Home Sports-Free Parish athletes dot college rosters as fall camps open

Parish athletes dot college rosters as fall camps open

Russell Hedges

College football fall camps are in session and as usual former Bossier Parish prep standouts dot preseason rosters.

Perhaps the five most prominent are three quarterbacks — Northwestern State’s J.D.Almond, Central Arkansas’ Hayden Hildebrand and North Carolina’s Brandon Harris — Texas A&M center Colton Prater and Louisiana Tech running back Jarred Craft.

Harris, a former Parkway star, transferred from LSU during the offseason after three seasons.

He started every game for the Tigers in 2015 but was benched by then-head coach Les Miles early in the second game of last season. He graduated from LSU and is immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.

In 2013, Harris led Parkway to a 13-1 record and a runner-up finish in Class 5A.

Almond and Hildebrand are both fifth-year seniors.

Almond has started six games in his career, including the final three last season. He entered camp as the No. 1 quarterback.

Hildebrand led Central Arkansas to a 10-3 record, runner-up finish in the SLC and an FCS playoff berth in 2016. He passed for 3,051 yards, seventh-best in the FCS, and 19 touchdowns.

Prater moved from guard to center in the offseason. He has been named to the Rimington Award Watch List. The postseason award goes to the nation’s best center.

Prater started every game his freshman year last season, helping the Aggies go 8-5.

Craft, a senior, started all 14 games last season and rushed for 1,074 yards and nine TDs.

He helped Tech win Conference USA’s West Division. The Bulldogs finished 9-5 after losing to Western Kentucky 58-44 in the C-USA Championship Game.

Former Parkway star lineman Kameron Eloph is back for his junior year at Houston. Eloph started his career on the defensive line but moved to the offensive line last season. He appeared in six games and made four starts at left guard.

Another former Parkway standout, Keondre Widtee, is a redshirt freshman at Oklahoma State. He is battling to be the backup to senior quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Former Parkway star C.J. Morgan, a redshirt freshman, will be looking for playing time at defensive back for Mississippi State.

Former Haughton star Javonte Woodard (receiver) is a redshirt sophomore at Louisiana Tech.

Plain Dealing product De’Aumante and former Airline star Ja’terious Pouncey are senior defensive backs at Grambling State. They helped the Tigers win the SWAC title last season.

Bossier is well-represented at Southern Arkansas with senior running back Michael Nunnery (Airline), redshirt sophomore receiver Jared Lancaster (Parkway), redshirt freshman linebacker Bijan Mitchell (Plain Dealing), redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Keandre Dawson (Airline), redshirt sophomore kicker Jordan White (Benton) and true freshman receiver John Westmoreland (Benton).

Former Airline standout defensive back Xavier Johnson and running back Shun’Cee Thomas are sophomores at Ouachita Baptist.

Thomas was the Muleriders’ second-leading rusher last season with 611 yards and six TDs. Johnson played in nine games and was in on 40 tackles.

In addition to Westmoreland, several other 2017 graduates are beginning their college careers.

Keldrick Carper played a variety of positions on both sides of the ball at Plain Dealing. He enrolled at Texas A&M in the spring and is listed as a defensive back on the Aggies’ preseason roster.

Quarterback Connor Curry and receiver Tanner Ash, both Benton residents, played big roles on Evangel Christian’s District 1-5A and Division I state champion team last season.

Curry is now at Ouachita Baptist and Ash is at Northwestern State.

Airline defensive back Bryson Vance is also a freshman at Ouachita Baptist.

Some other 2016 standouts beginning careers are Haughton offensive lineman Josh Cooper (Mississippi State), Parkway defensive lineman Nick So’oto (Norteastern, Okla., State), Airline defensive back D’Kameron White (Northeastern, Okla., State), Airline linebacker Josh James (East Texas Baptist), Bossier defensive back Keimun Daniels (William Penn, Iowa, College), Haughton defensive end T’Marquise Winfield (Southwestern, Kans., College), Haughton defensive back Darren Hicks (Southwestern, Kans., College), Haughton receiver Josh Lister (Navarro, Texas, College) and Airline receiver Malik Britt (Mount Union, Ohio).

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.