Bears in the Pros

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Bears in the Pros

Philip Gordon, Staff Writer

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Over the years, Catholic High has produced some of the best athletes in the country, and some of them have even gone on to play at the professional level after their college careers. Whether in the NFL or the MLB, Catholic High has been well-represented across the professional sports world for years. From producing Super Bowl champs like Donnie Jones or Olympic gold medalists such as Kurt Ainsworth, Catholic High continues to show the level of talent it produces. Now it has been left up to a couple of grads to carry on that legacy as they continue their professional careers.

One graduate that everyone currently at CHS remembers is Derrius Guice ‘15. Guice was born and raised in Baton Rouge. He started at CHS in his freshman year. Guice went on to play a huge role for CHS at RB and had a breakout senior season in which he had 1,341 yards and 21 touchdowns. According to HyundaiUSA, after Catholic, Guice went on to sign with LSU, completing a promise he made to his father before his death in May of 2003. At LSU, Guice spent his freshman year as a backup for Leonard Fournette. Guice exploded onto the scene in his sophomore year, earning himself a spot on the first-team All-SEC team. He missed a portion of his junior season due to a leg injury, but he still managed to rush for 276 yards against Ole Miss, making him the first player in SEC history with three career games of at least 250 rushing yards. After his junior year, he declared for the NFL Draft and ended up being selected as the 59th pick by the Washington Redskins. His professional career has been plagued with injury after injury, but he showed promise after going off for 129 yards on ten carries and two touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers in a Week 13 matchup. We are all looking forward to what next season brings for Guice and the Redskins.

Meghan Montemurro

Another CHS alum in the pros is Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron was also born in Baton Rouge and had a successful career at CHS as a right-handed pitcher. He was a solid player all four years at Catholic and had an outstanding senior season for the Bears. He went 7-1 with a 1.00 ERA while also hitting .364 with four homeruns on the season. He was named the Class 5A State Player of the Year and was also voted “Mr. Baseball” of Louisiana. He was then drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 22nd round, but he decided to decline it and go play college baseball for coach Paul Mainieri and the LSU Tigers. Aaron had a great career at LSU, winning SEC Pitcher of the Year his sophomore and junior seasons; leading the SEC in strikeouts, ERA, and opponent batting average his junior year; and being named the best pitcher in the nation his junior year. He ended his LSU career 30-6, with 345 strikeouts, and a 2.09 ERA. He was drafted by the Phillies 7th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft and has since then been a consistent go-to option for the team. He was named an All-Star in 2018 and somewhat recently received a $45-million-dollar contract extension in February of 2019. We can’t wait to see what Aaron brings to the mound in the next couple of years.

Aaron is not the only Nola in the MLB. His brother, Austin, currently plays for the Seattle Mariners. Austin, Aaron’s older brother, also had an impressive career at CHS, being named as an All-State player all four years. He was drafted in the 48th round by the Colorado Rockies in the 2008 MLB Draft, but he also decided to go to LSU instead. During his freshman year, he played shortstop and helped the team win the 2009 College World Series. He finished his collegiate career strong and was drafted in the 5th round by the Miami Marlins in the 2012 MLB draft. He moved around in minor league ball for a couple of years until he finally declared as a free agent in 2018. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners in November of 2018. He played minor league ball for a year and then got his major league debut in June of 2019. He finished the 2019 season with 10 homeruns, 31 RBI, and is looking like a promising player for the Marlins in years to come.

Shea Dixon

The fourth and final CHS grad currently in the pros is Josh Smith of the New York Yankees. Smith grew up in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, and ended up at Catholic High for high school. While here, he played exceptionally well at shortstop and at the plate. He was selected in the 38th round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2016 MLB draft, but he ended up opting out to go play at LSU. He played for three years at LSU at shortstop and even helped the Tigers reach the College World Series Finals in 2017. He had an outstanding junior year, hitting .346 with nine homeruns, as well as being named to the SEC All-Tournament team. Smith decided to forego his senior year and declared for the draft. He was selected 67th overall by the Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft and is now currently playing in the minors for the Staten Island Yankees. Smith has great potential and we can’t wait to see what is to come in the future.

All of these athletes show us what can become of a CHS grad. They have gone on to their own professional careers and have shown us how chasing our dreams is not out of reach. They all have promising careers ahead of them. A pending addition to this elite group is Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has declared for the draft after an impressive junior season for the LSU football team, the 2019 College Football National Champions. We wish all of these athletes the best of luck on their careers and hope to see them do great things in years to come.

Other Notable Alumni:

Cam Tom – Drafted as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints in 2017

Ben Braymer – Added to the Washington Nationals’ roster in November of 2019

Brandon Luckett – Professional Crossfit Athlete, ranked 6th in the U.S. and 13th in the world in the Men’s Division for 2020 according to Crossfit.com

 

Corrections:

An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Guice attended McKinley High School before CHS, and it failed to list the other notable athletes in the pros.