The Carver Collegiate Academy Ram Seniors Look To Be Huge Steals At The Next Level
by Jace LeJeune
The Carver Collegiate Academy Rams, led by Head Coach Byron Addison, are heading in the right direction after a successful season. In fact, this has been the third straight seven win season for the Rams. Even though the Rams have had three straight seasons of seven wins or more, this season feels like it was the best of the three according to Coach Addison.
“Last year, we had a pretty good record,” Addison said. “We won the district that we were in and had one of the best seasons that we have had since I have been here.”
A big reason for the consistency over the last three seasons has to come down to the Rams’ senior class. So far, in both National Signing Day periods, there have been four Carver Collegiate Academy Rams that have signed to play collegiate football at the next level. For this uprising football program, it is a representation of the success the program has had over that period of time. Still, even though these four seniors have signed to play at the next level, both Coach Addison and Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting specialist Lee Brecheen believe that they were still overlooked. Both Brecheen and Addison broke down each of the Carver players and how each could have a role early with the particular team they signed with.
LB Ja’Mel Cooley (6-0, 215)
- Signed with Nicholls State University
- Bio: Arguably, the biggest signee from this group is senior LB Ja’Mel Cooley. Cooley has previously received offers from Kansas, South Alabama, Idaho, Southeastern Louisiana University, and Grambling State University, but for Cooley, he decided to sign with the Nicholls State Colonels on National Signing Day. The Colonels have themselves another recruiting gem. Cooley was named the District 10-4A Defensive Player of the Year his senior year and was also received All-Metro as well as All-State honors. Over his decorated defensive prep career, Cooley racked up 320 total tackles with 44 for loss, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, an interception, and a pair of touchdowns.
- Lee Brecheen: “I think what Coach Tim Rebowe saw in Cooley is that he has great closing speed and he hits. He is strong and fast as he has 4.7/40 speed. He is the leader of the defense and for a guy that is 6-0, 215 pounds, that is perfect to play for any league, but especially the Southland Conference. In the Southland, those guys at his position are usually around 205 pounds. He has a chance to be a stud in that league, and I won’t rule him out of playing in his first year next Fall.’
- Coach Byron Addison: “Nicholls State is getting themselves a player that you can trust. I called him one of my “high trust” guys. Since he has been here, he has been a big time contributor for us. He was a four year player. He has done everything that we have asked him to do especially in the classroom where he has a 3.7 GPA. They are getting a kid that they can really depend on. I am actually expecting him to go in there and get some playing time next season at Nicholls State.”
ATH Justin London (5-11, 180)
- Signed with Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas
- Bio: No matter if it was on offense or on defense, senior WR/CB Justin London did it all for the Rams. Every time he touched the football, he was a big threat waiting to happen. Compared to a lot of other wide receivers, London may have not touched the football as other players, but he did take advantage of his opportunities. As a junior, he only had 10 catches, but for 248 yards and for four touchdowns. Last season, he was able to get a few more catches with 20, but that was all he needed as he racked up another 482 yards receiving and three touchdowns. London’s 4.4/40 speed drew the attention of some schools such as McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana University, Idaho, and Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but in the end, London decided to take his talents to one of the best junior colleges in the country in Garden City Community College, which is located in Garden City, Kansas.
- Lee Brecheen: “Justin was an offensive guy that averaged about 15 catches a year with about four or five touchdowns. He runs a legit 4.4/40 time and one defense, he is a big hitter for a guy that is about 5-11, 180 pounds. He is a DI player. If he stays at Garden City Community College like he should and get through those two years, he can come out and sign at the DI level.”
- Coach Byron Addison: “Garden City is getting an electrifying player in Justin London. He is really electrifying and has played on both sides of the football for me. He was a corner for three years and also played on offense. He is also a special teams returner. He pretty much did it all. A lot of schools especially in state really liked him, but he is a guy that may be a little undersized, but can play multiple positions. He fits Garden City’s scheme in what they want to do, and I think he also chose them because he is a really good baseball player so he is going to be a two sport kid.”
OLB/DE Bryson Lewis (6-0, 190)
- Signed with Lakeland University in Plymouth, Wisconsin
- Bio: Senior do it all defensive playmaker Bryson Lewis must be the most interesting signee on this list just because of his versatility. At only 6-0, 190 pounds, Lewis has an unique skill set for rushing the passer. In fact, despite being undersized, Lewis’ role was indeed becoming a pass rusher as a defensive lineman/linebacker. He was also pretty good at his role as in one occasion, Lewis had three sacks. Lewis will hopefully bring his skill set to Lakeland University in Plymouth, Wisconsin, which was the team he signed with on National Signing Day. Despite his background on the edge, Brecheen believes that he could be a really good fit at linebacker.
- Lee Brecheen: “Bryson Lewis is a D-II, D-III guy. He should start over there. He played defensive end for the team and that is probably why he did not go any higher because he was undersized and quick playing that position. He had three sacks in just Week two this year. He is about 6-0, 192 pounds and could go to linebacker or gain some pounds and move to defensive end. At the D-II level, he may play defensive end. He is a pass rush guy that can run about a 4.7/40.”
- Coach Byron Addison: “Bryson did whatever we asked him to do. He was a great player and most importantly, a great leader for us. He is going to do some great things at Lakeland University.”
RB Corey Johnson (5-11, 195)
- Signed with the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) in Odessa, Texas
- Bio: Like his teammate Justin London, senior RB Corey Johnson did not get a lot of chances to showcase his athleticism and speed often. First off, Johnson had to move from safety to running back entering the season and second, he finished with less than 100 carries in his only season as a running back. However, like his other senior teammate, Johnson made his opportunities. On those 92 carries, Johnson averaged about 10 yards a carry with 880 yards rushing and six touchdowns. The most impressive run in Johnson’s career when he broke a 45 year old school record by scoring on a 99 yard touchdown. The original record was set by Rams legend Robert Woods, who went on to play for Grambling State and then the Houston Oilers and the Detroit Lions. Johnson signed with the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, or UTPB for short, which is located in Odessa, Texas. For the Falcons, they could have themselves a big time steal.
- Lee Brecheen: “I had Corey as a DI player. He was definitely overlooked. He is a true running back as he is about 5-11, 190 pounds. He has great hands and can run a 4.5/40. He also played strong safety for the team too. I am really shocked that they got this guy. He should start day one and may be one of those late round draft picks that you might hear from the NFL one day that goes on and has a good career.”
- Coach Byron Addison: “Corey Johnson is a lot like Ja’Mel Cooley. He is another leader that was kind of like a coach on the field for us when he was at Carver. UTPB will be getting themselves a good kid who is going to go up there and will push everybody else around him to get better.”
More Names That You May Hear About At The End:
Even though National Signing Day may have been officially over weeks ago, there are always some players that arrive late to the part. For Brecheen, there are some other seniors that have not yet to sign that may find themselves playing on a college campus next Fall.
“I have Brent Davis listed as a legit true center,” Brecheen said. “He is 6-0, 275 pounds and is qualified with a 3.4 GPA and a 21 ACT. He could walk on anywhere in Louisiana and have full TOPS. It wouldn’t shock me if Davis walks on at a I-AA school and within a year or two, gets a scholarship.”
“There is also a long snapper named Bruce Humble,” Brecheen said. “He is a guy out there if anybody is looking for a long snapper at 5-11, 202 pounds.”
“They also had a receiver named Jerron Mercadel,” Brecheen said. “He was really their fourth receiver, but he ran a 4.5/40. At 6-0, 175 pounds, he could be a steal.”
“DB Ronnie Gray might be a late signee with a Louisiana College or a school like that,” Brecheen said. “He has the grades to do so. If he walked on at a I-AA school like a Northwestern State or a McNeese State or a Southern University, he would be a starter in a year or two as a strong safety at 5-10, 185 pounds.”
Gray, who is an All-District defensive back, believes that his ball hawking skills and pass rushing skills could be utilized in a special “Honey Badger” package. Despite the ball hawking abilities, Gray has not yet received a scholarship. Still, even if a player has signed to play football or just going to go to college as a student, all the senior members of the team should reflect on how they made the team better and how they left it for the next class to come. Well, this class should be proud of what they accomplished.
“Having the success that we had last season, the team is becoming really confident right now,” Addison said. “You can just see it through the off-season workouts. They feel like if they can stay together, they can do some great things and that is because of what our seniors were able to do last season.”
Hopefully, the seniors have successfully passed the torch to the underclassmen for them one day to have the opportunity to showcase their talents at the next level.
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