THIBODAUX – Lowell Narcisse will be heading to San Antonio to restart his career as a quarterback on the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
On his way there, the former St. James quarterback and Vacherie native, took a short detour to Thibodaux on Friday.
Narcisse was on the Nicholls campus to take part in the Pro Football Camp to help instruct high school quarterbacks. It’s the same Nicholls campus where Narcisse’s current head coach, Frank Wilson of the UTSA Roadrunners, was a Colonels running back and defensive back from 1994-96.
The connection between the two goes beyond that.
Wilson, an assistant at LSU from 2010-2015, was on hand for a fateful day in the life of Narcisse in 2015.
“He was at the spring game when I tore my ACL the first time. I’ve been knowing Frank since I was in eighth grade,” Narcisse pointed out.
After two very productive seasons as a starting quarterback as a freshman and sophomore, Narcisse went into his junior year as one of the most highly-touted dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
Going into his junior year, Narcisse had verbally committed to Auburn, but that didn’t keep Wilson and other recruiters away.
The injury cost Narcisse the entire regular season. He managed to return for the playoffs and helped lead St. James to the Class 3A state championship game that the Wildcats ended up losing to rival Lutcher.
After surgery and rehab, Narcisse’s knee tested stronger than before the injury.
A big senior year seemed in the offing.
In the meantime, Narcisse decommitted from Auburn in favor of LSU. Wilson, however, was no longer in Baton Rouge, having been named the head coach of UTSA.
Narcisse suffered another ACL injury, this time to the opposite knee. He again missed the entire regular season, but there was no playoff return for the quarterback this time around.
Despite the injures and based on his performance as a freshman and sophomore, LSU still wanted Narcisse.
Narcisse was red-shirted in 2017, giving him additional time to fully recover.
By the time the 2018 season rolled around, the arrival of Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow caused a log jam at quarterback at LSU. Only weeks before the season, Narcisse transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
“I could of gone to FAU or Florida State or something but I said I wanted to go to junior college because I was eager to play again. I hadn’t played ball going on three years and so I was just ready to play ball again. It was a different experience. I think that has helped to shape me into the man that I am today,” said Narcisse.
Because he had been at the school for only a matter of days prior to the start of the season, Narcisse was to split time with Chance Lovertich. In the season opener against Mississippi Delta, Narcisse scored on a 34-yard run on his first rushing attempt of the season. He finished with two rushing touchdowns while going 4 of 5 through the air for 132 yards and an additional two touchdowns.
“There were so many butterflies going on. You look so forward to the moment, and when it’s finally there, it’s like, ‘now it’s time.’ After my first run and breaking it for a touchdown, it was just, ‘thank God,’ and I was finally able to get the opportunity to play the game I love again,” Narcisse said.
Ironically, Lovertich suffered a knee injury, giving Narcisse the starting position for a while.
“I went there two weeks before the season started, trying to pick up everything so the coach decided to just split time until I got comfortable. He (Loverich) ended up having a knee injury that caused me to go in and take the job and I played phenomenally well over the next few games and then I had an injury that kind of set me off for the last couple of weeks,” said Narcisse.
An injury to his back diminished Narcisse’s effectiveness. Playing sparingly over the last few weeks of a 7-2 season, Narcisse finished with 506 yards passing and three touchdowns while rushing for 192 yards and six touchdowns.
Since Wilson was on hand at the time of Narcisse’s injury, he certainly knew of the quarterback’s health issues. Wilson also knew the potential of a healthy Narcisse, so the two have now combined forces.
“I think the program is doing a real good job of coming along. Last year, I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak on what went on. Now, I see where we need improvement and I think Coach Wilson did a great job of bringing in me and some of those guys who have been at bigger programs and know what it’s like to change a program. I feel like we are moving in the right direction and just taking one step at a time,” said Narcisse.
His competition at quarterback includes Cordale Gundy, Frank Harris, Jordan Weeks and Suddin Sapien.
A senior, Gundy started nine games, throwing for 989 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 167 and an additional score.
Although he appeared in four games, including three starts, Weeks is a freshman, having been granted a red-shirt year under new NCAA rules adopted last year.
Harris is a sophomore, having sat out the 2018 season as a red-shirt because of an injury. Sapien is an incoming freshman.
As a junior college transfer, Narcisse finds himself down a bit on the quarterback depth chart going into the fall.
“Going into spring ball, I just wanted to control the things I can control. Right now, it’s just putting myself in the best position to go out there and competing for the starting job going into fall camp,” said Narcisse, who enrolled at UTSA last January.
Despite the setbacks, Narcisse remains confident.
“Right now, we are putting ourselves in our best position to be successful. We are just trying to be better than we were and take it one game at a time. I’ve always won wherever I’ve been, so I know how to win. I just want to bring that culture and trying to instill that in those guys and make them believe,” said Narcisse.
By the time his college career is finally done, how does Narcisse want to be remembered?
“That he chose to do it his way. I didn’t pay attention to what everybody thought about me or what they thought I should have done. I made every decision that I live with. I don’t regret anything and I’m happy with what I’ve done.”