Mom Knows Best: Eddie Lacy

In order to locate the town of Geismar, La., one would need to squint when looking at a road map. It's located on the Miss. River about a 40 minute drive south of Baton Rouge and an hour drive east to New Orleans. In 2005 after the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, Wanda Lacy and her family had to move from their New Orleans area home in Gretna.

Mrs. Lacy tried to keep her high school freshman son, Eddie, enrolled in school, but there were not enough certified teachers to properly run the high school Eddie was attending.

With the city in disarray, a move for the Lacy family was imminent.

"We moved to the Baton Rouge area thanks to the 'share your home' plan set up for Katrina victims," says Mrs. Lacy. "We had to find jobs and then saved to get our own place. We had to rebuild our lives. It was difficult for the kids."

The Lacys settled in Geismar where Eddie attended Dutchtown High School as a sophomore, junior and senior.

"It was different," said Mrs. Lacy. "Eddie was accustomed to New Orleans, and Geismar is very rural."

At Dutchtown, Eddie Lacy went on to have an outstanding football career, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in both his junior and senior seasons. That brought lots of attention from big time football programs across the country.

"Eddie was excited about FSU, so they called a lot at first. Oregon called, Michigan kept sending letters, Ohio State called frequently, and there was someone who even called from Chicago," Mrs. Lacy said.

Although receiving heavy interest from top schools, some programs backed off Eddie due to lackluster grades.

"The child can play football. There's no question about that, but he just wasn't doing what he needed to do in the classroom," said Mrs. Lacy.

Due to Lacy trying to play catch up and make the grades he needed to qualify academically, his in-home visits were limited.

"We hosted Alabama, Tennessee, Southern Miss, and Ole Miss," said Wanda Lacy.

What satisfied her with the eventual winner for Eddie's signature on National Signing Day, the University of Alabama, was they stayed with her son despite the classroom issues.

"They were very encouraging of Eddie. While they acknowledged there was a lot of work to be done, they said it was doable with hard work and encouraged Eddie to step up," Mrs. Lacy said.

"They wanted what was in the best interest of Eddie, the student first, and Eddie the football player second. The other schools recruiting Eddie told Eddie he needed to improve his grades, but were far less encouraging."

On Eddie's official visit to the Tuscaloosa campus, Wanda Lacy was further impressed with what they had to offer her son.

"It was awesome," says Wanda Lacy. "They were thorough about the academic information. The No. 1 thing I want for Eddie is for him to pursue and obtain a degree."

"They were very forthcoming at the Q&A session. Eddie expressed interest in the Criminology program, and a professor from that department gave us his number if we had any further questions. It was a very positive feeling we got from Alabama."

Wanda and her husband were convinced Eddie had his mind made up to attend Alabama, and then came a late official visit to the University of Tennessee the weekend before National Signing Day.

"Eddie came back from Tennessee and told us UT was his choice," she said. It took my husband and I by surprise."

"We were a little concerned if the new coaching staff had had a chance to gel and weren't as familiar with the academics at the University. But they assured Eddie he would have an academic mentor, and he felt comfortable in the decision he made."

His parents went to Eddie's announcement on signing day. Standing beside their son for moral support, Mr. Lacy thought his son had picked up the wrong hat.

"He never told us," Wanda Lacy explained. "My husband and I thought he had made up his mind to go to Tennessee. So when he picked up the Alabama hat, his father tried to correct him, but that wasn't the case."

In the end Eddie decided Alabama was where he wanted to be, despite a loaded depth chart at the running back position.

"He told us he was picked Alabama for the challenge it presented," Mrs. Lacy said. "Although Alabama had some good running backs he didn't want to take the easy road."

"The last season I think Eddie was playing about at 90-percent of what he's capable of, and he knew it. The opportunity to accept the challenge and step up and get better is what made him change his mind. We were very happy with his decision."

Eddie Lacy still has some work to do before he begins his new journey. This summer he's taking a couple of correspondence courses in order to qualify academically. If things go according to plan he'll leave Geismar for Tuscaloosa on the 25th of June.

"This is Eddie chance to start over again. I told him to keep God first in his life, and he will be successful as he matures into an adult," says Mrs. Lacy.

As it gets closer to fall the Lacy family is looking forward to road trips on Saturdays to see Eddie play.

"My daughter already wants us to move there (Tuscaloosa)," Wanda Lacy says while laughing. "We'll be at games, but it's too soon to relocate. Maybe down the line."

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