This is the 33rd year The Advocate honors high school athletes from across the Baton Rouge metro area as Star of Stars for their excellence in individual sports. These athletes are selected as the best in their sports for the 2017-2018 school year based on all-district, all-metro and all-state honors, performances at regional and state competitions, along with recommendations of area coaches.
Marcus Spears, also known as “The Big Swagu,” is a former LSU and NFL defensive end. After completing a nine-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, Spears began his broadcasting career as a sports analyst for ESPN’s “SECNation,” where he has covered college football news within the Southeastern Conference. He was part of LSU’s 2003 national championship team and was The Advocate’s Boys Athlete of the Year in 2001 as a senior at Southern Lab.
Michael D. Smith’s voice is familiar to many as the “Voice of LSU Gymnastics” in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. He’s also the host of “Inside LSU Gymnastics with D-D Breaux” on TV. Smith’s MDSA Strategic Communications, based in St. Francisville, is an award-winning public affairs firm. An LSU graduate, Michael is a past-president of The Greater St. Francisville Chamber of Commerce.
We allow the athlete’s statistics, achievements and awards speak for themselves. The Advocate compiles the accomplishments of the top performers in 15 sports sanctioned by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and asks metro area schools to nominate boys and girls athletes from their schools. Athlete of the Year nominees must be in grades 10 to 12 and on track to meet the NCAA’s academic qualifying standards. From those nominees, three boys finalists and three girls finalists are selected and then ultimately one boy and one girl are chosen as the Athlete of the Year. Input from area coaches is sought as The Advocate sports staff makes its final choices.