Wednesday was sort of a busy day around the St. Stanislaus campus. As if the Rockachaws’ open house wasn’t enough there was also a signing day ceremony for what turned out to be the largest Division I-bound class in SSC program history.
Receiver Corbin Blanchard (Air Force), quarterback Myles Brennan (LSU), tight end Darius Pittman (Purdue) and tight end Chase Rogers (Louisiana-Lafayette) all signed national letters of intent Wednesday morning. The four were joined by Pearl River Community College signee Mark Cook during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the school’s cafeteria, which was crowded with schoolmates, family and friends.
Blanchard took over a leading role in the passing attack this season, finishing with 62 receptions for 1,184 yards and 18 touchdowns. He ultimately selected Air Force over several Ivy League suitors, plus Army.
“I think they have the best balance of an Ivy League education but also playing at a very competitive level,” Blanchard said, acknowledging there’s an additional commitment when signing with the Falcons. “I didn’t just sign four years today, I signed nine. In a way it’s a blessing because I do have a job. I could have it for five years or 20. It’s different, but I don’t mind it at all.”
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Brennan was one of the more coveted recruits in the country. He committed to LSU in the spring before briefly re-opening his recruitment for two weeks in early December. Ultimately he stayed true to his original decision and joins Louisiana product Lowell Narcisse as the two QBs new LSU coach Ed Orgeron is signing this year. As a senior, Brennan completed more than 68 percent of his passes for 3,982 yards and 48 touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception during the regular season.
“I would have never, ever, ever thought I’d be in this situation,” Brennan said, wearing a purple hat with ‘LSU’ in big gold letters across the front. “Now that I am, I can’t describe how this feels. It’s amazing.”
Brennan turned into a motivational speaker while reflecting on his recruiting journey with the media.
“Really just never stop. If you knew my recruiting process, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of ups. A lot of downs,” he said. “I’ve learned to persevere through anything and nothing is going to stop me achieving my goal. I feel like we have overcome as a family with Katrina and life in general. There’s been many obstacles but I know if you don’t stop, nothing can stop you from achieving your goal.
He later added: “A lot of people say dreams don’t come true. But this has definitely been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.”
Like Brennan, both Pittman and Rogers faced some uncertainty during their recruitment. Although they both had more than a dozen offers, it wasn’t until December and January that Pittman and Rogers settled on the Boilermakers and Ragin’ Cajuns respectively.
“Now that I’m where I want to be I’m excited,” said Rogers, who originally committed to Tennessee before re-opening his recruitment in November. “I could not wait for this day to come.”
The 6-foot-4 Rogers should see early playing time at ULL for a number of reasons. In addition to his ability, the Ragin’ Cajuns are also thin at tight end, which should allow Mississippi’s career receiving yards (3,729) and touchdowns (44) leader to get onto the field early.
Pittman combined with Rogers to form one of the state’s top tight end tandems and finished the year with 61 receptions for 690 yards and nine touchdowns. Originally committed to Western Kentucky, when Jeff Brohm landed the Purdue gig, he took Pittman with him.
“I just feel like it’s a blessing that Coach Brohm wanted me to come with him to Purdue,” Pittman said. “They told me they’ll give me equal opportunities and I need to earn my spot.”
Cook was part of a much improved offensive line unit in 2016. He hopes to play immediately.
New St. Stanislaus coach Jeff Jordan made a point Wednesday to recognize former coach Bill Conides, who left after the season to take the athletic director and head football coach position at Denham Springs, Louisiana.
“He molded an offense to fit the talent he had and did a great job,” said Jordan, who befriended Conides at a previous coaching stop. “Bill is a tremendous coach and did a great job spreading the ball around.
“It helped us to win a lot of football games but it also gave these guys the exposure they deserved.”