School Spotlight: Catholic High School (Baton Rouge)

A new era starts at one of the most prestigious high school football programs in Louisiana as Hudson Fuller begins his first year as the head coach at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Coming from West Feliciana where he served as the head coach of the Saints for the last three seasons, he most recently led the Saints to an undefeated district championship and a semifinal finish. Now, he makes the move over to become the 22nd head football coach in Catholic High history.

Check out the interview with Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller!

“The mission of the school is what makes this place so special. Really the fact that expectation is the same everywhere you go. It is something that creates results that people in the outside can see, but it is something that allows each student here to be successful. Everywhere they go whether it is in the classroom, an extracurricular, or a sport, expectation of giving their best that they are capable of being is the same everywhere and everybody holds themselves and their students to the same standard.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller

Over the storied history of the school, the program has won five state championships, finished as runners up three times, and has won 26 district championships. The program has won at an extremely high level and it certainly helps when the program has produced a lot of talent along the way including at the running back position with superstars like Warrick Dunn, the late Kevin Franklin, Travis Minor, Derrius Guice, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to name a few.

I got the chance to visit with Coach Fuller a couple of weeks ago to give an update on his football program and how they are approaching his first offseason.

Being the head coach at a place like Catholic High School has been a dream come true for Fuller and he is excited to lead the Bears to 2023 and beyond because of the leadership shown at the school itself.

“It’s going really well starting with the administration and leadership here. They have been extremely supportive. The great thing about Catholic is if you follow the mission, the principles that the school lines out, it really is the blueprint for success. I got a great staff in place and I am really fortunate to have great coaches here that are really going to help with player development.”

“The players have been tremendous. They have been really open to the things we are telling them to value. They are really a hard-working group of kids and I am excited about the future.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller

Fuller has a great staff in place including Matt Shelton as the offensive line coach, Deuce Harrison as the defensive coordinator, Terry Minor as the co-offensive coordinator along with Coach Shelton, and finally, a name that is familiar to a lot of LSU fans in former defensive lineman Bennie Logan as the defensive line coach.

Catholic High School RB Rylan Parker (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Although this is Fuller’s first year as Catholic’s head football coach, this will not be his first go around at Catholic High School as he previously served as the team’s offensive coordinator under Gabe Fertitta. From 2017-2019, Catholic’s offense has never been more efficient scoring 552 points during that span, which is the most in the program’s history. Also, during that three-year run, he helped lead the Bears to three straight championship games. Obviously, he would like to keep that streak going as the team’s head coach and he has gotten some words of advice from Fertitta, who is now at Florida State as an offensive analyst.

“He’s been a great mentor of mine throughout the time that I have known him throughout my career. He is somebody that I leaned on when I was at West Feliciana and having him helps because he has great insight at Catholic as well. I talk to him regularly and am thankful for his guidance.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller

Now, it is Fuller’s show at Catholic and he is excited about how the preparation has been in the spring for this upcoming season.

“It’s been great. There’s a great foundation that has been here already. Our strength coach Matt Bruce does an incredible job and really does a great job of building athletes in a year-round way. I have great alignment there with all of our multisport athletes being under the same strength and conditioning program. You can see the effects of that as you work with these kids and see their strength and technique in the weightroom.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller

After winning a state championship in 2021, Catholic High is coming off another great season finishing as the district champions and making it all the way to the Division I Semifinals where they would lose to the eventual state champion John Curtis Patriots.

Although the program loses a five-star talent like Shelton Sampson Jr. to LSU, the Bears still return plenty amount of great talent.

In fact, three of their upcoming seniors have recently been invited to play in the 2023 Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game in defensive lineman Blair Rousseau, running back Barry Remo III, and DB Jaylon Wood. Coach Fuller feels that all three players are perfect representations for their program.

“Each of those guys add value to our team in their own way, but the one thing that sticks out to me about them is how much they care about our teammates. They work hard and that’s a reason why they are who they are, but something that I have seen from all of them is how important this team is to them and how much they care about their teammates.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller

In order to compete for championships, a team must have a good triggerman throwing the football and the Bears perhaps have the best quarterback returning in the state in Daniel Beale. Beale will be entering his fourth year as the starter and has already led his team to two state championship titles. Recruiting has picked up for the 6’3, 195-pound All-State quarterback. After coming off a year in which he threw for 42 touchdowns, he has received offers from Southeastern, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, ULM, UL, Memphis, Houston, and Colorado State.

Catholic High School QB Daniel Beale (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Despite losing a talent like Sampson, the wide receiving core should be a deep group for Beale to work with featuring the speedster Bradley Wright, who recently was offered by Southeastern, Amari Clayton, who is another big physical wide receiver at 6’2, 188 pounds that is primed for a breakout season, and Cohen Leblanc, who is a fantastic route runner and brings a veteran presence to the receiving core. In the run game, helping Barry Remo get carries is Rylan Parker, who had a very strong second half of the season running the football last fall.

Catholic High School WR Bradley Wright (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Up front, the Bears return only one starter on the offensive line in Ervin Smith, but he is a good one. After showing up at the Gridiron Football Elite Camp in Eunice, Louisiana, Smith put on a show and got invited to participate in the Gridiron Football Underclassmen All-American Combine, which will be in Orange Beach, Alabama at the end of December. At 6’3, 275 pounds, Smith has incredible strength, power, and versatility to lead a young, but talented offensive line.

Defensively, the Bears are super talented on the backend led by 2026 safety Blaine Bradford. At 6’2, 183 pounds, Bradford was a defensive star as a freshman for the Bears and has already received offers from Baylor, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tulane, Arkansas, Penn State, Florida State, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and LSU. The ceiling is certainly very high as he is long, rangy, athletic, and physical.

Joining him is a veteran secondary that consist of players like Jacob Bradford, who has tremendous ball skills and has a knack for making the big play in the return game, Robert Kasongo, who was an All-District cornerback for the Bears as a junior in 2022, Brooks Wright, who is another big, physical safety that is a two sport star as he is committed to play baseball for the University of Houston, Colin Coates, who is an excellent form tackler and is not afraid to help make plays stopping the run, and Sam Norman, who has the versatility to play either corner or safety.

As a pass rusher, RJ Fleming-Ricard is long at 6’3 and has room to put on weight. When he does that, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with as he already has sideline to sideline speed, freakish athletic ability, and shows great pursuit to the football.

As with other big-time powerhouse 5A programs, those are just a few of the names that are going to make huge impacts for the Bears this season.

Overall, there is a lot of excitement at Hearthstone Drive as a new era begins in the fall and as the Bears begin to look to the future, they are doing so while appreciating what got them there.

“All the alumni are welcome to be out here for spring ball and really be part of our program. We appreciate the standard they have set for us and the tradition that we have responsibility to uphold. I look forward to connect with our alumni and continue to grow this program.”

Catholic High School Head Coach Hudson Fuller
Catholic High School begins their first spring under Hudson Fuller. (Photo courtesy of Catholic High School)