- Feature Story
- George Becnel
- June 24, 2017 - 10:36am
THIBODAUX - Taking part in the Manning Passing Academy has allowed Chase Fourcade to hobnob with many of the country’s top quarterbacks in his own collegiate back yard.
“It’s a great feeling. Being with the Mannings and being with these top quarterbacks, I really enjoy each and every day,” Fourcade said following Friday morning initial session of the MPA.
The annual camp, now in its 22nd year and attracts more than 1,200 campers, has been held on the Nicholls campus since 2005. Fourcade, a former Rummel star who is going into his sophomore season as the Colonels’ starting quarterback, is serving as a camp counselor.
Fourcade is instructing a group of eighth and ninth grade quarterbacks.
“I teach the three-step and the five-step drop. The movement – rocking the ball back and forth when you drop – moving in the pocket and just getting that right ball on the one, two, three hitch and throwing a good ball,” Fourcade explained.
Of the more than 40 top collegiate quarterbacks who serve as camp counselors each year, most tend to be upperclassmen. With the event being at Nicholls, Fourcade was invited to throw at last year’s camp going into his freshman year and now is a counselor.
“Archie gave me this opportunity last year. I really look forward to it and I wanted to come back and do it again and I really like it around here. The psychology is all about football,” said Fourcade.
Most of the college quarterbacks at the MPA have a higher profile than Fourcade. One thing he has learned being around them, however, is that they all have a lot in common.
“I was talking with Jalen (Hurts) and he’s a true sophomore. He was telling me of his experiences playing as a freshman at Alabama. My first game at Nicholls was before 92,000 (at Georgia). We had some similarities. I said it was crazy, he said it was crazy. It was a great freshman year for both of us and we’ve really learned from that and grown from that,” Fourcade said.
Hurts started his game as a true freshman a year ago in Alabama’s 52-6 win over Southern California at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys, before 81,359.
A week later, with the Bulldogs already having a game under their belts, Fourcade made his debut at Georgia. Nicholls had Georgia on the ropes but failed in its attempt for an upset of Appalachian State over Michigan proportions, eventually falling 26-24.
With father, Archie, and sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli, the Mannings have been called the First Family of Football.
Fourcade has a family legacy of his own. Like Archie and Eli, Chase’s father, Keith, and uncle, John, also played football at Ole Miss, and the younger Fourcade has known the Mannings for many years.
“When I was younger, I was an Ole Miss guy because I grew up around it all my live; Archie being at the games and saying hello to him…keeping that relationship with Archie, Peyton and Eli. I really looked up to Eli when he was at Ole Miss wearing No. 10. I really enjoyed watching him grow and learning from him,” the younger Fourcade said.
While serving as a camp counselor, Fourcade, like the other collegiate quarterbacks at the MPA, have learned a few tricks of the trade from the Mannings.
“They are kings of the game,” Fourcade said of the Mannings. “They just do everything right. It’s the small things. Peyton says if you need to work on one certain route the whole time, do it. I guess that’s what got him better and really separated him from the other quarterbacks and being great. I really learned a lot of Peyton Manning and Eli a lot and I really just like being around.”
After years of woeful records at Nicholls, Fourcade helped to guide the Colonels to a 5-6 mark his freshman year, and with a few breaks, Nicholls easily could have finished with a rare winning season.
There is a buzz around the Nicholls campus these days concerning Nicholls football, and the former Catholic League star, is eagerly anticipating the upcoming season.
“I’m starting to take that leadership role. I decided to be more vocal. I think I really need to because the team revolves around me. I think it will be a great year and it starts with me. This summer has been going great and I’m really looking forward to the fall,” Fourcade said.