Photos: College Signing Day _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- U-High running back Nick Brossette signs with LSU.

He talks softly and carries himself, with or without a football, quite well.

One big thing that sticks out about University High running back Nick Brossette is the numbers.

The 6-foot, 210-pound Brossette is tied for sixth nationally in career rushing touchdowns with a four-year career with 134. If you include his eighth-grade numbers, the LSU commitment could pass current LSU running back Kenny Hilliard as Louisiana’s all-time rushing leader. And he has even more touchdowns.

Those aren’t the things Brossette said he believes he will remember long after the top-seeded Cubs (12-0) play rival Parkview Baptist (9-0), the seventh seed, in the Division II title game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Prep Classic set for 5 p.m. Friday.

“My family and everybody who cares about me has pushed me and helped me to get to this point,” Brossette said. “I’m so blessed to be where I am. I’m ready to play with this team one last time and finish it out strong.

“I think about the team and the guys I’m here with. My family has taught me the memories and the people are what you remember. That lasts.”

Numbers that make Brossette one of the most prolific high school football players to ever strap on shoulder pads in Baton Rouge may last for a while too.

Brossette enters the Division II title game with season totals of 1,561 rushing yards, 24 rushing TDs and four receiving TDs. It is the fifth straight season he has rushed for 1,000 or more yards.

The cumulative totals are staggering. As a sophomore Brossette ran for 2,118 yards and 44 TDs before adding 2,186 yards and 37 TDs as a junior. Through his four traditional high school seasons Brossette has 7,416 rushing yards.

Brossette is currently tied with Demetrius “Mac” Campbell, who ran for 134 TDs from 1994-97 for Alabama-based Alexandria. Since his eighth-grade season, Brossette has rushed for 151 TDs and has 8,434 rushing yards. LSU’s Hilliard ran for 8,603 yards during his four-year career at Patterson. So with 169 more yards, Brossette can pass Hilliard too. Add in 10 receiving TDs and those totals go up to 161.

Whether four-year or five-year statistics should be counted is something statisticians can dance round. UHS coach Chad Mahaffey has some direct and emotional thoughts about Brossette.

“He’s a kid we’ve enjoyed having in our program,” Mahaffey said. “He’s done very well, and he’s done everything we’ve ever asked him to do. When I think about Nick, I think about the smiling, laughing kid who always has a good attitude.

“The thing is, he’s always been steady, so consistent. And he’s worked to get better. I think this year he’s been more of a complete back with his blocking and ability to catch the ball.”

The knock against Brossette in recruiting circles is his speed. He was clocked in 4.7 seconds in a 40-yard dash at one camp last summer and vowed to better that time. At the end of the summer he ran a 4.51 at U-High when the Cubs had their speed and strength tests.

“In this district, we’ve played against some great backs like Jeremy Hill and Jay Lucas at Redemptorist,” West Feliciana’s Robb Odom said. “We played Hilliard in the playoffs. Brossette ranks right up there with them.

“He’s a complete back, and he’s patient. I know people talk about his speed. Well, you don’t see him getting caught from behind do you? That’s football speed, and that’s all that matters.”

Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois’ teams played against Brossette for three seasons. He offers a another view.

“Even as a young back, you could see how good he could be,” Bourgeois said. “He just needed to fill out and get stronger. Back then it was all fun and not a lot pressure.

“Now he has that pressure and those expectations. He’s handled it and continued to get better. Not everybody does that.”