In most families, it’s the dad who pushes the athletics and the mom stresses grades. In Dennis Latino, Jr.’s (D.J.) family it’s no different. The Ascension Catholic High senior quarterback signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Louisiana College in Pineville on Friday. Without his mom being a “grade monster,” the signing could’ve have been different, or maybe not at all.
“The school he’s going to doesn’t give athletic scholarships, they give only academic and he got it and it’s awesome,” Lisa Latino said, D.J.’s mom. “If I wouldn’t have pushed, pushed; I understand a lot of kids can’t do it but I knew he could do it. Why make a “B” when you can make an “A.” A lot of times he’d say mom I’m in high school and I’m like no you can do it.”
D.J. admits it was a “pain in the butt” when his mom stressed him about schoolwork, but now with a 3.8 grade point average and signing to play football because of it he said “it really helped me.”
“It feels good because this has been my dream since I was 8 years old playing with the Donaldsonville Tigers team, the Raiders in Napoleonville and to now,” D.J. said. “I’m living my dream.”
D.J. was known to play both sides of the football for the Bulldogs’ football team and will show more athleticism when he changes from quarterback to play wide receiver for the Wildcats. As a quarterback last season, D.J. passed for 1,481 yards 11 touchdowns and rushed for 352 yards with four touchdowns.
D.J. said he talked to the coaches and “they’re real cool and they can help me out.”
“They told me being a receiver in a spread offense is a lot about knowledge of the game and they believe I have the knowledge to be successful,” D.J. said. “I’m hoping to go over there and win some championships and make my hometown proud.”
ACHS’ head football coach Doug Moreau saw D.J. transition from playing linebacker to quarterback, and said no matter where Louisiana College play D.J., “he’ll be successful.”
“D.J. is a great competitor, a very hard worker and whatever he chooses to do he’s going to be a success,” Moreau said. “Wherever they put him he’ll be successful.”
“The bottom line is he may be a quarterback, but D.J. is a football player first. He likes contact. So, either way they do it he’s a football player, he likes the game of football and he likes it rough.”
D.J. won’t be the only Bulldog turn Wildcat in Pineville, ACHS alumni Wade Bailey joined Louisiana College last season and D.J. looks forward to reuniting with his old teammate.
Page 2 of 2 - D.J.’s dad, Dennis Latino, Sr., is just a proud father. Latino, Sr. said it’s his son’s dream to play at the next level and “D.J. said it didn’t matter where he just wanted to play.”
Latino, Sr. said the family visited Louisiana College twice and on the second visit, which was Tuesday, “they offered him a scholarship to football.”
“He always loved football the most,” Latino, Sr. said. “He’s excelled well in football because of his work ethic, he works really hard and nobody ever gave it to him.”
Thanks to everybody for all they’ve done: coaching staff, family, teammates, friends.