There’s no secret that a big part of the success for the 2019 Parklane Pioneers revolved around the offensive line. And on Tuesday, just two months after Jack McKenzie signed on to play at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, fellow lineman Gabriel Estay also signed his letter of intent to play for a Louisiana school, as he will head to Louisiana College at Pineville.
“I just can’t wait to go over there and show everyone what I can do and start as a freshman,” Estay said. “I just want to help the team out and succeed at everything.”
Estay, a 6-foot-7, 330-pound tackle, said Louisiana College coaches informed him he has a great opportunity to start for the Wildcats as a freshman.
“They told me that I have a good shot, if I push myself like I did this year,” he said.
Estay’s signing was celebrated inside the Parklane gym in front of dozens of his teammates, classmates, coaches, faculty and his family.
He adds that he is thankful for his time at Parklane, getting him ready for this point in his life.
“It has just been the best experience that I can ever have,” he said. “The school has just been like family to me. Football here is just going to help me over there in pushing myself.”
But for Estay, the choice to sign with the Wildcats went beyond the football field and in the classroom.
“Going to Louisiana College, for me, it was more for spiritual (reasons),” he said. “There are a lot of good Baptists over there and someone told me to go over there.”
When it comes to academics, Estay wants to take advantage of his time at Louisiana College, which will help prepare him for medical school and his goal of becoming a pediatrician.
Estay chose Louisiana College over offers from Central Arkansas, Millsaps, South Alabama, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana University, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, among others.
Another factor that led to Estay choosing LC was it being only a 21⁄2-hour drive away from home, allowing him to have some independence while also giving his family the opportunity to come watch him play.
“To me it was one of the best choices because it was far enough from home to have the experience but not too far to where they can’t come over there,” he said.
Parklane head coach Brian Stutzman was pleased to see Estay sign on to continue his education and his playing career in college.
“I’m just proud of Gabriel. He worked so hard,” Stutzman said. “He probably made the biggest turnaround of any kid that I ever coached from being a sophomore to his junior and senior years. He just decided that he wanted to play on the next level and today he is getting that opportunity to sign.”
In addition to his physical ability and what he brings on the field, Stutzman said that Estay will also be noted for another valuable skill that he has beyond the gridiron.
“He’s a great leader and a great young man. He leads by example both on and off the field,” Stutzman said. “I’m just super proud for him.”