St. Charles Parish continues to produce world-class athletes, and at the recent National Football League Draft that became even more evident, as former Hahnville High School Quarterback Dawan Landry made the jump to the National Football League following a standout career at Georgia Tech. Taken in the fifth round, Landry was selected 146 overall.
Landry was selected to play safety for the Ravens. If Landry lands a starting job in the secondary, he would play along side of St. Rose native Ed Reed, who is beginning his fifth year in the NFL. Reed played at Destrehan High School and went on to shine at the University of Miami.
"Everybody knows Ed; it is a real honor for me to be playing with Ed, especially a guy who has been a NFL Defensive Player of the Year," said Landry on the phone from McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., the site of the Ravens training camp.
In addition to playing with Ed Reed, Landry noted the all-star cast of defensive players that the Baltimore Raven retain: "I'm excited to play with Ray Lewis, too. They are a great defensive team."
It is a defense that also boasts Peter Boulware, Samari Rolle and Deion Sanders; it is a defense that brought home the Super Bowl trophy in 2001. With this type of competition, Landry has his work cut out for him to make the starting lineup.
"I didn't come into the draft with any expectations. I knew it wasn't in my hands. I just played my college career," said Landry, adding that the NFL Combine that rates the players before the draft was tedious and a little boring. "It was kind of stressful," as his future was being determined through multitude of tests, from intelligence to the 40-yard dash.
Landry moved from offense to defense in the spring of his redshirt freshman year. "I like playing defense more because I wasn't getting that much time as a quarterback," he said. "It's part of the competitive nature of me. I just like being on the field playing."
As for difference between NFL and college, Landry said that there was many. "It is a real nice atmosphere. The guys are cool, real team oriented," adding that he has not fallen prey to the pranks that veterans are prone to pull on rookies.
"This is the highest level of competition that anyone plays at in football. So, everybody is the best at their position. The game is a lot quicker. There are a lot of things being thrown at you. You have pick things a lot quicker," said Landry, as he reflected on his brief stint so far as a NFL player.
Regardless of the challenges and the increased caliber of players, being drafted in the NFL is the completion of a childhood fantasy for Landry. "It is a dream come true. I'm still in awe. I walk into the locker room, seeing the older guys, and want to walk up and ask them for their autograph," he said.
Landry said that so many in the area were responsible for him fulfilling his dream. "My family, my friends, my coaches and my experiences growing up the helped me get to this point."
|Dawan Landry has left a trail of stars behind him, from the Hahnville High School to Georgia Tech, and, finally, to the roster of the Baltimore Ravens.|