Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns head football coach Mark Hudspeth announced the signing of 17 players to a National Letter of Intent for the 2017 season during the first day of the National Signing Period.
The Ragin' Cajuns inked seven players from the state of Louisiana with four players coming from both Mississippi and Texas, along with one each from California and Arkansas. Louisiana focused on the areas of defensive back, defensive line and offensive line with three signees at each spot. The Ragin' Cajuns signed a pair of wide receivers, two quarterbacks and a linebacker tandem while inking one tight end and one running back.
Looking to bolster depth at quarterback, the Ragin' Cajuns added Texas native Kadon Harrison and Scotlandville Magnet standout Levi Lewis, while adding junior college transfers Karson Block, Bennie Higgins, Earnest Patterson and Julius Perkins._
Junior college transfer Karson Block, along with 2016 transfers Ryheem Malone (SMU) and Staten Wade (Reedley College), are currently enrolled in classes at UL and will participate in spring practice which begins on March 6.
2017 SIGNEE CAPSULES
SchDarren Archie – DB, 6-2, 185, Brandon, Miss. (Brandon HS)
A three-star prospect by Scout.com and rated as the No. 6 safety in Mississippi, No. 65 in the South and No. 147 nationally … rated as the No. 13 overall prospect in Mississippi … a first-team Class 6A All-State selection as a senior by the Clarion Ledger … made 35 tackles, picked off five passes — returned two for TDs — and had six pass breakups … participated in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic … led Brandon with eight interceptions as a junior … two-sport athlete where he excelled in basketball.
Karson Block – LB, 6-1, 185, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Saddleback/Atascadero HS)
Junior college transfer who enrolled in classes in January and will participate in spring practice … a two-year letterwinner at Saddleback (Calif.) College where he led the team in tackles (55) in 2016 despite missing three games … rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com ... as a freshman, registered 51 tackles with six tackles for loss, an interception, fumble forced and fumble recovered …_ Lettered in football, wrestling, baseball and track & field at Atascadero (Calif.) High School … a two-time all-county selection in football and a three-time all-league selection in wrestling, winning two league titles and a CIF title … made 108 tackles and had 17 tackles for loss in two varsity seasons … an honor roll student and the athlete-of-the-year, winning the Ewing Award.
Lavante Epson – OL, 6-3, 315, Greenville, Miss. (Washington)
Rated as a three-star recruit by the major scouting services (247Sports.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and Rivals.com) … rated as the No. 13 overall prep prospect in the state Mississippi by ESPN.com and the No. 2 interior lineman by Scout.com … versatile member on the offensive line, playing at both tackle and guard … helped Washington to a 10-3 mark during the 2015 season and a berth in the Mississippi State Playoffs … a first-team Belk Ford ALL-SES selection in 2016.
Kadon Harrison – QB, 6-3, 180, Port Arthur, Texas (Memorial)
A two-star prospect by Scout.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … led MHS to a 9-3 record, a share of the 5A Region III, District 22 title and the third-round of the Texas UIL state playoffs … named to the Port Arthur News 2016 Football Super Team … as a junior, threw for 834 yards on 67-for-137 passing with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions … missed six games due to a knee injury … completed 86 of 175 passes for 929 yards and five TDs as a sophomore.
Bennie Higgins - DE, 6-0, 223, Greenwood, Miss. (Mississippi Delta/Greenwood)
Will have three seasons of eligibility at UL after redshirting one year and playing one at Mississippi Delta … rated as one of the top 100 seniors (No. 39) by the National Sports Report … posted 84 tackles with 11 sacks as a senior in 2014.
Zi'Yon Hill - DL, 6-2, 280, New Iberia, La. (Catholic)
A two-star prospect by Scout.com and 247Sports.com … named the Daily Advertiser All-Acadiana Defensive Most Valuable Player … helped the Panthers to a runner-up finish in the 2014 Division III state playoffs and the semifinals in 2016 … during his junior season, recorded 83 tackles with 12 stops for loss and six sacks … named to the All-District, All-Acadiana and All-Teche football teams.
Ja'len Johnson - DB, 6-3, 200, Morgan City, La._ (Central Catholic) __________
A two-star prospect by 247Sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … helped CCHS to a 9-6 record and 5-2 mark in District 7-1A … a two-time, first-team Class 1A All-State selection … recorded 68 tackles with four interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble as a junior.
Andre Jones – DE, 6-5, 200, Angie, La. (Varnado)
Rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com … a two-time, first-team District 8-1A selection … excelled in basketball, earning honorable mention Class 1A All-State honors in 2016.
Levi Lewis - QB, 5-11, 175, Baton Rouge, La. (Scotlandville Magnet)
Rated a three-star dual-threat quarterback on 247Sports.com and two-star on Scout.com … was the winner of the 2016 Warrick Dunn Award … also tabbed The Advocate's All-Metro 5A/4A Offensive MVP … a first-team Class 5A All-State selection as an athlete ... passed for 2,450 yards and 17 touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,577 yards and 23 TDs as a senior … guided Scotlandville to its first state championship appearance in nearly 50 years and its first ever as an LHSAA school … posted 427 yards passing in two games with four touchdowns as a junior … also ran for 108 yards and two TDs in 2015.
Ryheem Malone - WR, 5-9, 182, Houston, Texas (SMU/Bellaire)
Transfer from SMU who sat out the 2016 season ... will have two years remaining beginning in 2017 … Played in all 12 games, starting four... Had 23 receptions for 258 yards and two touchdowns... Recorded a tackle … Played in five games, hauling in five catches for 37 yards... Returned two kicks for 18 yards at Tulsa … Named first-team All-District at wide receiver... Chosen the District 20-5A Special Teams MVP.
Elijah Mitchell - RB, 5-11, 215, Erath, La._ (Erath) ___
Rated a two-star running back on Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com … posted 1,903 yards and 28 touchdowns his senior season despite only seeing significant action in eight games due to injury … finished his career as the leading rusher in Bobcats' history with 4,045 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons on only 457 carries … had a career average of nine yards per carry and a touchdown every nine carries.
Earnest Patterson - WR, 5-7, 155, Brenham, Texas (Blinn College/Brenham)
Rated a three-star wide receiver by 247Sports.com … played two seasons at Blinn College … recorded 68 receptions for 906 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season … had two games with 16-plus receptions including 17 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown against Kilgore College … notched a career-high 263 yards on six catches with three TDs against Navarro College … saw action in nine games as a freshman with three rushes for 10 yards while hauling in five receptions for 41 yards with a long reception of 17 … also returned 11 kickoffs for 126 yards and 17 punts for 29 yards …… Notched 5,076 career yards on 681 carries for 59 touchdowns at Brenham High School … also caught 31 passes for 381 yards and four TDs … named all-district and all-state in high school … also played basketball and track in high school.
Julius Perkins - LB, 6-3, 200, Houston, Texas (Blinn College/Summer Creek) ______
Rated a two-star linebacker by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com … Registered 22 tackles (14 solo) with 2.5 tackles-for-loss (TFL) in nine games as a sophomore at Blinn College … Played in six games as a freshman … recorded nine tackles (seven solo) with 1.0 TFL …. Named All-District and MVP runner-up at Summer Creek High School in 2014 … also competed in track in high school.
Chase Rogers - TE, 6-4, 248, Bay St. Louis, Miss. (St. Stanislaus)
Rated a three-star tight end by ESPN, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com … finished his prep career as Mississippi's all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns, accumulating 216 receptions for 3,729 yards and 44 touchdowns … as a senior, Rogers was named to MaxPreps 2016 First-Team All-American squad after hauling in 61 passes for 1,042 yards and 12 touchdowns … a three-time all-state selection … helped St. Stanislaus reach the MHSAA Class 4A title game in 2016 and 2014 … recorded 1,462 yards on 81 catches and 19 touchdowns as a junior … reeled in 52 passes for 877 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore.
Carlos Rubio - OL, 6-5, 250, Alexandria, La._ (Alexandria Senior)___________
Named to the 2016 All-Cenla Team … earned LSWA 5A All-State Honorable Mention honors … anchored an Alexandria Senior High School offensive line that helped the offense score 33 points and 375.5 yards per game.
Bralen Trahan - DB, 6-0, 180, Lafayette, La. (Acadiana)
A first-team Class 5A All-State selection as a defensive back ... helped lead Acadiana High School to a 10-4 record and a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs ... rated as a two-star prospect by Scout.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com ... earned All-District 3-5A honors ... a do-it-all player for the Wreckin' Rams, had a breakout game in the Regional round of the Class 5A playoffs at No. 3-seeded Ponchatoula, rushing for two touchdowns and returning an interception for a score ... earned MVP honors at the I-10 Bowl All-Star Game, where he picked off two passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown ... named the Daily Advertiser All-Acadiana Special Teams Most Valuable Player.
Staten Wade – OL, 6-5, 285, Texarkana, Ark. (Reedley/Arkansas)
Enrolled at UL for the Fall 2016 semester and practiced with the Ragin' Cajuns ... did not see playing time … A 2015 All-California League selection at Reedley College ... rated as the No. 28 JUCO lineman overall by GridironRR.com … Played tackle and defensive end at Texarkana's Arkansas High School._