Four local football standouts sign college scholarships

HEADED NORTH:  St. Mary’s quarterback Adam Parker signed with Southern Arkansas on Wednesday, one of four locals to make their college football choices on National Signing Day. (Photo courtesy St. Mary’s)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Four local high school football standouts have signed college scholarships this week, highlighted by Natchitoches Central’s Tre’Darius Brown committing to Texas Tech and Chiefs’ standout Brian Young staying home to play defensive back for the Northwestern State Demons.

Prolific St. Mary’s quarterback Adam Parker signed with Division II Southern Arkansas, where former NSU offensive coordinator Brad Smiley will enter his second season as head coach. Another Tiger, linebacker Logan Watson, signed with an NAIA program, Fort-Worth-based Texas Wesleyan.

They were preceded by NCHS offensive lineman Tyler Johnson, who signed with Auburn and its new head coach, Hugh Freeze, during the early signing period in December.

St. Mary’s is hosting a signing event next Wednesday morning for Parker and Watson, but their new schools announced their signings via social media this week.

Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire put the finishing touch on his high school signing class Wednesday as Brown was the only February signee to earn a National Letter of Intent with the Red Raiders.

Brown becomes the 28th high school prospect to commit to the Red Raiders for the 2023 class and the fourth along the defensive line. He adds to an already heralded signing class by McGuire and his staff that entered Wednesday ranked in the top 25 nationally by the likes of, Rivals and 247Sports. 

“We’re excited to add another QB hunter in the trenches with Tre’Darius,” McGuire said. “As I said in December, our teams are always going to be built up front. We believe Tre’Darius’ best football is ahead of him as he has the length and the tenacity we look for in defensive linemen. We can’t wait to get him to Lubbock this summer.”

He was a consensus three-star football prospect by the recruiting services, ranking as high as No. 82 among defensive linemen nationally by On3 and No. 35 among Louisiana signees.

Brown was an honorable mention All-District 1-5A selection as a senior for Natchitoches Central High School and was a second team honoree as a junior when the Chiefs reached the state playoffs under coach James Wilkerson. Brown, who was credited with 14.0 combined tackles for loss the past two seasons, was selected to participate in the Louisiana Football Coaches Association I-20 Bowl following his senior campaign.

Like many other signees in Texas Tech’s class, Brown is a two-sport athlete as a standout thrower for the track and field program, competing in the shot put, discus and javelin.

Brown joins Captain Shreve receiver Marquez Stevenson in Texas Tech’s 2023 class.

The other Chief signing Wednesday was Young, who was dynamic at quarterback as a junior and senior, although injuries curtailed his production both seasons. He did play some in the secondary.

Young steered the 2021 Chiefs to a 7-0 start before getting sidelined for the year. NCHS had its best season in years under second-year coach James Wilkerson, going 7-4 and making the playoffs for only the second time in a decade. Young got hurt again in the jamboree before his senior season and missed the first half of the year. NCHS went 2-3 in tough District 1-5A competition once Young got back on the field. 

He was included on the National Football Foundation’s North Louisiana Scholar-Athlete Watch List for top seniors. Young has a 3.8 grade point average.

Parker was also on that NFF Watch List last fall. He and Watson helped St. Mary’s to an unbeaten district championship and the state quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

Parker completed 71 percent of his 202 passes last fall (143-202) while throwing only four interceptions, and recording 22 touchdown throws. He had a 185.7 quarterback rating on the way to earning All-District 3-1A Offensive MVP honors. Parker, honorable mention All-State, also ran for 12 touchdowns, best on the SMHS squad, and had 335 rushing yards on 74 carries.

“I’ve been watching him since he took over as the starter as a freshman halfway through the year. He’s a ball player, plays every sport and plays them all well. He can run it, he can throw it. He is a great student, a 4.0 GPA, 31 ACT. He checks every box, on and off the field,” said Smiley.

Watson was a first-team All-District 3-1A selection who made 49.5 tackles (43 solo, 13 assists), including four sacks for minus 46 yards, and a total of 7.5 for lost yards. He led the Tigers with three forced fumbles and recovered three, returning one for a score.

Contact Doug at