Racey McMath has been running ever since he came into the world.

Well actually, it started even before that.

It's the reason he got that unique first name in the first place, a name he signed on his national letter of intent Wednesday and faxed to LSU.

"While I was carrying him, he just wouldn't keep still," recalled Pam McMath. "I honestly didn't rest at all the whole nine months."

In fact, she had to be on bed rest the final three months.

Pam and James McMath decided this baby needed a special name.

"He needed a name that had something to do with movement," Pam said. "It felt like he was just racing in my stomach. So James said 'OK, that's his name, let's call him Racey.' He's been running every since."

His next stop is Tiger Stadium.

McMath will now exchange his Edna Karr purple gold for those same colors at LSU.

"It feels amazing because all of my hard work from when I was young has paid off and now I get to go to college for free and do what I love to do," said McMath, one of 11 Karr players to sign on national signing day. "I think my future looks bright at LSU. Outside of football I feel like when I get my degree I'll be able to provide for my family."

He will bring that blazing speed with him from Algiers to Baton Rouge.

He clocked a 4.4 time in the 40 at a camp at LSU last summer. The next day at a camp at Mississippi State he ran even faster, running a 4.3.

But McMath isn't just speed.

He has size to go with it, measuring 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds.

That speed doesn't come as a surprise to his parents, who watched McMath race as a kid against an opponent he could never beat.

"He started racing his own shadow," his mom said. "He'd be out there saying 'I'm trying to catch it, but I can't catch it.' I told him 'baby, slow down' and he would never slow down. "

McMath still remembers those days.

"I'd run a long time trying to catch it, from corner to corner," he said with a laugh.

And now, McMath has become the shadow, a looming figure opposing defensive backs have so much trouble trying to chase down. He finished his senior season with right at 800 yards and 16 touchdowns to help the Cougars win the Class 4A state title and cap off a perfect season. He was a first-team selection on the LSWA Class 4A All-State team.

He is rated a three-star recruit, but perhaps could have been higher.

"He wasn't big into the Rivals camps or the Sparq training or the Under Armour combines," Karr coach Brice Brown said. "He just wanted to play ball."

And he's been doing it since he was 9-years old at Cutoff Playground in Algiers.

Jamal Casby was one of McMath's first coaches and was there to see him sign Wednesday. Casby said McMath was always the fastest one on the team even back then. Casby tried to get him to play quarterback or running back, but McMath wasn't really interested. So he put him back to return a punt.

"The first punt he ever got he took it 80 yards," Casby said.

McMath lists Dez Bryant and Julio Jones as his favorite pro receivers.

"Dez Bryant is physical, and they both have size like me," McMath said. "The way they make plays is the way I make plays."

But there is another comparison McMath often hears around school. His name is often mentioned in the same conversation as former Karr standout Speedy Noil, who went on to play at Texas A&M and has entered his name in this year's NFL draft.

"It means a lot when I hear that," McMath said. "Speedy is a great player. To compare me to him means people think I'm a great player. Speedy told me when I first got to Karr that I was going to be a great player, and I took that and put it my back pocket and never forgot it and I kept working."

Brown coached them both.

"Speedy Noil's name ranks high throughout the school," Brown said. "If Speedy Noil is 1A, Racey is right there at 1B. They both wore the No. 2 and wore it well and both will have graduated with honors from Karr. I'm proud of him. He is one of those guys who did everything we asked him to do. He worked his tail off on the field and in the school."

For Pan and James Nixon, Wednesday was a sigh of relief. The recruiting process was hectic at times.

"I can't describe it," Ms. McMath said. "He realizes this is a major opportunity. Great things come to those who work hard and he always tells me 'Momma I'm working hard.' "

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.