BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s track and field program has added firepower in the sprints and immediate depth in the middle distance events and jumps with the signing of six athletes to National Letters of Intent this spring as head coach Dennis Shaver announced a strong Class of 2013 for the Tigers on Tuesday morning.
LSU Track & Field attracts many of the nation’s premier athletes each recruiting season with the goal of competing for SEC and NCAA team championships year in and year out.
The Tigers welcome junior college national champion Vernon Norwood (Morgan City, La.) and prep standouts Tremayne Acy (Dallas, Texas) and Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La.) to their vaunted sprint squad, Blair Henderson (Lake Charles, La.) to their middle distance group and horizontal jumper Jonathan Pitt (South Brunswick Township, N.J.) and pole vaulter Cameron Robichaux (Mandeville, La.) to their jumps corps.
Shaver believes LSU’s Class of 2013 will join strong signing classes in 2011 and 2012 to provide the Tigers with the talent and depth necessary to compete for championships for years to come.
“This is always an exciting time of year as we welcome our next class of athletes that will have an immediate impact on our program,” Shaver said. “This is certainly another in a line of strong classes for our men’s squad that we know will help us achieve our goal of competing for championships each season. We expect this group of young men to come into our program and flourish just like those we’ve developed to this point.
“Our staff has done an exceptional job in this recruiting cycle of identifying such a strong group to address the needs of our team. Our work is never over as we continue to recruit the best our sport has to offer.”
By signing Norwood to a National Letter of Intent, the Tigers will welcome one of the emerging stars in the United States in the 400-meter dash as the top performer in the junior college ranks for the Class of 2013.
Norwood has captured three national titles and four All-America honors during his two-year career with South Plains College as part of the National Junior College Athletics Association, and has established lifetime best times of 20.93 seconds in the 200 meters and 45.72 in the 400 meters. He also sprinted to an indoor PR of 46.02 in his only 400-meter race indoors to win the event at the 2013 Tyson Invitational.
Norwood clocked a lifetime personal record of 45.72 in winning the 400-meter dash at the UTEP Springtime Invitational as a freshman a year ago before finishing the season as the NJCAA Outdoor silver medalist for the event while running 46.42 in the final at the 2012 NJCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He also ran 45.98 at Baylor’s Michael Johnson Invitational last spring.
He has followed with a record-setting sophomore season in 2013 in which he claimed the NJCAA Indoor crown in the 600 meters with a meet-record time of 1:17.04 at the national meet.
Norwood has also led the most dominant 4x400-meter relay in the junior college ranks over the past two seasons while running on SPC’s foursome that captured the NJCAA Outdoor title in 2012 and NJCAA Indoor title in 2013. He also anchored SPC to the junior college national record of 3:01.32 at the 2012 Red Raider Invitational at Texas Tech.
Also bolstering LSU’s strength in the sprints and relays for the 2014 season are Acy and Brazil while joining the program as two of the nation’s premier sprinters in the high school ranks in the Class of 2013.
Brazil will continue a proud tradition of two-sport standouts at LSU after signing a National Letter of Intent as part of the Tigers’ heralded football signing class on National Signing Day in February. Brazil’s reputation as a consensus four-star prospect as one of the nation’s top defensive back recruits was solidified with an invitational to play in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game in January.
Brazil has also garnered a reputation as one of the nation’s elite sprinters on the track during his prep career at Loranger High School, highlighted by a national championship victory in the boy’s 60-meter dash during his appearance at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals held at The Armory Track & Field Center in New York City. He sprinted to a personal best of 6.70 in the national final for the No. 5-ranked performance nationally in the 2013 indoor season. Brazil also ranked No. 1 nationally in the 55 meters with a best of 6.27 during his senior season indoors.
A six-time Louisiana state champion, Brazil has set personal bests of 6.25 in the 55 meters, 6.70 in the 60 meters, 10.36 in the 100 meters and 20.81w in the 200 meters during his high school career.
His career at Loranger High School has also been highlighted by a meet-record run at the 2012 Louisiana Division II Indoor State Championships where he raced to a PR of 6.25 to smash LSU great Trindon Holliday’s meet record in the event. Brazil followed by sweeping Louisiana Class 3A state titles in the 100 meters and 200 meters with personal bests to wrap up his junior season.
Brazil was the No. 2-ranked sprinter nationally in his graduating class in the 100 meters while setting a wind-legal personal record of 10.36 set at the 2012 Louisiana Class 3A Outdoor State Championships.
Acy also joins the program as one of the nation’s top sprinters while sprinting to wind-legal PRs of 10.41 in the 100-meter dash and 20.98 in the 200-meter dash during his prep career at De Soto High School in Dallas.
Acy clocked his PR of 10.41 in a bronze-medal-winning third-place finish in the 100-meter final at the 2012 University Interscholastic League Class 5A Outdoor State Championships as the nation’s No. 5-ranked athlete in the event in the Class of 2013 a year ago. That performance also ranked No. 4 worldwide at the youth level in 2012 among athletes under 18 years of age.
An invitee to the Boy’s Dream 100 at the 2012 adidas Grand Prix in New York, Acy has also posted a career-best wind-aided time of 10.26 in the 100-meter dash at the Great Southwest Classic last summer.
Acy also raced as part of the nation’s top relay teams during his junior season as he ran the third leg for De Soto High School in the 4x100 relay (40.09) and 4x200 relay (1:24.04) to claim the No. 1 ranking on the final prep list for the 2012 outdoor season. He helped De Soto High School claim the Class 5A state title in the 4x100-meter relay with its seasonal-best time of 40.09 a year ago.
“We’re very excited to add a group of sprinters of this quality to our team next year,” Shaver said. “We expect they will come in and make an immediate impact for us in each of the sprinting events, and even help give our relays the kind of depth we need to compete with the nation’s best teams again next season. They certainly have the talent and potential to come in and thrive in our program.
“We’re developing a very strong group of sprinters with the guys who have signed with us over the past couple of years, and we know these guys will fit right in with our system.”
Pitt joined Brazil in representing the future of the Tigers at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals held at The Armory in New York as he set a personal best of his own in claiming the silver medal in the triple jump.
Pitt jumped a series best of 49 feet, 7 ¼ inches to earn All-America honors with his runner-up finish in the triple jump at this year’s New Balance Indoor Nationals. He emerged as one of the elite triple jump talents with a historic senior season indoors after leaping a lifetime PR of 49-7 ½ at The Varsity Classic also held at The Armory for the No. 2-ranked mark nationally for the 2013 indoor season. That performance also broke a 24-year-old New Jersey indoor state record previously set at 49-6 ½ during the 1989 season.
Pitt, who also owns a lifetime personal best of 23-3 in the long jump, even followed his junior season at South Brunswick High School with an appearance in the triple jump finals at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics Championship and the AAU National Junior Olympic Championship while competing against the nation’s best in the event.
Along with Brazil, the Tigers will welcome two of Louisiana’s bright young stars into the program next year by signing both Henderson and Robichaux to National Letters of Intent as part of the Class of 2013.
Henderson is a rising star in the 800-meter run as he signed with the Tigers with personal bests of 1:51.16 outdoors and 1:52.22 indoors set during a brilliant career at St. Louis Catholic High School. In fact, he finished off his senior season indoors in 2013 as the nation’s No. 13-ranked performer in the event with his PR of 1:52.22 set in his season opener at the Birmingham Crossplex.
A two-time Louisiana state champion in the 800 meters, Henderson broke the 24-year-old state meet record of 1:51.58 set back in 1988 while claiming the Class 4A state crown in 1:51.16 to wrap up his junior year as the No. 7-ranked 800-meter runner nationally among members of the Class of 2013.
Robichaux looks to continue a strong lineage of pole vaulters to compete for the Tigers in recent years as he signed his National Letter of Intent with an indoor PR of 15-6 and an outdoor PR of 16-0 set last spring.
Robichaux cleared 16-0 for the first time in his prep career at an event hosted by the Mardi Gras Track Club during the summer of 2012. He is a two-time state championships medalist while competing for St. Paul’s High School, winning the Class 5A silver medal outdoors and the Division II bronze medal indoors in 2012. He was also fifth place in his age group at the 2012 New Balance Outdoor Nationals last summer.
“We’re very pleased with the quality of recruits we’ve signed this year across the board for our men’s team,” Shaver said. “Our coaching staff has done a great job of attracting the top talent in our own state and some of the best athletes across the country to continue their athletic and academic careers with us at LSU.
“We will continue to work as a staff to solidify our roster for next season with the very best athletes we can find. Our work never stops in building the championship program we expect at LSU.”