Football program in Lafayette gives players another chance at college careers
For most football players, finishing high school means the end of their football career. Whether it’s because of skill, grades or choice, most athletes hang up their cleats senior year.
But a second chance is now offered to athletes right here in Lafayette: Junior College football.
Southern Prep Athletics enters their third season of play. It’s a prep program that allows post-high school players to attend 2-year local community colleges, as part-time student athletes, so they can work on getting their grades and ACT scores up to become eligible to be re-recruited.
“Our main objective is to get student-athletes into school and doing what they love,” says founder and player Corey Andrus, Sr.
Instead of players attending junior college football elsewhere, they can stay home and thrive here.
Southern Prep Athletics is also attracting athletes from all over the country, such as Tajonn Nickelson.
“After I graduated high school, I had nowhere to go. Once Southern Prep Athletics started up, I saw it as a great opportunity to move down South, earn a scholarship and prove that I can play at the college level.” That’s exactly what happened for Nickelson, who has gone on to West Virginia Wesleyan College, a Division II school in Buckhannon, West Virginia.
Southern Prep is expanding, adding teams out of Baton Rouge and Lake Charles that will begin play this upcoming football season. It’s also one of the most affordable prep programs in the country. They work with the athletes and their families to establish rates based on the household income.
“I thank God that he’s given me the patience and the vision for this organization,” says Andrus. “And I thank God for the student-athletes who are believing in the coaching staff. We can be that stepping stone for the kids that are academically ineligible.”