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Southern wide receiver August Pitre seeking to accomplish both of his dreams

Pitre working toward law degree and NFL

Student athletes came together to compete in the 2024 NFL HBCU Combine held at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Monday, February 19, 2024.
Student athletes came together to compete in the 2024 NFL HBCU Combine held at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Monday, February 19, 2024.

Wide receiver August Pitre III is pursuing his NFL dreams playing in the 2024 HBCU Legacy Bowl, but when he heads back to the hotel and is finished watching film, he gets back to work on another dream, completing his law degree at Southern University.

Pitre will get a chance to play for Team Robinson in the HBCU Legacy Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 24. Pitre was a late invite only receiving the call this week after a standout performance at the HBCU Combine on Feb. 19. He joined the team Tuesday night, after traveling back to school in Baton Rouge following the combine and then hitting the road back to New Orleans upon receiving the call.

"I wanted to be in this game since the beginning of the season, so just finally getting that invitation, it felt really good, you know, just kind of thinking about that hard work I put into it and just getting my opportunity to perform in front of scouts at the next level," Pitre said. "I was real excited just come out and get my feet on the ground and get rolling."

Doug Williams, co-founder of the HBCU Legacy Bowl and a former Super Bowl MVP, said Pitre expressed hesitation to join initially, worrying about missing more law school classes.

"I said, "Man let me tell you something, I understand that,'" Williams said. "Law school is more important than what we are doing here."

After a bit, Pitre called him back having been able to work it out and join the bowl.

Robert Bailey Jr., tight ends coach at Southern University this past season, said he had never coached a player pursuing law school at the same time as playing college football.

"For him to do that and fight through those struggles, we don't have all the resources that LSU have, so he might not be able to go home and make a quick transition and sneak into class, so you got to be able to adapt … and still be efficient as a player and as a student," Bailey said.

The wide receiver said he made it a point to tell all his professors early in the year about his double life as a law student and athlete.

"A lot of them, they're like 'Oh yeah, you played football,'" Pitre said. "I'm like 'No sir or no ma'am, I play, like I play right now.' They give me that second look like do you know what you are getting into."

He said one of his teachers who was a big supporter of the athletics program would seek to incentivize Pitre to score touchdowns by celebrating in front of the class on Monday on weeks he scored and making him present the case for the class first if he did not.

"I was trying to get in the end zone a lot, let's say that."

Joining Team Robinson does not mean Pitre has shirked his academics, pulling double duty at nights to keep himself caught up including turning in an assignment the night he arrived.

"When I got in, as soon as I got off the road, I came in and got to work," Pitre said.

Pitre has allowed himself to picture playing in the NFL while he's been here.

"I envision everything, you know, law school. I envision making it to the end of that tunnel," Pitre said. "Here, I envision myself playing on the next level."

The attention Pitre drew at the combine, which has a different selection committee as the game, helped get him back here according to Williams.

"He got hurt a couple times during the season, so he didn't play a lot so we didn't get a chance to see him as much," Williams said. "But he showed what he can do so I thought it was important that we got him into this game."

Pitre grabbed 43 receptions for 714 yards and eight touchdowns over two seasons at Southern. The wide receiver transferred to Southern after spending two seasons and a redshirt year at Rice University where he had 48 receptions for 638 yards and five touchdowns.

Pitre said he transferred to Southern in part to be closer to his home of Opelousas.

Growing up, Pitre said he took inspiration from some former New Orleans Saints as a child when he attended a camp hosted by Devery Henderson who also brought fellow Saint Robert Meacham along with him.

"Seeing those guys move, man they looked like superheroes to us, being that young," Pitre said. "I've always played receiver, corner. I've always been a skill player. Definitely having big eyes, it just gave you those dreams, aspirations."

Pitre said seeing Henderson, who is also from Opelousas and went to the school with Pitre's mother, catching passes in Super Bowl XLIV for the Saints made him feel like he could do it too.

The 6-foot-2, 181-pound wide receiver has not stopped impressing people at the HBCU Legacy Bowl since he has hit the practice field with Team Robinson.

"Just in watching him moving him around, I was saying to myself he's kind of got a pogo stick thing going, got a nice little bounce to himself, when I see him catch balls underneath and turn upfield and got a little burst to him, little explosion," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "He's got the good look to him so I'm eager to watch him play."

The longtime NFL analyst said Pitre's intelligence should be a checkmark for scouts evaluating him.

"The more intelligence you have, the more book smarts you have, I think it's a positive," Davis said. "I think there's some old school guys like 'Yeah, if he's got all that going on he's not going to care about football.' I don't believe that at all. I think this is just another example. This kid's multi-tasking and able to dedicate himself to a lot of different things and able to do it pretty well."

Co-coach of Team Robinson Bubba McDowell from Prairie View A&M said Pitre has been doing a good job acclimating to the team.

"For someone who's just getting here, he's that dude man," McDowell said. "He's been doing really, really well."

Pitre is considering pursuing sports representation, corporate, and personal injury law as his future career paths in the legal profession.

Pitre said many players careers do not play football past high school so he's cherished the opportunities he has had.

"If this my last game, I'm just thankful to have made it this far and got my education, got my bachelor's degree and started to work on a JD," he said. "So, I definitely feel blessed."

This week at least though, he will work to pursue the NFL.

"It's something I've been preparing for, dreaming for pretty much my whole life playing football, starting back in little league," Pitre said.

Photos from HBCU Legacy Bowl practice at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.

Notes from HBCU Legacy Bowl Practice Day 3

It is the third day of practice as Saturday's game draws ever closer. Team Robinson practiced in the morning with Team Gaither taking the afternoon slot.

McDowell said the guys are doing a good job learning the schemes. He also said chemistry is growing between the players.

"Guys are out there having fun and you got so many guys from different teams and to see that happen is really positive," McDowell said.

McDowell was clear though on what he expects for the game.

"I'm expecting a win from Team Robinson," he said.

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