Davante’ Bourque was initially skeptical about his move from Class A Gueydan, where he rushed for more than 2,000 yards last fall en route to leading the state in scoring.
It wasn’t because Bourque was afraid of the increased competition (that actually excited him), but because in the move from the Wing-T offense to the spread attack the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder might have to switch from running back to wide receiver.
It turns out that wasn’t the case – and head football coach Tommy Tate is happy with the results.
Though they have dropped their last two, Crowley moved out to a 5-2 start and earned a spot among the top teams in the Class 3A rankings. In their 55-54 shootout loss to Westlake two weeks ago, Bourque laid down an unforgettable 360-yard, six-touchdown night, moving him over 1,500 yards for his junior campaign.
“I’m just trying to run hard, that’s my only goal,” Bourque said. “I was worried about getting adjusted to this new offense, but the coaches have helped me through the transition and I’m doing well. I feel like I am getting more comfortable every week.”
His numbers rank among the best from any 2012 prospect in the state, good reason for college coaches to turn their attention to Crowley. So far schools from the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Big 10 and ACC have sent written letters and bundles of mail.
Though coaches can no longer extend scholarship papers to a prospect during the fall of his junior year, some schools have even passed along verbal offers.
“Tennessee has gotten in touch with the coaches just to say that they are interested enough to go ahead and offer the scholarship now, even though it can’t be official until it is on paper,” Bourque said. “They said that I could come in and be an impact player in the SEC, which is crazy to even think about.
“LSU, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Missouri and SMU are the other teams showing the most interest. I get tons of mail from those schools. It’s crazy to me how all of it keeps coming and these coaches already want to get after me. I guess I just didn’t expect the process to get this hectic this early.”
Between playing football in the fall and basketball the rest of the year, Bourque hasn’t begun touring campus facilities, something he hopes to take advantage of next summer when he has more free time.
“I have been doing AAU basketball stuff a lot and that always keeps my schedule full,” said Bourque, who won his second AAU national title this past summer. “I think the summer before my senior year is one that is pretty important in terms of figuring this football recruiting stuff out, so I’m going to be more serious about looking at schools then.”
Headed into his recruitment process, Bourque has his mind almost set. Though he doesn’t have an offer, Bourque envisions that the arrival of an LSU scholarship will push him close to pulling the trigger.
“I’ve been a longtime fan of LSU, going back as far as I’ve watched college football,” he said. “I was a big fan of Justin Vincent when they won the first National Championship. Ever since then I’ve had LSU at the top of my list, so now that the time to start looking at schools is here, I have to remember that.
“I also have a baby sister in Crowley that I don’t want to get too far away from. My family means a lot, and while I want to get away from Crowley, I don’t want to get too far away. Baton Rouge would be just fine.”
While his unofficial visit to the LSU campus this weekend will be his first this season, it won’t be Bourque’s introduction to Tiger Stadium. Last October, he was in the stands for LSU’s 31-10 win over Auburn.
“That game was awesome because LSU really put it on them,” he said. “I hope it goes down like that again this weekend against Alabama. I expect it will be really packed, and everyone is telling me I need to get down and be part of it. I’ll probably just drive in Saturday morning.”
Though his vision was to continue running the ball in high school, the LSU coaches have a different direction for Bourque.
“They like me as a wide receiver, which I have no problems with,” he said. “Not many schools are recruiting me at running back. Most like me as a wide receiver or safety. I can’t be mad, because I have had my time at running back. I’ve got good hands and already do a lot of work catching out of the backfield now, so I’m slowly moving in that direction.”