Kary Vincent Jr. joins P.A. champions list – “Call me CHAMP all 2020!”

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, January 15, 2020

From the time Kary Vincent Jr. and his Louisiana State University teammates reacted with surprise to the $28 million renovation of their locker room in July, the Tigers embarked on a season like none other.

That season culminated in a College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night, when Vincent, a 2017 graduate of Port Arthur’s Memorial High School, made key plays and helped LSU cement its fourth title in school history and second championship season with an unbeaten record (15-0). LSU’s Tigers beat Clemson University 42-25, ending a 29-game winning streak for the South Carolina-based Tigers.

Clemson (14-1) had last lost to the University of Alabama two years ago in the Sugar Bowl, played in the same venue of Monday night’s title game, New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Vincent, who went into Monday with four interceptions on the season, came close to scooping up a fifth midway through the third quarter. A pass from Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence bounced off the hands of his intended receiver and Vincent sprinted in from his nickelback position, coming just inches shy of securing the pick.

Vincent, who had three solo tackles Monday, also tightly covered Clemson receivers to prevent first-down conversions on a pair of third-down passes.

Clemson tight end Braden Galloway (88) stiff-arms LSU safety Kary Vincent Jr. (5) during the College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday in New Orleans, Louisiana. (John Mersits/Cal Sport Media via ZUMA Wire)

After the game, Vincent tweeted: “Call me CHAMP all 2020 !” He could not be reached for this article.

Vincent’s coach at Memorial, Kenny Harrison, said the former high school All-American trusted the process of reaching and excelling at the next level.

“When you get to the next level, it takes a level of maturity,” Harrison said. “I think he’s embraced that and all the positive things he’s experienced comes from that level of maturity.”

For a city known to produce Super Bowl-winning athletes, Vincent added his name to a list of players from Port Arthur who won major-college national championships.

The University of Texas has produced five: center Clarence Bray and end Ronny Landry in the 1963 season, linebacker Raymond Fontenot and wide receiver Charles “Cotton” Speyrer in 1969, and Jamaal Charles in 2005. Joe Washington Jr. led the University of Oklahoma to back-to-back championships in 1974-75, Jimmy Johnson coached the University of Miami to the title in 1987, Eric Alexander for LSU in 2003 and Bobby Leopold for Notre Dame in 1977.

“Port Arthur has got the best talent, I think, in any place in Texas,” said Damon West, a Port Arthur native whose motto “Be a Coffee Bean” became a theme for Clemson’s football team. “It does not surprise me that we have that many national championship winners.”

Next up for Vincent is another season of track and field at LSU. The two-time 200-meter state champion at Memorial earned All-America status in the 4×100-meter relay and has won two Southeastern Conference championships in that event.

“I’ve seen Kary run many times in high school,” Harrison said. “When people ask me how fast Kary is, I think he’s faster than anybody he runs against. I don’t know Kary knows how fast he is.

“I don’t think there’s an athlete playing football and running track that’s faster than Kary Vincent.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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