Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson knows wide receivers.
He coached the position exclusively from high school to the NFL for 27 years before taking over Tulane’s program in 2012. So when a receiver is offered a scholarship by the Green Wave, it carries some additional weight.
At least it did for Belle Chase High School standout Terren Encalade, who committed to Tulane over the weekend, making him the 13th prospect to pledge to the Green Wave’s 2014 signing class.
“It’s hard to find a coach who has more experience working with good receivers and making them better than him,” Encalade said. “If there’s a coach who can make you improve your game and has a history of doing it, then it makes you want to play for him. Tulane definitely has that.”
While Encalade’s stature isn’t prototypical of a No. 1 receiver — measuring just 6-foot and 185 pounds — his quickness and playmaking ability impressed a variety of Louisiana schools who were eager to add him to their roster. Encalade, however, chose Tulane over Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern because of his familiarity with the coaching staff and an ever-expanding roster of New Orleans area players.
A relationship with former St. Augustine head coach and current Tulane assistant David Johnson also eased Encalade’s decision to join the Green Wave. David Johnson is dating one of Encalade’s cousins and introduced him to Curtis Johnson, immediately sparking Encalade’s interest.
“This coaching staff and even some of the guys on the team, I’m already pretty close to,” Encalade said. “That really helped me make the decision, and I feel really comfortable about the whole thing.”
As a junior at Belle Chase, Encalade split his time between catching passes on offense and breaking them up as a cornerback in earning all-district honors. He anticipates Tulane giving him an opportunity at both positions, although he prefers receiver, where he tallied six touchdowns and 519 yards a year ago.
“I trust them to put me wherever I’ll be at the best use,” Encalade said. “Even though I like playing receiver a little bit more, I wouldn’t mind moving to defensive back if that what it takes to get on the field and help the team as much as possible. In the end, I’m glad to know no matter what happens, if I can’t get to the next level, I can get a Tulane education and walking out with a Tulane degree means something.”