Byrd, Huntington, Logansport, Shreve athletes ready to sign with colleges
The NCAA’s Early Signing Period won’t see spectacular numbers of athletes from Northwest Louisiana schools making college selections, according to responses submitted to The Times.
Among the 33 area coaches responding, it appears just five area football players will sign during the early period, which runs Wednesday through Friday. Byrd, which will play for the LHSAA Division I state championship after Christmas, will have fullback Venzell Thompson sign with Air Force.
“Choosing Air Force felt like the right decision. It’s stationed in a beautiful place, the people are wonderful, and it’s an atmosphere I want to be in,” Thompson told The Times. “Growing up I’ve always wanted to be around good people who open up and show you respect.”
Byrd defensive lineman Carson Bruno will sign with Louisiana Tech, with he and Thompson planning to officially sign at 3 p.m. Wednesday on the football practice field at Byrd.
“The Tech coaches were the first to come around, and have stuck around contacting me every single week since they offered me,” Bruno said. “They have great coaches who I have built a great relationship with now, and they have a winning culture. I feel like I will have the chance to contribute early to the team.”
Huntington lineman Erron Bean said he will also sign with La. Tech on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and he will be the only early signee for the Raiders, which have several athletes expected to eventually sign.
“It’s the family atmosphere of Tech,” Bean said. “I love Tech and everything about it. It’s not too far from home and the people I’m going with are very mature. We all have the bond of a brotherhood and we aren’t even there yet.”
Logansport defensive back and electric return man Key’savalyn Barnes will sign with Louisiana on Wednesday.
“I felt really comfortable with the coaches,” Barnes told The Times earlier. “They play a great brand of football in a big-time conference. ULL has great facilities and I’m extremely excited about being a part of a great culture.”
The only other early signee from the area is Captain Shreve kicker Alex Auer, who will officially sign with Lamar Wednesday morning, but defer a public ceremony until February when additional teammates are expected to sign.
More from Venzell Thompson: “Meeting the coaching staff at Air Force made me feel very comfortable. I’m never usually comfortable with a lot of things but I feel comfortable with Air Force, I can truly say that. I know I’m going to face challenges on the way there and as I’m making my way through, but my goal is to be successful in my life.
“Air Force will get me there as long as I get my hands dirty and do what I need to do. I know most athletes wouldn’t really take this opportunity, but I think very, very far ahead. That’s who I am. I try to put all the pieces together in my head to set up what I’m trying to do. So, by taking this opportunity I know I get to play big time football at the next level, and I have a promised future as long as I handle my business.
“It’s going to be a great experience and I don’t have to sacrifice much because I never really get out to do much like most people my age. I’m almost certain that I will feel right at home just because I’m always doing homework, workouts, football and eating. Nothing is really changing for me except a few parts of my daily life. Air Force is family and I’m already a Falcon at heart.”