The wait is nearly over, at least, for some of the area’s top schoolboy football prospects.
The NCAA early signing period for Division I recruits arrives at 7 a.m. Wednesday and runs through Friday.
Destrehan running back John Emery and Ehret linebacker Donte Starks are two blue-chip prospects who head a group of nearly 30 area seniors that are scheduled to sign Wednesday.
Emery and Starks are scheduled to sign with LSU at their respective high school campuses, their coaches said.
Emery, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, is ranked as the nation’s top running back and 14th overall prospect by ESPN.com in addition to holding rankings as the No. 2 player at his position and 12th overall prospect by 247sports.com and No. 3 running backs and 31st overall prospect by Rivals.com.
Starks (6-2, 230), is ranked as the No. 6 inside linebacker and 114th overall player by 247sports.com in addition to being rated No. 7 among inside linebackers and 156th overall player by Rivals.com and No. 12 as an outside linebacker and No. 135 overall by ESPN.com.
Emery, a former Georgia commitment, and Starks each made their official visits to LSU this past weekend.
Destrehan is scheduled to have five seniors sign Wednesday with wide receiver Quinton Torbor having chosen Mississippi State and quarterback Harold Blood Jr. headed for Southern.
“We’re excited,’’ Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux said. “It is more of a joy to me than any wins you get as a coach because you get to know that these kids are going to be successful and are going to get a chance to continue their education.
“I get goose bumps knowing that these kids are getting a chance to continue their playing careers. You see how important it is to them and their families to have a chance at continuing their education.’’
In addition to Starks, Ehret, another Class 5A state semifinalist, has quarterback Travis Mumphrey and defensive end Jacoby Windmon bound for UNLV among its six signees.
Tulane is scheduled to sign John Curtis defensive tackle Colby Orgeron and Hahnville wide receiver Jha’Quan Jackson.
Orgeron is among three Curtis signees that includes safety Donald Clay heading for SMU and tight end Levon Williams going to Nicholls State.
UL-Lafayette is scheduled to sign three area seniors. They are Rummel quarterback Chandler Fields, McDonogh 35 safety Jaden Henderson and Chalmette offensive lineman Jamel Powell.
Southeastern Louisiana has six area seniors scheduled to sign. They are De La Salle running back Kendall Collins Jr., linebacker Alex Huszar and cornerback Dontrell Smith of Destrehan, East Jefferson outside linebacker/defensive end Darrius Harry and Ehret defensive lineman Eldridge Walker and safety Lucien Babino.
Slidell cornerback Ishmael Burdine is scheduled to sign with Missouri on Thursday, Slidell coach Larry Favre said.
The NCAA’s next Division I national letter of intent signing period runs from Feb. 6 through April 1.
Emery has recovered from an Achilles’ tendon injury that sidelined him for the second half of Destrehan’s Class 5A state semifinals game loss to eventual state champion Zachary on Nov. 30.
“It was just a lower leg injury,’’ Robicheaux said. “His Achilles tightened up on him. It was nothing serious. We just didn’t want to push it.’’
Emery rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in the 67-57 loss to Zachary to finish his senior season with 1,683 yards and 26 touchdowns on 218 attempts good for an average of 7.7 yards per carry.
“Football is a game that allows kids to be successful in life and teaches them so many things. For a kid to be able to go through your program and then be rewarded by getting a scholarship, it just makes you thrilled to know that one of your kids is being given that opportunity. You’re excited because all you ever want to do is to see these kids succeed and this gives them the opportunity to do that.’’ — Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux.