Just days after playing for Destrehan in the Class 5A state championship game, two senior Wildcat stars saw further great rewards for their hard work—each got to live a dream.
Running back Kyle Edwards and defensive tackle Noah Taliancich each signed their collegiate letters of intent on the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period, with Edwards headed to join the Alabama Crimson Tide and Taliancich taking on the colors of the Tulane Green Wave.
“It’s just a special day,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “And these guys are special. They’ve done great things. This year showed testament to their hard work … they’re great kids and both guys are the epitome of student athlete. They deserve all the accolades they get. They’ve earned it.”
Edwards rushed for 1,851 yards and 27 touchdowns this season, his first as Destrehan’s primary back after sharing carries with current LSU rusher John Emery in 2018. He added more than 200 yards through the air along with another touchdown on receptions.
He said Alabama felt like home upon his visits to the school. A big selling point for him was the drive he saw from Tide players and others within the program, a trait he takes pride in for himself.
“You see the work ethic and the leadership. I work out each and every day, train hard every day … I push myself,” Edwards said. “And up there, it’s always guys working their hardest, training their hardest. Every time I go up there, I have the greatest feeling about it. It feels like a family.”
The powerful running back said the Alabama coaching staff liked his downhill running style.
“They like that I’m not scared of anyone … I’ll run straight through ‘em,” Edwards said.
Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said during the 2018 season that while Emery was grabbing the headlines as one of the nation’s top recruits, he felt strongly that he had another SEC bound back in Edwards. The veteran coach looked like a prophet at signing day.
“He started in the shadow of John and just kept working hard, playing hard and waiting for his time,” Robicheaux said. “It’s just the type of kid he is. And look where he is now … headed to the University of Alabama.”
Of course, living in LSU country, Edwards is hearing it from his friends a bit after his decision to sign with the Tigers’ archrival.
“All my friends are teasing me about it, saying ‘Just go to LSU’ or ‘OK, I’ll root for you … but not Alabama,” Edwards quipped.
Taliancich, meanwhile, fulfilled more than just a goal of signing to play Division I ball: he is a lifelong fan of Tulane, and now he’ll be a member of the Green Wave.
“He told us as a sophomore he wanted to go to Tulane,” Robicheaux said. “And his dream came true.”
Taliancich said he grew up going with his family to see the Wave play every Saturday at the Superdome. Now he’ll wear those colors at Yulman Stadium, where the Green Wave play now.
“It’s a family thing. I was kind of born into it,” Taliancich said. “A lot of people are born into LSU families. I was born into a Tulane family … I’ve been a fan through thick and thin and stuck with them. Now they’re looking good and I have the chance to play with the Green Wave.”
Taliancich wreaked havoc up front for Destrehan this season, his first as a defensive tackle. In previous seasons, he played end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. He projects to play end for Tulane, though the ability he’s displayed to produce in other spots was also attractive to the Wave staff.
“Depending on how I develop … they know if I put on weight I can shift over, and if I drop weight they can shift me to another spot. They know I can do it, it’s on film already,” he said.
They also like his competitive fire.
“They know I’ll lay it on the line for the cause,” Taliancich said. “They like the family I come from, the program I come from … they want winners and they know I don’t like losing.”
He recorded 40 tackles, 10.5 of those for loss and had 6.5 sacks this season. He recovered fumbles in each of his final two games, the Class 5A semifinal and championship game.
Taliancich said when Tulane head coach Willie Fritz made the scholarship offer, he knew right then he would be accepting.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “I thank God for blessing me with it.”