Tiger receiver signs with Memphis, former DHS star on college award watch list
Derek Howard prepares to catch a touchdown pass during Hahnville’s scrimmage with Higgins last week.
Porter recruited the Bayou and River Parish areas for LSU during his stint as a running back coach for Les Miles and he recruited Hahnville halfback Alfred Blue for LSU last fall.
Howard, a 6-1 ˝, 190 pound wide receiver, caught 29 passes for 450 yards and 3 scores for the Tigers in 2009. Howard, who also excelled in basketball at Hahnville, had been looked at by coaches from SMU, Tulane, UL-Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana.
Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin says that Howard liked his trip to Memphis where he attended a camp this summer.
“Coach Larry Porter and his staff did a very good job recruiting Derek. He is a tremendous basketball player also and he has outstanding leaping skills. Derek is a real physical player and very strong. He has the strength to break tackles and make extra yardage after the reception. Derek is not a speed-burner, but he is very difficult to bring down in the openfield. He is going to be our go-to wide receiver this season.”
Valdin added that Howard may have been a more highly recruited athlete if he were considered a track-type sprinter.
“Derek is a real big-time performer. Memphis is getting a player that can contribute to that program. If he were someone who could run a (4.40) 40-yard dash instead of being a (4.55) guy he would be recruited by everyone, but there are a lot of players in the Hall of Fame who weren’t super fast, but when you got them on the field they could play football. I think that Derek is every bit as good as James Butler who was with us last season and he signed on with UL-Lafayette.”
Memphis not only has a verbal commitment from Howard, but they also have verbal commitments from Ellender High School in Houma wide receiver Jermaine Johnson and Clinton High School quarterback Stevie Douglas.
Johnson nominated for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award
Tulsa wide receiver/return specialist Damaris Johnson is on the inaugural Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award. The new award is designed to recognize versatile, high-level performances in major college football and help preserve the legacy of one of the most well known names in college and pro football history.
Many consider Hornung as the best all-around player in the history of college and pro football. He played every position in the backfield during his career at Notre Dame and he was the winner of the 1956 Heisman Trophy playing quarterback.
He also punted, kicked, played defensive back and returned kicks at Notre Dame.
Hornung was a member of the celebrated Hornung/Jimmy Taylor backfield for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960’s that won four NFL championships. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi called Hornung, “the most versatile man ever to play the game of football.”
Johnson, who was a standout football player at Destrehan High School, now owns two of the top four single-season all-purpose yardage totals in Conference USA history, including an NCAA-best 2,693 yards last season. The 5-7, 170 pound athlete has excelled at Tulsa at wide receiver, halfback and as a return man for punts and kickoffs.
He has caught 131 passes for 1,874 yards and 13 touchdowns at Tulsa and Johnson has averaged 25.1 yards per return as a kickoff artist and 11.6 yards per return as a punt returner.
The former Louisiana Championship Game MVP in 2007 caught 81 passes for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Destrehan and he earned 2nd team All-Conference USA honors last season for Tulsa. He averaged 224.4 all-purpose yards last season to lead the nation in 2009.
Johnson totaled 2,475 all-purpose yards in 2008 and 2,693 all-purpose yards last season. With 5,168 yards of all-purpose yards in two seasons he needs 2,405 yards to tie the Conference USA all-time leader in DeAngelo Williams when he excelled as a running back/return man for the Memphis (2002-2005).
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