McNeese State Signee: DE CJ Semien, Barbe High School, Class of 2018
by JBriaan Johnson
Barbe High School has been a model of consistent prominence in Class 5A for a long time now. Since the hiring of head coach Mike Cutrera in 2011, the program has gone 69-11 in that span. A player that has anchored the Bucs’ defense for the past four years has been senior defensive end CJ Semien. Over the course of his high school career, Barbe went 32-7 in the regular season and consistently competed for a state championship. For a couple of years, Semien has been recognized as one of the top players Louisiana has to offer. After his junior year, Semien was named second-team All-District. In his senior year, Semien was an All-State Honorable Mention and All-Southwest defensive lineman selection. Not only did Semien excel on the field, but he also delivered his best performances in the classroom as well. His academic excellence led to receiving academic All-State honors and the Dr. Landry Scholastic Award.
“Getting recognized for my academic achievements honestly meant more to me than the athletic awards because it shows that I’m more than just a football player,” Semien said. “My family always stressed grades before sports and now that their message is paying off, it means everything to me to have that part of myself to be acknowledged as well.”
Standing at 6-3, 195 pounds, Barbe’s defense was a great beneficiary of the pressure Semien put on opposing offensive lines. Semien has played on the defensive line and offensive line, but he prefers to do his work on the defensive side of the ball.
“I love the defensive line the most by far just because of the ferocity the position brings while there’s still a certain level of poise and finesse needed to balance it out,” Semien said.
Semien is an exceptional athlete as he threw discus, ran track, and played basketball for a couple of years. However, he decided to focus solely on football.
“I chose to stop playing basketball because several of my football coaches saw potential in me at the next level,” Semien said. “I wanted to maximize my senior season by not having to miss workouts due to basketball practice.”
Semien is a very relaxed and easy-going person, but he becomes a very intense competitor in between the lines. As a competitor, Semien would typically thrive in situations against the best and deliver his best when his best is needed.
“The better the competition, the more of a chance you get to see how well you stack up against some of the best talent in the state,” Semien said. “It allows you to elevate your game to levels you thought you couldn’t reach honestly.”
Throughout his time as a football player, he has taken many lessons to utilize in his life.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned was probably that you get what you put in,” Semien said. “By that I mean, if you devote a lot of hard work and effort into something you want to accomplish or be good at, the results will show for themselves and you can appreciate what you put in.”
As Semien moves on to the next journey in his football career, he will be taking his talents with McNeese State University. As someone who values education, his college decision was heavily contingent upon the prestige of academics.
“I chose them primarily because of its stellar educational program while I also looked at their athletic program as my best option,” Semien said. “I found their educational program was the best fit for me.”
CJ Semien’s goals are to excel academically and athletically maxing out his potential to be the absolute best player he could be.
(Click Here to Check Out CJ’s Senior Highlights)
JBriaan Johnson is a Louisiana native born and raised in the town of Patterson, Louisiana. He attended Patterson High School and graduated No. 6 in his class with a 3.8 GPA. JBriaan is now a student at Louisiana State University pursuing a major in Journalism and minoring in Sports studies. JBriaan has been a part of student media since arriving at LSU, specifically in the sports aspect of it. For two years now, JBriaan has been a sports writer and reporter for LSU’s student-ran newspaper, The Daily Reveille. He is also a sports reporter for KLSU Radio. When not covering sports for LSU, JBriaan is a freelance sports journalist for Livingston Parish Sports and 4-5A Locker Room website, covering high school athletics in that area. JBriaan joined the LA Football Magazine family in the summer of 2018 for his school internship.
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