BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An LSU commitment who is one of the more talented running backs to come from the Baton Rouge area took a deeper look on Christmas at family, the true teammates that have kept him going.
It's hard to tell who's received more mail this holiday season, Santa or Nick Brossette. The University High senior has received letters from major college football programs across the country.
He ran for 1,000 yards as an eighth grader and finished as Louisiana's all-time leading rusher. He was the WAFB Player of the Week countless times. Brossette certainly went out on top, as the Cubs won the state championship and he was the MVP.
"I just knew they were going to pull it out this year," said Rita Brossette, his mother. "Because this year was their year."
It has hardly been an easy road for Brossette and the team that perhaps overcame the most adversity, his family.
"It's been tough my whole life," said Nick Brossette. "It forced me to grow up faster than a normal kid."
"And we always stuck together," his mother added.
Rita Brossette is a single mother who has raised four children, including Nick, on her own.
"Staying at my house without lights, not having food," Nick Brossette explained.
"Water, no water, getting buckets from other people's houses. They started diagnosing me with herniated disc, diabetes, high blood pressure. They diagnosed me with everything under the sun. I was losing my job because I wasn't able to go to work. And, we are always getting evicted," Rita Brossette added.
"But we always stuck together, no matter what," Nick Brossette said.
After those health issues when Nick Brossette was very young, things got even more serious and scary roughly two years ago.
"March or April of 2013, I was diagnosed with multiple myloma cancer. It's a form of leukemia. It's a blood cancer," Rita Brossette explained.
What were your thoughts, when you found out she had cancer?
"Well, you know, just to start fighting. It's a battle and everything," Nick Brossette answered.
Despite grueling chemotherapy and physical exhaustion, Rita Brossette always found her way to the stadium and she was always there to see No. 4 break beautiful, long runs and score touchdowns.
"I haven't missed one. I've been there sick and wrapped up and bundled up, but when he looks in the stands, he knows I'm going to be there," Rita Brossette said.
"That says a lot. Even through the days she's not feeling good. I really appreciate her coming to the game. It means a lot to me," Nick Brossette said.
Was there a game where you were like, 'I don't think I can make it tonight?'
"It has been a lot of them. It has been a lot of them. Last year, when they played Denham Springs, I was sick when I got there and I could hardly walk when I got to the game. All the parents were, 'Go, Nick, go.' And I was like, 'No, I can't leave until Nick finishes. I want him to finish and he knows I'm okay.' And, as soon as the game was over with and the whistle blew, Mendel took me to the hospital," Rita Brossette explained.
Along with his mother, big brother Mendel Esnault has been tremendously supportive of Nick Brossette.
"Mendel has always been the one that has always made sure that everybody is taken care of and everybody has what they need," Rita Brossette said.
Mendel was a two-time champion as a safety at Redemptorist.
"As soon as the game start, I look for her and my brother and I run over there by the gate and give both of them a hug before I play," Nick Brossette said.
It was not a glamorous Christmas in the home, but it was still a wonderful one. Conversation and time together is the family's holiday treasure. However, if and when young Nick Brossette makes it to the NFL.
Mom's going to be the first one you take care of?
"Yes, sir," Nick Brossette replied.
How much do you love your mom?
"More than anything in the world. I can't even explain. This whole family, I love them so much. Family is a big thing for me. That's the reason I play football because of them and to get us out of this area," Nick Brossette answered.
"We all love and support him and we're going to stick with whatever he decides to do," Rita Brossette added.
She said that at one point, her cancer had reached 70 percent. But now, through the fight, it's under 5 percent. It is certainly a reason for happiness on Christmas Day.