Though he was just recently named the head coach at Breaux Bridge High, Paul Broussard has been around the program longer than Quentin Thomas – his star defensive lineman – has been alive.
With 20-plus years spent roaming the sidelines for the Tigers, Broussard made a habit of sending players to Baton Rouge, from Charles Alexander to Jonathon Zenon to Jesse Daniels.
As the local bodies come through his program each season, Broussard is often asked to stack up his current players with those in years past.
While talent comparisons to the former BBHS standouts that ended up in purple and gold often fall short, the 2011 signing class has Broussard confident that Quentin Thomas can bridge the gap and become one of the school’s elite talents.
“I think he is as good of a player as all the past guys that came through here,” he said. “If Quentin is a guy that they need to help them early, then he could probably do that. The potential to help right away is there, but a redshirt could also do him some good.”
When the junior lineman gets to campus next summer, the stage for an early push will be set. Can Thomas, in what should be a stacked class of prospects, make the run for playing time in his first year with the program?
“While I think he could, his problem right now is that he hasn’t gotten it all [mentally] yet,” Broussard said. “It isn’t that he takes plays off, but it is that he looks amazing on some plays and then unimpressive on others. He doesn’t understand that the great play has to happen every snap.
“With all of this attention from recruiting, as well as his senior season coming up, I think the light will go off.”
No matter if Thomas puts the pieces together before his arrival to Baton Rouge or not, Broussard’s recent conversations with the LSU staff have been filled with promise.
“They really fell in love right after meeting him, because at 6-foot-4, 275-pounds his presence is overwhelming,” he said. “[Defensive line] Coach [Brick] Haley sees a kid that, with his frame and build, could put 300 pounds on and move inside.
“After seeing him in person and then watching a little film, you see the potential.”
Coupled with his actions off the field, Broussard called Thomas the ideal candidate for a college scholarship.
“He is a kid that is on the right track,” he said. “Quentin is already going to be qualified with his ACT and GPA. All he has to do now is maintain that.
“Even with the recruitment process, he saw that he might have gotten distracted from his books,” he added. “He committed early to LSU just to get it out of the way. Quentin didn’t want things to get overwhelming.”
Last season, Thomas finished with 52 tackles, including 3.5 for losses, and three sacks.