Nick Rome transferred in from Calvary a year ago and quickly made his mark on the team. A wide receiver at Calvary, Rome took over the starting quarterback job in 2007 and never looked back. After catching over 50 passes as a sophomore, it took a little while to get adjusted to the position. "That was his first year at quarterback," Coach Laird explained. "Nick is throwing the ball extremely well this spring." Rome is also a baseball prospect, but Coach Laird doesn't think that will stop him from pursuing football. "He might play both sports if he could find the right school," Coach Laird. "He will get a lot of looks for football because of his arm and because he is a good athlete."
Clint Clement, a transfer from E.D. White, will suit up for the first time as a Bearcat in 2008. Clement, the brother of LSU signee Chase Clement, is a 6'1" 210 lb. athlete that can play all over the field. "Clint will be our starting center and he will also start at defensive end," said Laird. "He was kind of a surprise because we didn't know a whole lot about him. He has certainly lived up to the billing. He is a heck of an athlete." Clement played both ways at E.D. White as well.
Perhaps the best prospect at Ruston High is Javontay Crowe. The 6'1" safety ran a 4.48 in the 40 during the spring and bench pressed 305 pounds while squatting 420. "Javontay has a lot going for him," said Laird. "He is a hard worker, an aggressive football player, and he has what it takes to play in the secondary at the next level."
Jon'al White could be the most talented player for the Bearcats. White had a breakout sophomore season but didn't have the success that he wanted in 2007. "Jon'al has as much potential as anyone," explained Laird about the 6'1" 260 lb. Defensive Lineman. "He has had an outstanding spring and he worked really hard. He can be as good as he wants." White played defensive end last season, but will likely play inside this year. Coach Laird is experimenting with a 3-4 look and White has done well at the nose guard position this spring.
Cole Richardson is likely to be Rome's top target. "Cole has really improved," said Laird. "He has a lot of potential because he can get open and he has the best hands on the team." Richardson will play tight end for the Bearcats and will also play split end when Coach Laird goes with three and four receiver sets. Richardson is 6'1" 195 lbs. and ran a 4.65 in the 40 this spring.
Derrick Fields has the size to play offensive line in college. "Derrick started for us last year and did a good job," said Laird. "He gained a little weight in the off-season and needs to lose about 20 pounds. He is a good kid and he will work hard to get in shape. Fields is 6'2" and played at 310 lbs. last season.
Keep an eye out for Ruston in 2008, they have a lot of senior talent and could turn in a really strong season.