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Photo: (left to right): Jaden Etienne, Trent Murphy (UL shirt), Javonnie Gibson and Christian Murphy

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Contributing Writer

Even before they grabbed the pens Wednesday to sign their names on college football scholarships, the four Opelousas High college signees seated on stage were reminded of what it took to arrive at the special moment they celebrated at the school auditorium.

Javonnie Gibson, Trent Murphy, Christian Murphy and Jaden Etienne were willing to meet standards academically and athletically in order to have their chance to pose for the media and television cameras and announce where they plan to play in college, said Opelousas athletic director and head coach Jimmy Zachery, Jr.

“For four years the players you see up here on stage didn’t play in class and when it came time to practice, they paid the price,” Zachery told a gathering of students and players’ family members who attended the event.

Gibson, who played several positions and defensive end Christian Murphy announced they were signing with Arkansas-Monticello.

Etienne, a nose guard and defensive end, is going to Louisiana Christian College, while tackle Trent Murphy provided the most drama by first trying on a Louisiana Tech cap, removing it and then covering his head with a UL-Lafayette cap and opening his jacket and showing his Ragin’ Cajuns’ shirt.

Trent Murphy initially committed to McNeese State and had offers from Louisiana Tech, Southern University at Nicholls State. He is the school’s first Division 1 football signee since Marlon Young signed with Georgia State five years ago.

Here is what each of the signees told St. Landry Now about how they arrived at their decisions.

Gibson: “The offense (at Monticello) is similar to what we ran here. They are bringing me in as an athlete. Right now they want to maybe flex me out at tight end.”

Trent Murphy: “I knew a couple of months ago where I was going to go. They told me I have a great chance of playing, but I need to arrive there in shape. It looks as though they are going to put me at tackle.”

Christian Murphy: “I had offers from the University of Fort Lauderdale and other schools, but I took the visit (to UAM) and I liked the school and the coaching staff there. I think I will play defensive end, linebacker or maybe both positions.”

Jaden Etienne: “I had an offer from Southern, but at Louisiana (College) I like what they have to offer academically. They have mandatory study halls for the athletes. I see myself as a defensive