State talent puts on show in NFL

What a weekend it was to watch some of the best high school talent from the state of Louisiana compete in the NFL.

Former LSU star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who looks as though he may end up being the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2014, caught 12 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.

His teammate at LSU, Jarvis Landry, also had a big day as the former Lutcher High School standout caught eight passes for 99 yards for the Miami Dolphins.

Only rookies, Landry and Beckham lead their respective teams in receptions.

Another former Tiger, halfback Jeremy Hill, rushed for 148 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Hill’s back-up at LSU, former Hahnville High School running back Alfred Blue, rushed for 26 yards on eight carries and made a tackle on special teams for the Houston Texans.Damaris Johnson, who starred at Destrehan High School, caught two passes for 21 yards for the Titans in their 17-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Joining Beckham, Blue, Landry and Hill was another former Tiger who is the starting offensive guard for the Carolina Panthers – Trai Turner.

All of these players are playing significant roles on their respective teams as rookies in the NFL. Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was also the starting signal-caller for the Tennessee Titans before he was injured last week against the Houston Texans.Dupont selected to Hall of FameFormer West St. John High School head coach Laury Dupont was selected to the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame last week.

Dupont, who was the head coach at Thibodaux High School and Vandebilt Catholic, was best known for his 21-year stint at West St. John High School. At West St. John, he coached in seven state championship games and won three Class 2A state championships in 1998, 2003 and 2004.

Dupont coached NFL players Quinn Johnson and Tyson Jackson, and coached against some of the best players in River Parishes in Ed Reed, Laron Landry, Dawan Landry, Darius Reynaud, Jarvis Landry and Damaris Johnson.

Dupont also coached running back Elijah McGuire, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year, in his final coaching stint at Vandebilt Catholic.

Dupont says he will always remember the competition he faced and the coaches that made high school football in south Louisiana so special.

“I loved the competition and competing against the best players and coaches around,” Dupont said. “To go up against the likes of Lou Valdin, Mickey Roussel, Tim Detillier, Frank Monica and Stephen Robicheaux was  tough sledding, but it made our teams mentally and physically tougher when we got into the playoffs.

“You hear talk about different areas of the state that are better and maybe have better teams, but when you look at this little cut of land there is no better talent and coaching in Louisiana than right here along the river.”Dupont posted 229 wins during his high school coaching career.

He currently works for Thibodaux Regional Medical Center in promoting the different sports medicine features of the hospital, but he says if the right spot would ever open up, he would jump at the chance to get back into coaching.

“There is a lot of sacrifice in coaching…long hours, missing things with your family and the pressures of winning, and sometimes not just winning but winning championships, but once you have coached for as long as I have it is in your blood like a narcotic and you can’t get it out,” Dupont said. “I loved coaching, competing, the interaction with the players and coaches. Nothing can match the competitive nature of coaching, but I guess everyone who has ever coached says the same thing.

“I enjoy working for Thibodaux Regional, but that ‘rush’ each week on game day can’t be duplicated.”

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