Jai Eugene Jr. knew he needed to take his game to the next level to help lead Destrehan to the state championship victory that had eluded the school in several deep playoff runs in recent seasons.
The work he put in was clear from the moment Destrehan took the field for its preseason scrimmage and continued to reinforce from there – his accuracy and precision improved, his confidence as a passer greater – and on the biggest stage of the season, that hard work paid off in a big way as he led the Wildcats on a go-ahead touchdown drive in their Division I non-select state championship victory over Ruston.
Eugene highlights of five Destrehan players to be named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A All-State team, the quarterback earning Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Senior offensive lineman Landry Cannon, senior wide receiver Daniel Blood, junior defensive end/outside linebacker Kolaj Cobbins and senior cornerback Kevin Adams join him as All-State selections after one of the truly special seasons in Destrehan history. The Wildcats went unbeaten, earned that state crown and were all but unchallenged in the regular season, all but finishing games off prior to halftime.
Eugene passed for 1,898 yards and 23 touchdowns against just three interceptions this season. He was dangerous as ever with his legs, rushing for 726 yards and 13 touchdowns, that last stat including his 29-yard, eventual game-winning touchdown dash in Destrehan’s 17-10 state championship win over Ruston. His play helped add a very explosive element to the offense, which has long taken care of the football and suffocated foes with the run – that remained so this season, only with greater offensive production in total.
He recently signed officially to play with the Tulane Green Wave, as did one of his protectors. Landry Cannon was a force for Destrehan on the offensive line, the 6’3, 330-pounder dominating opponents in both pass protection and in the run game. Destrehan rushed for more than 2,800 yards and 41 touchdowns this season.
Kevin Adams makes it a trio of Wildcats headed to Tulane. Adams was a ballhawk for Destrehan throughout his entire prep career and had a knack for coming up biggest in the team’s most important games. Adams’ interception for a touchdown in the state semifinals keyed Destrehan’s victory over Westgate, and he was voted Outstanding Defensive Player in the state championship win over Ruston, a game he excelled against both run and pass equally.
Daniel Blood was one of the most consistent wide receivers in the state all season long. But the value he added on special teams was immense and he was named to the All-State squad as the state’s best returner. The Missouri signee returned four punts for touchdowns this season, a state all the more impressive considering he and Destrehan’s starters were resting by halftime of the first 10 games of the season.
Cobbins will return next season and is one of the state’s most sought-after recruits. He had 11 sacks, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, 62.5 total tackles and 16 tackles for loss. He hurried opposing passers 16 times. He presented a scary matchup for opposing offenses and made numerous game-changing plays throughout the season.
Destrehan’s Shane Lee was named honorable mention as well after a tremendous season that saw him score 17 times and rush for nearly 1,200 yards.
The full team and award winners can be viewed below.
2022 LSWA CLASS 5A ALL-STATE
- Pos Player school Ht. Wt. Cl
- WR Pearce Russell Benton 6-0 185 Sr.
- WR Shelton Sampson Jr. Catholic 6-4 185, Sr.
- WR Dkhai Joseph East St. John 5-11 165 Jr.
- OL Mason Skipper Ruston 6-1 305 Sr.
- OL Bryce Godfrey John Curtis 6-3 275 Jr.
- OL Brandon Spincer Edna Karr 6-2 275 Sr.
- OL Landry Cannon Destrehan 6-3 330 Sr.
- OL Troy Smith St. Augustine 6-5 290 Sr.
- QB Daniel Beale Catholic 6-2 195 Jr.
- RB Carldell Sirmons Ouachita 5-7 158 Jr.
- RB Jaylan White Parkway 5-9 180 Sr.
- RB Deantre Jackson Edna Karr 5-8 180 Sr.
- PK Aeron Burrell Parkway 6-2 165 Jr.
- ATH Jai Eugene Destrehan 6-0 190 Sr.
- Pos Player school Ht. Wt. Cl
- DL Christian Davis Ruston 6-4 300 Sr.
- DL Ashley Williams Zachary 6-4 220 Sr.
- DL Jonathan Bax Edna Karr 6-3 230 Sr.
- DL Brenden LeBlanc Brother Martin 6-1 265 Sr.
- LB Jadon Mayfield Ruston 6-0 222 Jr.
- LB Chauncey Lee West Monroe 5-9 190 Sr.
- LB Justin Horne John Curtis 6-1 200 Sr.
- LB Kolaj Cobbins Destrehan 6-3 200 Jr.
- DB Jordan Matthews Woodlawn 6-1 185 Sr.
- DB Kylin Jackson Zachary 6-3 200 Sr.
- DB Michael Richard Edna Karr 5-9 160 Sr.
- DB Kevin Adams Destrehan 5-10 170 Sr.
- P William Hudlow Jesuit 6-0 215 Sr.
- KR Daniel Blood Destrehan 6-0 175 Sr.
- ATH Ashton Stamps Rummel 6-0 170 Sr.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JAI EUGENE, DESTREHAN
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JUSTIN HORNE, JOHN CURTIS
COACH OF THE YEAR: JARROD BAUGH, RUSTON
Drew Dronet, Sam Houston; Jamaal Levi, Barbe; Kandyn Cordova, Barbe; Jamorion Jackson, Sam Houston; Josh Colvin, Ruston; Ahmad Breaux, Ruston, Nate Johnson, Ruston; Jordan McWain, Ruston; Pierson Parent, Dutchtown; Joe Bordelon, Alexandria; Jeremiah Jeffers-Wright, Alexandria; Luke Guidry, Slidell; Aaron Jackson, Ruston; Daxton Chavez, Airline; Amyrion Mingo, Alexandria; Jaylin Johnson, Alexandria; Chantz Babineaux, Carencro; Koby Young, Holy Cross; Royal Gray, East St. John; Nate Green, West Monroe; Jacob Johnson, Catholic; Ethan Fields, Dutchtown; Roy Brackins III, Woodlawn; Noah Miller, Ouachita; Kam Robinson, Captain Shreve; B.J. Meche, Acadiana; Akicita Ardoin, Southside; Israel Jolivette, Carencro; Khayree Lee, John Ehret; Lawson Champagne, Covington; Peyton Polk, Haughton; Ean Rodrigue, Thibodaux; Jaden Osborne, Ruston; A.J. Samuel, Edna Karr; Yashua Mitchell, East St. John; Royal Falgout, John Ehret; Chantz Caesar, Carencro; Gray Walters, Benton; Ben Taylor Airline; Antonio Ford, West Ouachita; Dyson Fields, Ruston; Tyler Rhodes, Haughton; Marlon Prout, John Curtis; Torey Lambert, Brother Martin; Shane Lee, Destrehan; George Martin, East St. John; Kevan Williams, Acadiana; Aidan Corbello, Jesuit; Ashton Guilbeau, Lafayette High; Demarcus Singleton, Thibodaux; Jahiem Johnson, Hammond; AK Burrell, Dutchtown; Colin Rains, Haughton; Geordan Guidry, Ruston; Judd Rouyea, Catholic; Dylan Carpenter, St. Amant; D’Arrius Zeigler, West Monroe; Shane Payton-Hodges, St. Augustine; Brenden LeBlanc, Brother Martin; Dominic McKinley, Acadiana; Keevon George, Carencro; Charles Atkins, East Jefferson; Terrence Greene, Captain Shreve; Zheric Hill, Ruston; Brooks Brossette, Byrd; Connor Blank, Haughton; Landen Lee, Captain Shreve; Kristian Doyle, Ouachita; Dickson Agu, Dutchtown; Rylon Johnson, Brother Martin; Lucas Harrington, Southside; Bryce Blackwell, Covington; CJ Williams, West Monroe; Chaunky Lewis, Ouachita; Dashawn McBryde, Denham Springs; Bryson Jones, Southside; Corinthian Walters, Southwood; Jacob Johnson, St. Paul’s; Abram Murray, Byrd; John Chance, Captain Shreve; Will Fendley, Ruston; Russell Babineaux, Acadiana; Christian Jones, Byrd.