A dream becomes reality
His dream all started when Paul DeRousselle was watching the O.J. Simpson trial on TV when he was in elementary school.
“It all began for me watching the O.J. trial going on in 1994,” he said. “I was enamored with watching Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Christopher Darden and Marcia Clark.
“The next year in fifth grade I was in Julie Frank’s class and we had a school play – “The Trial of Peter Zenger” – and I got to be one of the attorneys.
“At that point I decided that is what I’m going to do,”
DeRousselle is a 2002 graduate of Eunice High after playing high school tennis and basketball as well as helping with football statistics.
He earned a tennis scholarship at Southern University and was part of two SWAC championships before graduating in 2006.
A 2009 Southern University law school magna cum laude graduate, he then joined Weil Gotshal and Manges LLP in Dallas, Texas, where he is a complex commercial litigation attorney.
He battled on the tennis courts and argued in the courtroom, DeRousselle then stepped into the sports agency realm with C2 Sports.
“I always loved sports and loved the art of negotiation,” he said. “I had those thoughts since I was in law school, I just didn’t know exactly how to implement and execute it.”
He became a certified sports agent in 2014 and DeRousselle said the name was originally Cover 2 Sports, which is a defensive coverage term.
“The premise of the cover 2 defense is you always have help behind you,” he said. “I only have to worry about what is in front of me – someone always has my back.
“So I tell the guys to take care of their game on the field,” he said. “Everything else, I got you.”
While in the beginning, DeRousselle has represented NFL players, he would like to expand to sign other sport athletes.
“The benefit of being a football agent is there are seven rounds in the NFL draft and the chances of a player you represent being selected are greater than in the NBA draft,” he said.
After representing several athletes who were signed as undrafted free agents early on, DeRousselle’s first player drafted was former Alexandria Senior High and LSU standout D.J. Chark.
Chark was drafted by Jacksonville in the second round (61st overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.
“It was more difficult early on because if you don’t have any success stories it is hard to get attention,” he said.
“I think D.J. turning into a player we always knew he would be gave me something to point to,” he said.
“It will always be a thrill to see a kid get his opportunity to reach his dream of playing in the NFL,” he said. “It will never get old – it is a beautiful thing to watch.”
This year Destrahan star and Arkansas State wide receiver Kirk Merritt signed a free agent with the Miami Dolphins.
“He probably would have been drafted very high except for the conoravirus and his process got shortened.”
Southern wide receiver Hunter Register is still unsigned but is generating a lot of interest from several NFL teams, DeRousselle said.
“This was the hardest draft because of COVID-19,” he said. “It was difficult because if you didn’t go to the combine or pro day, the teams didn’t have the information they needed.
“We had to be resourceful,” he said. “It wasn’t ideal, but I enjoyed the challenge.”
DeRousselle said the agent is only as good as the clients he picks.
“You want to look for a guy who really loves football and strong core family values,” he said. “I look for guys who are humble and who are driven.
“I also want guys who are smart and understand the business side of football and have goals outside of the game.”
DeRousselle said his journey began in Eunice and he will always be grateful for those who mentored him along the way.
“It all started with the foundation of my parents,” he said of Sheila Dixon and Paul DeRousselle, Sr.
“They have always believed in me and told me I could do anything.
“But without question my mother has been my biggest supporter.
“My grandparents, aunts and uncles are all part of what I have accomplished,” he added.
“With my mom being a school teacher, I looked up a lot of people as a kid that I still do to this day,” DeRousselle said. “First and foremost, it would be my cousins the Hardy’s – Jamie, Deidre, D’Orsey, and Damien.”
DeRousselle also credited the late Telly Hebert, his favorite football player from the EHS class of 1992.
His older sister Shelana DeRousselle has cerebral palsy and that has motivated him to succeed for her.
“I watched her attitude while she is in that wheel chair,” he said. “She is never down, never bitter – she is the best person I know and the proudest cheerleader I could ever have.
“I will never feel sorry for myself and not push it as hard as I can because of what I learned from her.”
Amber Fleet and Shane LeBoyd are two other people DeRousselle credits for the success of his sports agency adventure.
“She has been there for me through everything,” he said. “Without her none of my dreams come to fruition.
“Shane has been loyal to me ever since the days when nobody believed in the vision.”
DeRousselle said he wants to see kids get a chance to change the future for their families.
“It is super personal,” he said.
“It means everything to me to know someone trusts me with their career and their livelihood – that is not something I take lightly.”
DeRousselle said his plan is increase his list to four to five guys per NFL draft.
“My plan is to sign guys from anywhere and not limit to myself,” DeRousselle said. “But at the same time, Eunice and Louisiana is such a talent rich area that I’’d do more than well enough just focusing on our area.”
DeRousselle said he is excited about the future.
“I am proud that I have not compromised my integrity as this has built,” he said. “I believe I am elite and others will believe in me one day.
“I want to make my home town proud,” he said. “I looked up to a lot of people including Chad Lemelle, Clif Lemelle, Alsan Bellard, Pride Doran, Mias Allison, Kon Allen, Sy Price, Harry Price, Terry Hoychick, Sunday Price, John Guillory and Travis Clark among others.
“I’ve taken qualities from so many different people that I wanted to imitate,” he said.
DeRousselle, 36, is a member of New Zion Baptist Church under the direction of Rev. Allen Ben.