Four Donaldsonville football players sign

Kyle Riviere
Donaldsonville Chief
Donaldsonville’s (left to right) Rae’land Johnson, Christian Howard, Wardell Forcell and Josh Collier signed with colleges on National Signing Day.

The 2020 season was one of the best the Donaldsonville Tiger football squad has had in recent memory, and as a result, four of its top performers signed with colleges last week.

On Wednesday's National Signing Day, running back Rae'land Johnson, offensive lineman Christian Howard, linebacker Wardell Forcell and defensive back Josh Collier all inked their letters of intent to take their games to the next level.

Collier began his career at Donaldsonville competing for the starting quarterback spot. When he couldn't win the job, he never pouted about it. Instead, he became one of the Tigers' top players in the secondary.

Collier was a first-team All-District 9-3A performer this past season. He helped lead the Tigers to a 4-2 regular season.

Donaldsonville went on to host and win a first-round playoff game. It was the program's first postseason victory in three years.

In their second-round game, the Tigers had a 12-7 lead late in the third quarter against Madison Prep, before the Chargers made a huge fourth-quarter run to win the game.

Madison Prep went on to steamroll to a Class 3A state championship.

Collier signed with Louisiana College.

"He did everything I ever asked of him," Donaldsonville head coach Brian Richardson said. "We had some ups and downs. Josh took it upon himself to be our spiritual leader. Before one game, when we were about to walk out the door to play a team we hadn't beaten in a long time, he said, 'Coach Rich, get your matches because we're gonna burn that place down.' He made sure all of these other guys were at practice and doing the right things."

Both Howard and Forcell signed with Southern University in Shreveport.

Howard was the Tigers' only first-team all-district performer on offense in 2020. Forcell was a second-team selection on defense.

It seemed highly unlikely that Forcell would be signing with a college at this time last year.

"He's the most improved player on our team," Richardson said. "Wardell went from the back of the line to making all-district in one year by focusing, talking to his dad and me. He wanted to know how he could improve his play."

Johnson signed with Papago Junior College in Mesa, Ariz.

At running back, Johnson put up huge numbers during the season. He had a 333-yard performance in a blowout win over Patterson. He went on to rush for over 1,000 yards in just eight games.

Johnson was named second-team all-district and first-team All-Parish.

Richardson had a strong message for his four players. He implored them to persevere, no matter what adversity they face on the next level.

"You have to stick with it," Richardson said. "Some of you are going to juco, and some are going to four-year colleges. For the four-year colleges, around year two, you're going to want to come home. I'm gonna get that phone call. Don't break off your opportunity. 

"Whatever is here will still be here. Donaldsonville will be here when you get back. Trust me. But this window to go and do something else is very small. It starts closing every minute. If you let these years pass by, you'll miss out on it."