Shortly after John Diarse began his varsity career, his coaches let
him know he might have a chance to play in an All-American game if he continued
on his path.
It was a bold statement by his coaches, but it's understandable considering
Diarse caught 23 passes for 513 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman and,
after moving to quarterback as a sophomore, earned All-State honors and
accounted for over 2,000 yards of offense and 19 scores.
Following a standout junior season, which saw Diarse help Monroe (La.) Neville
to the 4A State Championship, it was safe to say he stayed on course toward his
coaches' vision. Monday afternoon he was honored as he was presented as a U.S.
"It means a lot. I just want to thank all of those guys who are on the board of
directors," Diarse said. "It's an honor to be one of those 100 or so guys to be
picked. It's one of those things where you get to represent your city, your
school, where you're from and go out there and showcase your skills."
Representing his city, state and country is something in which Diarse takes
great pride; in fact, even while he stood at the podium with his U.S. Army
jersey in hand, the reality of the moment hadn't yet set in for Diarse.
"It hasn't hit me as hard as it will the day of the game but it's definitely
been a major accomplishment of my career and I'm definitely looking forward to
it," he said.
Following the game in January, Diarse plans to enroll at LSU. In March,
he chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Arkansas,
TCU, Mississippi State and several others. He has not had a
second thought about his decision since.
"It's just the atmosphere," Diarse said. "LSU is a lot like my high school. They
feed off tradition and have a winning tradition. Those guys play their hearts
out for their city and their state and any time you can find a group of guys
like that I love being around that kind of energy.
"The coaches get along well. They've been together for quite some time now and
they're molding these guys into NFL players and that's a long time dream of mine
being a pro and making money and taking care of my family.
"LSU has everything for me on the football side of things and the education they
have hands down the best sports medicine program in the country so that's what
I'm looking forward to majoring in. It's just one of those things I'm looking
forward to. It's not only about football it's also about the education. They're
one of the top schools in the country so why not? It all fit me."
When Diarse takes to the turf in the Alamodome in San Antonio on Jan. 6 as an
U.S. Army All-American, he knows he will not be the only future Tiger on the
"Over the course of the season you hear a lot about your future teammates and
getting to play a game with them and get a feel for them is going to be great,"
Diarse said. "I think it's going to benefit us in the long run and it's going to
definitely build our friendship stronger."
Being able to play with his future LSU teammates and the nation's finest high
school football players is special, but being able to honor the U.S. Army has a
special place of its own in Diarse's heart.
"It's a great honor and tribute to those guys. It means a lot to me," Diarse
said. "I have a couple of family members who are enlisted and officers in the
U.S. Army. It's an honor and tribute to play a game for those guys when they put
their lives on the line for us every day."