Diarse Drawing Attention

Neville sophomore John Diarse is one of the top players in Louisiana, as evidenced by his thrilling performance in the Class 4A state title game last year vs. Franklinton. Read further to learn more about the sensational sophomore from Monroe.

Neville may be 1-4, but the Tigers remain one of the most-feared opponents in Louisiana. The defending Class 4A state champs begin a new season of sorts this weekend when district play opens versus Interstate 20 rival Ruston, and sophomore quarterback John Diarse will lead the Neville offense onto the field against the 2-3 Bearcats.

Last year in the Superdome, the Tigers defeated Franklinton in the 4A title game and Diarse - just a freshman at the time - was a major catalyst for Neville on that December Saturday evening, catching touchdown passes of 58 and 95 yards, respectively, from QB Taylor Burch.

With Burch gone to Louisiana Tech, Diarse has taken over at quarterback for Neville, which began this season 0-4. That record, however, is deceptive, as the Tigers lost those four contests to teams that have a combined record of 17-3, including two of the top programs in Class 5A (West Monroe and Ouachita).

"I've been getting used to the switch (from receiver to QB)," said Diarse (6-foot-1, 190). "It's not like I haven't played quarterback before; I played quarterback in junior high.

"I'd say that I like quarterback and wide receiver equal. If I had to choose for college, I'd say wide receiver, I guess. It's hard to go one-on-one (against a good WR) for a whole game."

How did it feel, as a freshman, to play an instrumental role in a state championship?

"I really prayed for that (a championship ring)," Diarse said. "I wanted one of those, and I said that I was going to get a ring. God put me in the position to where I had the opportunity to succeed."

Not surprisingly, the sophomore has taken a mature approach to Neville's slow start this fall.

"The four losses - it's like our team chemistry wasn't the same as last year. We had new players in new positions - guys who weren't used to getting playing time, but we've been getting our rhythm."

Diarse said that he's already drawn interest from Alabama, Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, and Northwestern State, as well as "a number of other schools."

As a freshman, Diarse was second on the team in receiving yards (22-513, 22.30 yards per catch) and he tied for the team lead in TD receptions (with six).

This year, he's 26-of-46 through the air for 329 yards and a TD. In addition, Diarse is second on the team in rushing with 301 yards on 42 carries (7.17 yards per carry) with another score.

He's even logged time on defense and picked off two passes, returning one interception for a 109-yard TD.

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