Driving through the town of Breaux Bridge it is easy to see that the Tigers are the home team and fan favorite. That goes for Breaux Bridge High School and LSU.
All one has to do is look at the former Breaux Bridge players who have gone on to sign to play football with LSU since 1999 to reach that conclusion – a list that includes John Williams, Charles Alexander, Jessie Daniels, Jonathan Zenon and Domanick Davis.
There could be another player added to that list when signing day rolls around in 2011 as defensive tackle Quentin Thomas picked up an offer from LSU in September, the first month that coaching staffs are able to give scholarships to juniors in high school.
“It was pretty awesome to hear from the staff right away like that,” Thomas said. “I have been a fan of LSU for a long time, definitely for as long as I can remember. To have the home school come with the first offer, it was big for me.
“I told my mother as soon as I got the word from coach that they had offered, and she immediately starting calling everyone we knew. I think that by the end of the day, everyone in Breaux Bridge had heard about it. That’s just the kind of love people have for the Tigers.”
Thomas grabbed the coaching staff’s attention at LSU’s camp last summer, where he impressed during workouts with coach Brick Haley.
What Haley saw in Thomas, who finished his junior season with 52 tackles including 3.5 for a loss and three sacks, was a kid with an enormous of potential and a good looking body to go with it.
“He has real good speed coming off the ball and is very explosive,” said Breaux Bridge head coach Mike Mowad. “He has a tremendous wing span and that along with his athleticism makes him very tough to block.”
Haley would probably agree completely with Mowad’s assessment and six months later the Tiger defensive line coach is still in pursuit of the 6-foot-3, 265-pound prospect.
“I talk with Coach Haley a good bit, and we have a pretty strong relationship now,” Thomas said. “Last summer he told me that I could do big things, and he promised he would stay in touch. The fact that he followed up by getting me an offer and has since been pressing me to join the class, I know he is a straight-shooting guy.”
The fact that Haley is pushing for an early commitment from Thomas speaks volumes about how much he is coveted by the LSU staff.
“He still has a lot to learn but he has all of the tools,” said Mowad. “He’s young and still learning the position but he can be very disruptive. With his body he can get to the 300-pound range and look very slim there and keep his athleticism. He’s a good student too and won’t have any problems qualifying.”
With the Bayou Bengals having been the only school to have offered, Thomas said picking favorites – at this point in the process – is not tough to do.
“I am really feeling everything about LSU,” he said. “They have shown me a lot of love early on, and the Tigers are the hometown favorite. Everyone around here dreams about growing up and playing over at LSU, and it would be an honor to carry on that tradition of Breaux Bridge guys heading that way.”