Posted: Jan 16, 2013 6:57 PM by UL Sports Information
With Wednesday serving as the start of spring semester classes on campus, Louisiana head football coach Mark Hudspeth announced the addition of seven players to the Ragin' Cajuns roster for the 2013 season.
Joining the Ragin' Cajuns are Dominick Bilich (Metarie, La./Archbishop Rummel), Stephen Brauchle (Perkinston, Miss./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC), Nick Byrne (Rogers, Ark./Har-Ber HS), Daniel Cadona (Darwin, NT, Australia/Toowoomba), Johnny Kight (Louisville, Miss./Nanih Waiya HS/East Central CC).
Hudspeth also announced that Ricky Johnson (Lafayette, La./Carencro/Tulsa) and Evan Tatford (Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More/Tulane) have transferred into the program. Johnson will be able to play in 2013 and have one season of eligibility while Tatford, will sit out the 2013 campaign and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"This is a pretty good group we have joining us now," Hudspeth said. "There is a lot of talent in the group and it comes at spots where we have positions to fill. By being with us for spring drills, they will get a good jump towards next year by being able to learn our system and get ready for fall camp.
"We've addressed a couple of important positions," Hudspeth added. "With Brett Baer graduated (who had the dual role of both kicker and punter), we've gone out and found both a kicker and punter who can come in and compete with the two scholarships kickers that are returning.
"We lost both of our starting offensive tackles to graduation, so Johnny Kight will immediately help us with our depth at the position and should challenge our returning linemen.
"Even though we have both of our tight ends coming back, they will both be seniors. Nick Byrne and Evan Tatford will have time to adjust to our offense."
Bilich, a 6-3, 285-pound offensive lineman, earned first team all-state honors and was rated the top center in Louisana as a senior in 2011. The Rummel High product originally signed with the Cajuns last February, but delayed enrolling until this semester. He will be a freshman this fall.
Brauchle, a 6-1, 205-pound kicker, earned honorable mention NJCAA All-America honors this past year at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC after making seven-of-nine field goal attempts and 50-of-54 extra points. He helped the team to a 10-2 record, a second place finish in the state and No. 6 ranking nationally.
Brauchle will be a sophomore this year with three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Byrne, a 6-3, 215-pound freshman tight end, earned all-state honors as a senior after catching 43 passes for 715 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ranked as the No. 7 player in Arkansas by some scouting services, he totaled 72 catches for 1,182 yards and 17 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Har-Ber High School.
Cadona, a 6-4, 203-pound junior, is the leading candidate to take over the punting chores from first team All-SBC punter Brett Baer. Although the former Australian Rules Football and Rugby standout has never punted in an official football game, he caught the attention of college coaches when he averaged almost 50 yards per punt at a kicking camp in Las Vegas.
Kight, a 6-6, 270-pound offensive lineman, started at right tackle this past year at East Central Mississippi CC. Accoring to scout.com, Kight, who will be a junior, had offers from Memphis, South Alabama and UAB before choosing Louisiana.
Johnson, a 6-2, 217-pound, senior wide receiver, played 35 games during three seasons at Tulsa, making 44 catches for 659 yards (15.0 avg.) and seven touchdowns.
The Carencro alum caught 22 passes for 351 yards (16.0 avg.) and a touchdown in 2010 and came back in 2011 to make 14 grabs for 197 yards (14.1 avg.) and four touchdowns. He enrolled at UL for the fall 2012 semester and will be eligible to play this fall.
Tatford, a 6-5, 247-pound junior tight end, was a two-year regular for Tulane, playing 24 games. He caught seven passes for 58 yards, including six receptions for 20 yards this past season.
A member of the National Honor Society in high school, he was named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2011 for having a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better.
Louisiana tied the school record for wins in 2012, posting its second consecutive 9-4 season, and defeated East Carolina, 43-34, in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin' Cajuns are scheduled to begin spring practice on March 11.