Combine: Desire Street Academy

Desire Street Academy, the school originally located in the ninth ward of New Orleans, was relocated to a camp (owned by the University of Florida) on the Choctawhatchee Bay in the Florida panhandle after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the school. Each game required a four-hour drive back to the New Orleans area to compete. The team eventually found their way back to a new home in Baton Rouge.

Former New Orleans Saints and Florida Gator quarterback Danny Wuerrfel is the director of development for what was the transient school and located the property in Florida.

Some of the young men's families were scattered. Many lost loved ones and saw things at places like the Superdome, Convention Center and even highway overpasses that no child should ever experience. That's where the man known simply as Coach Mickey comes into the picture. Coach Mickey Joseph was the football coach and history teacher. He became a parent to these young men.

Joseph, originally from the New Orleans area and a Parade All-American, went on to an illustrious career at the University of Nebraska where he was a four-year letterman at quarterback. Joseph ran coach Tom Osborne's option offense and became one of the top 50 rushers in Nebraska history. All four years they were ranked in the top 20 by the Associated Press.

The former Cornhusker went on to coach at Nicholls State and Alabama State before landing the head coaching role in his hometown of New Orleans.

Coach Mickey's 2005 team played four games. The four-hour drive back to New Orleans became bigger than football as they also became family reunions. The Lions went 1-3.

The 2006 team was back at their new home in Baton Rouge and went 7-5 with a state championship play-off appearance. Coach Mickey Joseph took some time this week to talk with us about some of his players who will participate at the All-American Combine in New Orleans April 21.

DeAngelo Peterson:

"He's a receiver, strong safety," Joseph said. "He is being recruited by major D-1 schools like LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss and Arizona. He's got a couple of (verbal) offers already. LSU, Auburn, Arizona, and Louisiana Tech, but I like to see them in writing."

"He's 6-4, 195-pounds. He had 43 catches for 720 yards and eight touchdowns; 36 tackles, seven for a loss, two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown on defense."

"He's a big-time player. He can play a number of positions. I think he could easily beef up and be a defensive end. He's good in space, meaning he's good going to attack the ball. He's a good player."

"I think they are recruiting him as an athlete. He's very athletic, and he's physical. DeAngelo is a team player. He's going to lead us. You know it's hard for any teenager to lead, but he's trying."

Freddie Smooth:

"A big offensive tackle/defensive tackle," Joseph said. "He's about 6-5 305-pounds. For that size he's very athletic. Very physical at the point of attack. Freddie has basically the same people offering him. Auburn just offered him the other day, and he just left LSU on an unofficial Tuesday. Freddie's best football is ahead of him. I think Freddie is probably going to be a D-tackle in college."

"He's quiet. He doesn't say much, but he's a silent assassin when he gets on the field. He's going to make it happen. He played limited defense last year, so he probably only had 20 tackles, six for losses. I think he had two or three sacks."

Lavar Edwards:

"Lavar is a big kid," Joseph explained. "He's 6-5 270-pounds. He's a kid that can play every sport. He plays football. He's a double-double-double in basketball. He throws a shot about 46-47 feet, and he's a kid that hits homeruns in baseball. So, to be a kid that big, he can play any sport."

"He's the one that I think has the most upside of anybody because he can do it all. I wish he would get a little meaner. He's just such a nice kid," Joseph laughingly added.

"I play him at tight end, and I also play him at fullback. I see him at tight end at the next level."

"Louisiana Tech offered him, and Oklahoma is going to offer him. LSU likes him, Arizona likes him. Florida State contacted me about him."

Nick Schartin:

"Big Nick is 6-5, 320-pounds," Joseph said. "He plays left tackle. Good feet, heavy hands. When he puts his hands on you, you're going to know it. He's a coachable kid with a great personality."

"The same schools are interested in him. Louisiana Tech offered him."

Rasheed Johnson:

"Rasheed is an explosive linebacker," Joseph said. "A little undersized, but had over 130 tackles last year. He had about five sacks. He's a go-getter. He's a ball hog, 5-11 220-pounds. I see him staying at 'Mike' Linebacker."

"He's quiet. He doesn't say much. You never know he's in the room. On the field, I have to take him out of drills. He's a drill killer. He makes every tackle. You can't block him. If I blow that whistle, and made them get at each other, they will go until it's over. He's an assassin too."

"He's got the same schools, Louisiana Tech and Arizona offers, but interest from other schools like LSU."

Tim Jackson:

"Tim is a speedy kid, 10.5 100 meters, 21.8 200 meters," Joseph stated. "Don't have much film on him. He didn't have much in stats last year, but he's a kid that's going to play corner/receiver. I think he's going to be projected as a corner."

"He's a real good kid. Comes from a solid family. All these kids are doing great since (Hurricane) Katrina."

"My kids are not like other kids that still live with their mom. My kids live in dormitories and things of that sort. My kids are still out there. We're in Baton Rouge, and they are originally from New Orleans. Some of their people haven't moved back, so to go to school here they've got to stay in dormitories."

"Tim is 5-10, 170-pounds. He's got letters from Auburn, Arizona and Louisiana Tech. It's just a matter of seeing him more on film."

Ronald Clark:

"Ronald is 6-4, 282-pounds and a solid offensive guard," Joseph said. "Smart kid, picks up things real well. Kind of a mild personality at times. Two-year starter for us. Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette are interested in Ronald."

Stay with as we continue to track all the prospects at Desire Street Academy throughout the 2007 season.

To track all the results from the All-American Combines, click here.

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