GF 2024 Spring Tour: University Lab School (Baton Rouge, LA)

The U-High Cubs are one of the most talented teams in the state entering this season and are certainly one of the favorites to be competing for a state championship. After winning a state championship in 2021, the Cubs came up just short of returning back to state championship in back-to-back years with gut wrenching semifinal losses to Dunham and St. Charles Catholic the last two seasons.

Still, the Cubs return a lot of talent and some key veteran pieces to once again be right in the thick of a potential seventh state championship. On the third stop of the 2024 Gridiron Football Spring Tour, the staff decided to stop by campus and see what the Cubs have been up to led by head coach Andy Martin. Coach Martin knows that his team has to replace some good players, but he is also excited about the guys that are returning as well.

“Each year, you look to see who the leaders are going to be. We lost some good leaders last year. Harry Beacham really set the tone on defense and Seth Gale and Granville Anderson set the tone on offense. You are starting to see in spring the new leaders emerge and that’s the fun part in the offseason. The weight room and out here on the field, those players start to emerge.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

The Cubs are hungry to get back to the state championship game, but Coach Martin has his players take on a healthy approach in order to focus on their goals.

“To some degree. I don’t think it’s necessarily a chip on our shoulder, but we are just continuing to keep the standard here. That’s what we are all about. We are trying to get the best out of our guys each and every game. Last year, we came up short to St. Charles, but we gave them everything that we wanted and they ended up beating us. They played well, but we couldn’t get it done. Hopefully this year, we can take the right steps in order to get us there at the end.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

The first right step is returning a quarterback, and the Cubs have one of the best in the entire state in Emile Picarella. The four star quarterback moved to Baton Rouge and found himself a home at University Lab where he made an immediate impact by completing an astonishing 71% of his passes for 2,239 yards and 34 touchdowns. This time, working a full offseason with the team will certainly help him even more when leading one of the state’s premier offenses.

“The grasp of the offense. He is making his reads right away. He is getting the ball out quick. The leadership side of it is coming along. For him, he is so much more comfortable. Just knowing the guys as well so it takes a little bit of time, especially for a quarterback. He had a great year last year and looking for him to have a great year this year.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

Protecting Picarella is perhaps one of the best offensive lines in the entire state.

“We are really excited about our offensive line. We got Preston Jones and John Hebert, who have been starting for three years now. This will also be Jarvis Brookshire’s third year starting and when you add Lamar Brown in there, we are really excited about that.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

There are also some offensive weapons that the talented Cubs signal caller will be throwing the football to despite the loss of their two top receivers from a season ago.

Zay Martin has really come on and has done a good job. He’s had a really good offseason and doing a really good job during spring. Trushaad Bush is a returner at tight end and we are mixing him in and out at tight end, but we are also kicking him out at wide receiver. Both of those guys, we are hoping will take the load for us and then, we will see from there. We got a great group of guys that are competing for the next couple of spots.”

“Keylan Moses is going to be one of our running backs. We also got Corbin Odell. He is just going to be a sophomore, but when he runs that ball hard, he gets lost in there and all of a sudden, he is popping out. Between those two and you can also put Alec Haynes back there, he can be a running back too if need be.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

The Cubs are headlined by two of the top recruits in the entire country in 2025 LSU commit Keylan Moses and 2026 five-star lineman Lamar Brown. Both Moses and Brown are sensational football players that have excelled on both sides of the football. Both will certainly make a big impact for the Cubs in order for the Cubs to reach back to the Superdome again in December, and they are going to do whatever it takes in order for the job to be completed this time.

“Honestly, it is just finishing. We’ve been working on finishing. That is going to be the motto. Over the past two years, it is about finishing. Personally, the two teams that we’ve lost to, we shouldn’t have lost to. The motto this year is finishing and winning a state championship. We got the guys. We got the talent. We got the people. We got the fanbase. People love us. We bring the action. We just need to finish.”

University Lab 2025 four star LB and LSU commit Keylan Moses

“I am very excited. It came fast even though I still have two more years left because I remember when I was a freshman. This spring, we have been bringing in more excitement. Losing in the semifinals the last two years by just a little bit hurt, but we will bounce back this year.”

University Lab 2026 five star OL/DL Lamar Brown

Defensively, the Cubs will have to replace its all-time leading tackler in Harry Beacham, but it does return an incredible linebacking duo in Moses and his counterpart Alec Haynes.

“Harry was a magnificent player. He was one of the best linebackers that I’ve ever played with besides Jaiden Ausberry. He was a true leader and I’ve been a leader since I’ve been on this team. It has been a natural transition. Me and Alec have been a dynamic duo since little league. It’s really nothing new. Once we are on the field, we are going to dominate. It is nothing new so watch out.”

University Lab 2025 four star LB and LSU commit Keylan Moses

“Having him is a very special thing. We have been playing since we were little kids. That chemistry just builds up so having him beside me helps me to understand that I might mess up, but I have somebody there to back me up even though I will have my secondary to back me up. Somebody is always going to have my back.”

University Lab 2025 LB Alec Haynes

Having Alec’s back is a talented all-around defense that could be a stingy group this season.

“On the defensive line, Cayson Hill has been working so hard. He is a defensive lineman that had a great season for us last year. He will be a senior this year and we are looking forward to him having a breakout year. When you throw out Jayden Gloston, who has been starting for us since his sophomore year, we have a lot of guys that have played a lot of football.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

The expectations are high for the Cubs, but Coach Martin wants his guys to keep their heads low and continue to put in the work that hopefully will pay dividends in the long run.

“For our guys, we are continuing trying to learn what to do. We are doing a few things both offensively and defensively. We are just cleaning that type of stuff up. We have some competition going on in our defensive backfield, our fifth offensive line spot, at our third linebacker spot, and some spots at wide receiver so we will see what happens there. Between all those things, we just want to see guys get after it and see who is taking that foot forward as we head towards the summer.”

University Lab HC Andy Martin

Check out these photos that were taken during last week’s spring practice at University Lab!

For more of our Gridiron Football Spring Tours, click below!