Former HHS QB will lead Team USA against world
Former Hahnville and current Louisiana College quarterback Easton Melancon will suit up for the U.S. Under-19 National Team next month. Melancon is one of 44 players selected to the squad from across the nation.
It will be the farthest Melancon, one of just three quarterbacks selected to the U.S. Under-19 National Team, has ever been from home.
“I was a little nervous when they told me it was an 18-hour flight because I’ve never been on a plane that long,” Melancon said. “The farthest I’ve ever been from home was when we went to Ohio for 7-on-7 games in high school. That was a five-hour flight and I thought that was long.”
Melancon was selected to the national team after a stellar freshman season at Louisiana College. After taking over the starting role in the third game of the season, Melancon led Louisiana College to a 5-1 record in conference play and ranked second in the league in passing with 2,386 yards.
He finished third in the conference in both yards per game (238.6) and total offense (2,298). After the season, he was named Freshman of the Year for the American Southwest Conference.
Melancon said he was surprised that he was able to have so much success so early in his college career.
“When I first came into fall camp I knew that I was going to be fourth string and I was just going to do the best I could,” he said. “After the first week, coach (Dennis) Dunn told me that I was moving to second string and I was behind a junior so I knew he had the right to the position and I was ready to be the backup guy.”
However, during the second game of the season, Melancon secured the starting job after coming off the bench to lead Louisiana College to a come-from-behind win.“I didn’t think about how good I was playing, I was just trying to help our guys get wins, not be a superstar,” Melancon said.
Melancon will now be a part of a national team that includes 44 high school and college football players from 20 states. The squad will play in an eight-nation tournament that will be held from July 7-16 in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
While in Kuwait, the U.S. national team will compete in a field against other national teams from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait and Mexico.
Melancon was thrilled when he learned he had been selected to the squad.
“I felt honored that I got asked to play for our country. The first thing that came to my mind was the troops that give us freedom. I get a chance to play for them and give back to those troops for everything they do for us,” he said.
Melancon will meet the rest of his teammates during training camp, which will take place from June 25 to July 1 at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the guys from around the country who have the same dream,” Melancon said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not every day that you get asked to play for the USA and I am going to give it my all and play my hardest.”
Though he hasn’t met his teammates yet, Melancon has looked at plenty of highlight film and was impressed by what he saw. He thinks the squad has what it takes to bring home the gold.
“I don’t know much about the other countries, but Canada is always up there. But I really think that the USA is always on top,” Melancon said.
The U.S. won the inaugural Under-19 World Championship in 2009, but Canada claimed the gold medal in 2012. Last year, Team USA cruised to a 42-10 win in the International Bowl.
While Melancon said being on the national team is a special accomplishment, he also believes it will help him be a better player for Louisiana College next season.
“Playing in the USA tournament will help me get live reps before the season starts and will give me a lot of experience,” he said.
The U.S. team is led by Aaron Brady, who is the head coach at Malvern (Pa.) Preparatory School. Brady is a former All-Big East linebacker and safety at Rutgers University. He has also coached at both Duke University and Georgetown University.
The U.S. team will open the tournament on July 8 when they take on Mexico. They will battle against Germany on July 11 before ending pool play against Japan on July 13.The gold medal game will take place on July 16 between the winners of each pool.
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