A few minutes with ... St. Aug defensive lineman D’Andre Christmas-Giles _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ROD WALKER St. Augustine defensive tackle D’Andre Christmas-Giles

D’Andre Christmas-Giles celebrated his 18th birthday Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium.

At the University of Tennessee, they were celebrating Christmas.

Christmas, the St. Augustine senior defensive tackle, committed to the Volunteers on Saturday morning.

He announced his decision on Twitter early in the morning, then capped his day in St. Aug’s jamboree against Karr.

“It just felt like a good day to do it,” he said. “It was my birthday, so I just decided to do it. ... I’ve built a really good relationship with the coaches there, and they are rebuilding the program.”

Christmas-Giles has a distinctive name, but just not a household one.

His name is nowhere to be found in the rankings by 247 Sports of the top 50 players in Louisiana.

Rated a three-star recruit, he is currently listed as the No. 91 player in the state.

Chances are, that will change by season’s end for the 6-foot, 290-pound Christmas-Giles.

His scholarship offers, other than Tennessee, included Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Mississippi and Kansas.

He is still somewhat of an unknown after having to sit out his junior season at St. Aug after transferring from Salmen.

“He has the tenacity that you want to see,” St. Augustine coach Al Jones said. “He comes to play. He is quick off the ball and has good movement.”

Jones is equally impressed with Christmas-Giles off the field.

“D’Andre is a high-character kid, the kind you want to have on your team,” Jones said. “He is really focused on his future and the team. He comes to work every day and takes care of his business in the classroom.”

Although college coaches can’t discuss specific recruits, Tennessee coach Butch Jones seemed ecstatic about the commitment.

Butch Jones sent out a tweet Saturday morning included the words “XMas in August and “Great day on Rocky Top!!!”

Christmas-Giles started the jamboree off with a bang, recording a tackle for loss on the second play for the Purple Knights. But he also had a couple of offside penalties in the half.

He started the second half strong too, blowing past an offensive lineman and combining with a teammate for a tackle for loss early in the second half.

But none of it was it enough for St. Aug., which fell 26-7.

While Christmas-Giles celebrated his birthday and Tennessee celebrated his commitment, it was Karr celebrating yet another victory over St. Aug.

It was the ninth straight season the Cougars topped the Purple Knights.

This one, unlike the previous nine, was just a jamboree, so it won’t count in the win-loss column.

But Brice Brown, who took over as Karr’s coach this season after 10 years as offensive coordinator at his alma mater, will surely take it.

The Cougars were impressive and looked every bit worthy of their ranking in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10.

They will likely get plenty of ink this season.

So will a guy who lined up across the field Saturday night. Not that he is worrying too much about attention.

“I’m just staying humble and going to continue to work,” he said.