St. Charles Catholic’s Hybrid Linebacker Mandel Eugene Is Ideal Player For Hall of Fame Coach
by Jace LeJeune
St. Charles Catholic head coach Frank Monica said that if there is a better linebacker in the state than Mandel Eugene, then he would really like to know. When someone gets that type of compliment from a Hall of Fame coach, you know that particular player must really stand out.
“Playing for Coach Monica, there is never a dull moment,” Eugene said. “He makes sure all of the players are taken care of. He pushed us to the limit and helps us become better players as well as better people.”
Coach Monica has certainly pushed Eugene over his high school career in order to become one of the best defensive players in program history. Throughout his prep career, he has had 235 career tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and ten interceptions while also earning 1st Team All-District, All-State, and Defensive MVP honors. His play on the football field has attracted plenty of colleges to offer him including New Mexico State, Southeastern, McNeese State, and Lamar. The St. Charles Catholic recruit has also enjoyed his visits before the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve really enjoyed my Tulane, UL, and Louisiana Tech visits,” Eugene said. “The entire coaching staff from Tulane and UL shows you love and they make sure you know that they care about you as a person and not just a football player.”
There are many players that take being an athlete their first priority, but for Eugene, he wants to be better known for being a leader off the field.
“After my playing career is done, I can see myself back in my community showing the youth that nothing is wrong with being different and becoming a product of your environment.”
In speaking of different, Eugene’s playing style does not emulate the big run stuffers at inside linebacker, but what he does on the outside at only 6-1, 203 pounds really sticks out.
“My biggest strength is being able to use my speed to get to the ball and run sideline to sideline,” Eugene said.
Eugene’s track speed has really helped him with his game, but being fast can only get you so far as a defender. It is Eugene’s ball hawking and instinctive nature that helps him stand out from the rest of the crowd. Even though the two sport star has received collegiate offers and has had a very productive high school career, there is still one missing offer that is motivating him to do even better his senior season.
“Growing up, my favorite was and still is Alabama,” Eugene said. “However, there isn’t any specific college I’m waiting on, and I am just thankful for the offers I have now and the ones I may receive later in the year.”
For now, the only thing that Eugene has done during this dead period and before his team comes back on the field for workouts on June 8th is to continue doing things that people do not see behind the scenes.
“I have been working out twice a day and watching film to make myself a better player,” Eugene said.
Doing the dirty work and being an unselfish player that will help his teammates should be the number one observation that he wants other college coaches to make an assessment about him.
“They should want me because I’m not only a good player when there are comfortable situations, but I face adversity well and can bring the people up around me in order to get things done in close games,” Eugene said.
Being the son of a standout prep player in Mandel Eugene Sr., who played defensive end for East St. John High School, Eugene Jr. knows all about being a part of a team and a good leader. Now, he hopes to take that knowledge to help his team in order to win a state championship this year after losing the Division III state championship to Lafayette Christian Academy last season.
“Last year, we had a great season, but didn’t bring the championship win back home,” Eugene said. “This year, our expectations are to make everyone better so we don’t have the same feeling we did at the end of the year.”
It is easy to be a leader on Friday nights, but when it comes to doing so during the week in practice, workouts, and in the community, it is much harder. Seeing that Mandel Eugene can check all those boxes makes him a player that Coach Monica and the rest of the Comets glad that he is wearing the blue and gold.
Click the link below to check out Mandel Eugene’s junior highlights:
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Jace is from Addis, LA but resides in Port Allen, LA. Jace attends Southeastern Louisiana University and is majoring in Communications. This is Jace’s fourth year as Associate Editor at Louisiana Football Magazine. He is also a graduate from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was the editor of the school newspaper the “Bearly Published.” While at CHS, Jace also announced their football, basketball, and baseball games for the Bruin Broadcast Network which is the Catholic High’s streaming website for their events. On weekends, Jace is the PA announcer for his middle school football games. At home, Jace enjoys time with his family and friends. Besides being a huge football fan, Jace is also an avid NHRA drag racing fan.