THIBODAUX – It seemed like mere moments ago that Chase Fourcade stepped onto the Nicholls campus.
The reality is Fourcade will be going into his senior season as quarterback of the Colonels. He’s been around so long now, he is even a three-year veteran of the Manning Passing Academy, held annually in Fourcade’s back yard that is the Nicholls campus.
“It’s crazy how time is flying. Time is flying and I’m having fun. I love being here at the Manning Camp. It’s my third year coaching and I’m just enjoying being around these college quarterbacks. It’s unreal,” Fourcade said the camp that concluded Sunday.
Fourcade has gone from a wide-eyed freshman to someone who has become a bit of a mentor for the younger college quarterbacks who have made their way to the MPA to help instruct a group of approximately 1,200 high school campers.
“We have some first-year quarterbacks here and I’ve sort of been leading the way as to where they are supposed to go,” said Fourcade.
Passing on what they have learned over the years to younger quarterbacks, Fourcade said, is a thrill for the college quarterbacks.
“From a college quarterback perspective and our experience, I feel like that is a big thing with the campers. They want to see someone who is doing it already and what we are teaching them. They get it quick. Their knowledge of the game is there,” said Fourcade.
The relationship between Fourcade and the Mannings was established long before the MPA. Fourcade’s uncle, John, played at Ole Miss as did his father, Keith. There’s also a big of a sidebar that Archie and Eli Manning played in Oxford, Miss., as well.
“I go back with John to the days when John was going to be a senior in high school,” Archie Manning recalled. “As an alumnus, I could help with recruiting. A young coach named David Lee came to town and he was coaching for Steve Sloan (at Ole Miss) and we went over to recruit John Fourcade. We are glad he went to Ole Miss and he had a good career.
“Of course, Keith, Chase’s dad and John’ brother, played there also. I was excited several years ago when I saw that Chase was playing at Rummel High School and having success and then he came to Nicholls State, which we’re tied in closely. My gosh, what a great career he’s had. He hope he stays healthy and has another great year. He’s not only a great all-around quarterback, he’s a good kid. We enjoy having Chase and working with him.”
Chase Fourcade’s success includes becoming the Colonels’ all-time passing leader.
For his career, Fourcade is 577 of 1,015 passing for 7,728 yards and 53 touchdowns. The completions and passing yards already are a Nicholls record. He needs only six more passing attempts and six touchdown passes to take over first place in those categories as well.
The younger Fourcade gets to rub elbows with some of the top college quarterbacks in the country, such as Trevor Lawrence of national champion Clemson and Heisman Trophy candidate Justin Herbert of Oregon.
He also gets to pal around with some Southland Conference rivals.
“It’s neat. I’m playing against guys from my conference from Northwestern State and McNeese, they are all coming to Thibodaux for the weekend and spending the week here. It’s pretty fun. It’s pretty cool with them here and just having a fun time,” said Fourcade.
A total of approximately 40 of the top quarterbacks from around the country took part in the Manning Passing Academy. Not many can claim to have made the playoffs the last two years.
Fourcade and his current Colonels are part of a group that has led to the greatest run of success in the history of the Nicholls programs. Like Fourcade, most of the Colonels were considered a bit too short, too light for their position or perhaps a step to slow for the Power 5 schools.
Yet, guys like Fourcade and schools like Nicholls have their role in college football, according to Manning.
“You can’t say enough for what (Nicholls coach) Tim Rebowe has done. We were here when things weren’t going very good and the way they’ve played the last few years and gotten into the playoffs…their receivers work out with us here and they are good-looking kids. They are great kids, too,” said Manning.
If the byproduct of the MPA in terms for a higher profile for Nicholls and the start of improved facilities, led by the Manning Field at Guidry Stadium, has helped the Colonel cause, that’s just fine with the elder Manning.
“We appreciate what Nicholls does for us,” Manning said. “If the Manning Passing Academy being here is a benefit to them, that’s fine. That’s great. We try to help them. I think Matt Roan is an outstanding athletic director. We’re excited about their new field and so excited for them. We just think so much of the leaders here on campus and proud to be associated with them.”