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John Ehret High School: Linebacker U

Michael Divinity John Ehret football
Michael Divinity

If I am a sports fan somewhere in the United States, when I think of the former players and alumni at John Ehret High School on the Westbank of New Orleans, I think of future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts. I also think of QB Kordell Stewart who was an All-American at Colorado and played in the NFL, as well as former LSU and current Kansas City Chief running back Darrel Williams and even NBA Player Elfrid Payton.

Being from Louisiana and scouting since 1991 for many colleges all over the United States, I have seen them all come from Louisiana. I would also include players such as QB Leonard Valentine, who was part of the 1985 class, won a state title, and signed with LSU as one of the first dual threat quarterbacks in the United States long before that term became popular. Defensive Back Norman Jefferson was an incredible player and signed with LSU. DT Drake Nevis currently is still playing in the Canadian Football League.

However, when I think of John Ehret High School, I think of a program that has become Linebacker U in the last few years. Currently, two of the best linebackers in the Southeastern Conference are from John Ehret High School. Michael Divinity (6-3, 245) is now a junior at LSU is tied for the team lead in sacks with four this season. Divinity has a NFL future and current Arkansas linebacker De’Jon Harris (6-0, 250) will also play on Sundays as he leads the conference in tackles. When looking at how successful the Ehret linebackers have been just in college, names like Thaddeus Washington (Colorado), Mike Phillips (Colorado), Lamin Barrow (LSU/NFL), Kenny Lewis (Wichita State), Allen Zeno (Oklahoma), current players De’Jon Harris (Arkansas) and Michael Divinity (LSU) are as good as any have ever been in Louisiana. Icing on the cake is that there are even more talented linebackers coming up from the school.

My two cents for the best linebackers from John Ehret High School since 1991 are in no order- Michael Divinity, Lamin Barrow, Jacoby Windmon, Donte Starks, De’Jon Harris, Patrick Jenkins, Mike Phillips, Thaddeus Washington, Kerry Johnson, Eldridge Walker, Theo Williams, Earl Barquet, and Kerry Starks.

The 2015 John Ehret High School Patriots team, which was the Class 5A state runner ups, featured four linebackers that all signed Division I scholarships. It was the best group of linebackers I had ever seen in Louisiana football on one team. I think the group was better than some starting linebacking groups in D-I football. It is hard to imagine having four seniors all sign Division I scholarships. The four players were Kerry Starks (6-2, 215), who signed with ULM, Michael Divinity, (6-3, 230), who signed with LSU, De’Jon Harris (6-0, 230), who signed with Arkansas, and Robert Green (6-1, 230), who signed with Army. There was also a fifth talented linebacker on that team in Anthony Hamilton.

Robert Green

The 2018 class of prospects (which is considered a down year) had three big time players sign in Byron Jenkins (6-1, 230), Kyrin Jones (6-3, 220), and Brandon Jeudy (6-1, 220).

The 2019 class starting lineup has a chance to be even better than the 2015 class- and no, I am not kidding. It will be better in the end than the 2015 group. I saw these kids play in 2017 and this year as well. All four will sign Division I scholarships again, and I think there are two future possible All-American players in the group again in Donte Starks, who is committed to LSU (6-1, 225 pounds with 4.5/40 speed) and also Jacoby Windmon, who at 6-2, 220 pounds with 4.5/40 speed, is the De’Jon Harris (Arkansas) of the group, because LSU has not offered and he will be big time. Also in this class, there is Javonte Jones (6-2, 220), who has 4.55/40 speed, and finally the fourth player is LB/DE/Buck Eldridge Walker, who is a big-time player at 6-2, 250 pounds with 4.7/40 speed. There is technically a fifth player that could be a buck linebacker at 6-4, 245 pounds with 4.7/40 speed in senior Earl Barquet, who can play for anyone in my opinion. All of these kids are seniors. In addition, Trinity Tipado (6-2, 215), who missed the year with an injury, and backup Warren Sharper (6-2, 220), who at 4.7/40 speed, would start for any program outside of this team. These two players have ability to either go I-AA or D-I and will do well in college as sleepers.

The 2020 class has some linebackers that have a chance to play D-I and beyond. The 2021 class has a good group also. The big name for the 2020 class is future star Patrick Jenkins, and for the 2021 class, players to watch out for are Andrew Jones and Rashad Harris.

I talked to some of the former John Ehret coaches. Two are former head coaches of the school and one is a long time former assistant coach that also played for Ehret. We made sure we got their opinion of who they liked and thought was the best linebackers to come out of the school since it was formed in 1977.

Former John Ehret player Kenny Bourgeois (Class of 1982) and longtime offensive line coach stated:

“We had a guy named Todd Navarro, who was 5-11, 195 pounds or so. He went on to sign with Louisville and started against the University of Miami, which featured QB Bernie Kozar (Cleveland Browns),” Bourgeois said. “LB Harold Williams, early on, signed with Tulane. In 1981, Kenny Lewis (6-1, 235) signed with Wichita State and then there was Casey Jones (6-0, 215), who was really good too. We also had Lindsey Hollis, Jamal Walton (6-1, 215), and Kwan Howard (6-1, 215), who could hang clean 315 pounds and signed with San Diego State. In 1999, there was David Henry, who made All-State. Kerry Johnson was a great one that signed with ULM. Kerry had the talent to go anywhere for college. Finally, the hardest hitter I have ever seen in high school and could bench press 410 pounds was Thaddeus Washington.”

Billy North, who was a longtime head coach of the John Ehret Patriots from 1989-2012, also gave his thoughts on former linebackers he coached.

Allen Zeno was a good one that signed with Oklahoma and had a great career. He was a part of our 1996 class,” North said. “All the linebackers I coached all had real great qualities. Mike Phillips signed with Colorado and was the most gifted made All-American. Former LSU LB Lamin Barrow (Chicago Bears) was the fastest, and nobody hit as hard as Thaddeus Washington.”

Another former John Ehret Head Coach Corey Lambert, who was also a former quarterback for the Patriots and signed with Iowa State, said:

“In 1985, Donald Phillips was a big time player. De’Jon Harris (Arkansas) and Michael Divinity (LSU) will play in the NFL for years,” Lambert said. “What I saw from 1985 to 2018, hands down Divinity and Harris will go down as the most dominating players I saw and coached. Harris was the best athlete because he started for me at quarterback and linebacker at Ehret and Divinity was the best pass rusher the school ever had.”

So potentially by the year 2020, this program led by current head coach Marcus Scott, will have as many as 18 linebackers sign with colleges just in the last five years. Folks, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like Linebacker U to me for Louisiana.

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