When Neville High School standout John Diarse gave LSU his verbal commitment in March, the 6-1 215-pounder was trying to accomplish more than just deciding on a college.
Because he was able to get his decision out of the way early, Diarse had a chance to focus on his final prep season on the gridiron. The four-star prospect has been able to guide his team to a perfect 13-0 record and a chance at a second consecutive 4A State Championship, against Edna Karr, who Neville defeated 27-6 in the title game a season ago.
Heading into the game, Diarse has accumulated some pretty impressive statistics. Playing primarily at quarterback for Neville, Diarse has thrown for 1,552 yards and 17 touchdowns, in addition to another 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. While he definitely had a season to remember, Diarse said the most gratifying thing for him was to see his teammates step up and become the team he knew they could be. As for his final game in a Neville uniform, Diarse plans to come out victorious when the clock reaches zero on Friday night.
"It means a lot to play in this game," said Diarse. "I'm very pleased with what our team has done. We lost a lot of people from our team last season. Everybody thought we wouldn't be able to make it back to the Dome with the loss of all of our seniors. We came out and proved everybody wrong. It took a lot of hard work and effort for us to get to this point, and I'm proud of my teammates.
"It really means a lot to be the senior quarterback on this team. Win or lose it's going to be a great game. But, I definitely plan on winning."
Aside from preparing for his final high school game, Diarse has also had a chance in recent weeks to get everything straight with LSU, where he plans to enroll early to go through spring practice.
"Things are good with LSU," said Diarse. "I've been talking to the coaches a lot lately. I've been trying to get some more info on what is going to be happening in the next few weeks. I have about a week free before I have to start getting prepared to go to San Antonio (for the Army All-American game). After that, I have to get to LSU. That is what I have been talking to the coaches about recently."
Head Coach Les Miles recently made the trip to Monroe to meet with the family of Diarse. While he wasn't able to be present for the meeting, Diarse said Miles answered every question that his family had about LSU.
"Coach Miles came down last week and visited with my family," said Diarse. "They had a nice time, but I didn't get to go. They asked him all of the questions and he answered them. They had a really nice time getting to meet each other."
Being able to enroll early is something that Diarse is looking forward to. He explained that the ability to go through a spring practice in Baton Rouge would put him ahead of the learning curve when the 2013 season finally rolls around. Also, which position he will play in college is not a question for Diarse, as it has been made clear by the coaching staff where he will line up for the Tigers.
"I am looking forward to getting there early and getting started on everything," explained Diarse. "I am excited to get there in the spring and show those guys what I can do. I am definitely going in there as a receiver. It will be great to get in early to soak everything up and be ahead of the rest of my class."
Upon arriving at LSU, Diarse will be looking to make a splash in the depth chart. The LSU staff has told him to be prepared when he arrives because the speed of the game will be his hardest adjustment. Diarse explained that he has confidence in himself and feels as though he will get on the field in Tiger Stadium early in his career.
"They told me to be ready for anything," said Diarse. "They told me to be ready because it is a different game. The speed will be different, so they just want me to be prepared for every situation. It's the plan that I will contribute early. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I think I can put myself in the best position to do that."
Diarse also says he has spoken with teammate Laurence "Hootie" Jones about possibly playing together at the next level. While the talks have not gotten too in-depth, Diarse said he is just trying to give Jones advice at this point. He said whatever Jones decides to do with his future could be fun for the duo, regardless of if it means they play on the same team in college.
"I don't pressure him about it," said Diarse. "Everyone else does that for me. I try to give him advice, but he is kind of quiet about where he wants to go. It would be great to play with him at the next level, but it would also be fun to play against him. If it happens, it happens."
Diarse talks 4A title game, LSU future
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