"LSU is definitely the place I wanted to go," Ricard said on WSKR Radio. "I wanted to take it slow for a while and visit some other campuses...but the whole time LSU was the place I wanted to come."
Ricard threw for over 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns last season as a junior for the Warriors, but things did not start out so well for Amite last season. The defending Class 3A champions were embarrassed in a 27-0 loss to Jewel Sumner in the 2000 Tangilena Jamboree in which Ricard did not have a good performance. "I was a little nervous and I could not get anything going," said Ricard.
He struggled through the two-quarter scrimmage as he missed several open receivers down field. "I learned a lot from that game. I studied that game film and saw the mistakes I made."
Ricard would struggle for the first two weeks of the season, but in Week 3, there was a coming out party thrown by Lester – literally. The 2-0 Warriors traveled to take on 5A Hammond for a good old fashion Tangipahoa Parish brawl. Ricard completed 12 of 14 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns in the Warriors 51-0 whitewashing of the Tornadoes.
"I just felt more relaxed. In those other games I was just trying too hard," Ricard said. That game was just the beginning for young Lester, who would shine in Amite's big home win in Week 9 over No. 1-ranked Independence. He also went on to throw for four touchdowns in Amite's overtime playoff loss to Westlake.
Currier believes that Ricard's potential is unlimited. "His arm strength is phenomenal. He has great sight and range in the pocket," says the coach.
Ricard is considered by many one of the top quarterback prospects in the state for the upcoming 2001 season, but he knows that he has to continue to work hard to better himself as a quarterback.
"He makes things happen," Amite coach Don Currier told Tiger Rag. "When guys are covered, he still manages to find a way to complete a pass."
"I really want to work on my speed and footing. When I look back on films of myself, those are the things that I need to improve the most."
Ricard runs a 4.60 in the 40-yard dash and has gotten faster since his freshman days. "He has gotten faster each year and I fully expected him to be even faster this year," added Currier.
Ricard says was offered a scholarship from LSU at LSU's Junior Day held in late February. "I had a chance to be around some of the top players in the state as well as the nation. I plan on going to the LSU Camp this summer, too."
He was also recruited by Clemson, Auburn, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Ricard definitely likes the long pass down the field. Over half of his 20 touchdowns came from 35 yards or more last season. "It's not by choice. I just try and find the open receiver and let it rip."
He credits his early success to his family and his coach. "My family has always been there for me. My dad taught me everything. We started playing football when I was a baby. He makes sure that I am where I am supposed to be."
Ricard credits his competitive edge to his mother. "I get my toughness from her. She has made me the competitor I am today."
Ricard says he also learned a lot from another local product, Jarouzski Lee, an all-state quarterback who played at neighboring St. Helena Central.
"I can remember playing with ‘Gerald' and his dad. We learned a lot as youngsters playing together." As we have seen so many times over the years, many signal callers are labeled as an athlete first and a quarterback second. But Currier says that is not the case in Lester's situation.
"Lester is a pure quarterback," he stresses. "He has a big league arm and will only get better as a college player."
Ricard has his core grades and needs just two points on his ACT entering his senior year.