Lowell Narcisse looked more the part of a coach than a junior quarterback on the St. James sidelines Thursday night.
Khaki pants, long sleeve black shirt, and a cap replaced the shoulder pads, helmet and the No. 2 jersey he wore the first two years of his high school career when he gave opposing defenses fits.
A torn ACL suffered during the spring game has sidelined the Auburn commitment, rated the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the nation in the Class of 2017, all season long.
“It’s definitely tough being out here watching the team prepare and you can’t help,” Narcisse said Thursday before his team’s game against De La Salle. “I just try to be positive for the guys and let them know that they have to go out here and fight.”
The Wildcats lost 41-16 to Le La Salle to drop to 4-3 on the season.
“There is no way to measure how much we’re missing him,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “He is by far the best football player that we have, and he makes everybody around him that much better. We’ve managed to kind of survive up to this point basically relying on our defense to carry us. Offensively we are doing just enough.”
While he is unable to play, he has been doing his part in helping sophomore Demarcus Williams, who has been forced into the starter’s role after Narcisse’s season-ending injury that occurred during the spring game.
“I have definitely tried to help Demarcus out, being that it’s his first year, and I know what he’s going through,” Narcisse said
But Narcisse is spending even more time trying to help himself out, rehabbing his knee and getting prepared for his senior season.
“Everytime I go out and work in rehab, I think about (next year) and I go out there and just start pushing myself harder and harder,” he said. “It’s going pretty good. I just started my cutting. I’ve passed my sprinting tests, so I’m in my cutting phase right now so I’m at about 90 to 95 percent right now.”
His mother said he is handling the adversity of having to miss his junior season fine.
“It’s tough for him because he loves the game,” Stacy Narcisse said. “He’s human, so of course he wants to play. But he knows being completely healed and rehabbing is more important than wanting to play. He went from being the big quarterback to standing on the sidelines, but he is handling adversity really well.”
Jenkins agrees that Narcisse has handled it well, but does notice a difference on Friday nights.
“Game nights are always the toughest nights for him,” Jenkins said. “It’s easier to get through the rest of the week, but on game night it really affects him. He’s normally pretty down on game day.”
Fortunately for Narcisse, he has another year, giving him a chance to add to the monster numbers he compiled as a freshman and a sophomore.
He has thrown for 5,134 yards and 58 touchdowns and rushed for 2,039 yards and 30 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Last year, he passed for 3,127 yards and 31 touchdowns and rushed for another 1,402 yards and 18 touchdowns.
He said he is still solid on his commitment to Auburn, which he announced in July on his 17th birthday.
Some schools are still actively recruiting him. He listed Clemson, LSU, Arizona State and Tulane among the ones still trying.
“I still have some teams that are still coming after me hard,” he said. “Some teams have kind of backed off.”
He visited Clemson when it played against Notre Dame and visited LSU when it played Florida.
But he said he is still going to Auburn. He has watched Auburn’s disappointing 4-2 start this season, but he isn’t discouraged by that.
“It’s a building process,” he said. “Adversity builds character. They are going to a similar thing like what I’m going through. I know what it’s like to be down, so all you have to do is keep fighting and you’ll get better.”