is like the flu on steroids. Then you add the respiratory issue with it; it’s no joke at all.”

Jamie began feeling symptoms on March 21. Walker, who plans on being a junior starting quarterback at St. Thomas More in the fall, tested positive Tuesday, but “isn’t feeling any symptoms at all. He’s fine,” Jamie said.

Jamie wasn't able to say the same until Friday morning. He exhibited nearly every one of the symptoms.

On Saturday, March 21, he started running a fever and had a dry cough “with a weird feeling" in his lungs. By that evening, he lost his sense of taste and smell.

He got out of bed “Tuesday or Wednesday morning” and went to the Cajundome to get tested.

“Actually, I still haven’t gotten the results from that yet,” Jamie said. 

By the following Saturday, March 28, he began experiencing shortness of breath, so he went to Lourdes and was tested again. Three days later the results came back positive for coronavirus.

His fever abated after about 10 days, and he “finally started to feel close to normal again” Friday morning.

“On a scale when you look at a lot of friends who have it or had it, mine is probably a little worse because of the respiratory side of it, because I ended up developing pneumonia,” Jamie said. “I had a substantial amount of fluid on my lungs from it.

“If you have any issues or your immune system is down, this is definitely a very scary situation.”

He admits he initially was skeptical about the coronavirus.

“I honestly thought this was overblown,” said Jamie, who graduated from St. Thomas More in 1992 before moving on to be LSU’s starting quarterback. “I thought it was terrible. I thought we were shutting down the country for no reason. I definitely learned the hard way that this is very serious. I admit I was one of the ones thinking this was way overblown.”

Fortunately, Walker hasn’t endured the bad side of the virus. When Jamie originally got sick, his oldest daughter, Allyson, came home to help. Both Allyson and Jamie’s youngest daughter, Hillary, have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Jamie's wife, Kathyrn, died from cancer in 2018.

“Everyone has done very well,” Jamie said. “My kids, because of what they’ve been through with their mother, they just take it in stride and just kind of move on.

“I just told them to stay away from me and everybody’s done a good job. They disinfected everywhere I walk through the house. I think that’s really helped the two girls not getting it.”

While Walker has not had any symptoms, he has felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in another way.

The highly-touted quarterback has been waiting for his chance to start at St. Thomas More for two years. Still, he’s already received offers from the likes of LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Nebraska and UL.

But now there won’t be any spring football and he’s got to stay away from others for at least two more weeks.

“We had a lot of trips planned to go to different schools for their spring practices,” Jamie said. “We were going to get on the road together and see some different places.

“It’s affecting everything. Hopefully this season will happen this fall and everything will get back to normal."


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.