Feb 6, 2013 11:17 PM by UL Sports Information
Twenty-two student-athletes, including 18 from the high school ranks and four junior college additions, comprise the 2013 signing class for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team. The signings were announced on Wednesday, the first permissable day for high school student-athletes to sign national letters of intent.
Fifteen of the 22 signees have received three stars or more by at least one of the primary recruiting networks, easily the most in Louisiana football history.
Included in the signing class are five student-athletes who enrolled at Louisiana for classes in January; junior college kicker Stephen Brauchle (Gulfport, Miss./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC), offensive lineman Johnny Kight (Louisville, Miss./East Central CC), Australian punter Daniel Cadona (Darwin, NT, Australia). Early enrollee tight end Nick Byrne (Rogers, Ark./Har-Ber) while Dominick Bilich (Metairie, La/Rummel) signed with the Cajuns last February but delayed enrollment until January.
"I am very pleased with the overall quality of players that we have added to the program today," Louisiana head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "It will grade out as the most-talented class in school history, but the true test of their quality will be determined on the field in two or three years.
"I have to congratulate our coaching staff because they did an outstanding job of identifying the players who would fit into our program and then battled against some of the top teams in the country.
"We were able to utilize some relationships in Florida this year to go in and steal some of the top players in the state.
"We expanded our recruiting base this year. People know who the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are because of the success that we have enjoyed and the national exposure the program received and we've come across a lot of recruits who are eager to play in our program.
"We began the recruiting process knowing that we had immediate needs in the secondary and both punter and kicker and I am happy with how we have addressed those areas.
"We've added a couple of junior college corners (Cedrick Tillman & Corey Trim) who can come in and help us right away along with four other defensive backs who will elevate our depth and competition in the secondary," Hudspeth added.
Seventeen of the 22 signees will be freshmen next fall with two sophomores (Stephen Brauchle & Johnny Kight) and three juniors (Cadona, Tillman & Trim).
The breakdown of the signees by position included six defensive backs, four offensive linemen, and two each at wide receiver, tight end, running back, defensive line, linebacker and kickers.
Seven of the signees hail from Louisiana while the rest of the signing class comes from six different states. The Cajuns added five signees from Florida, four from Mississippi, two from Georgia and one each from Texas, Arkansas and Alabama.
The 22nd signee, punter Daniel Cadona, is from Australia.
The Cajuns did not sign a quarterback.
"I am comfortable with our depth at quarterback right now," Huspeth said. "We had three freshmen redshirt at the position last year who will provide us with the talent and depth at the position this year."
The Cajuns remain several scholarships under the 25 scholarship limit that each school is permitted to add each year.
"We are going to be patient with our last couple of scholarships and take a good hard look at who is out there," Hudspeth said. "We've identified a couple of players who might have been interested in other programs and didn't get the right offer and may be available."
Rankings for the class are backing up Hudspeth's comments regarding its depth and quality.
The class was ranked 64th nationally and first in the Sun Belt by 247Sports.com. It was 24 slots ahead of second place WKU (88th).
A story on CoachingSearch.com took note of the last-minute jump by the Louisiana sgning class, mentioning that just two weeks ago it was ranked 120th by 247Sports.com.
The class is ranked fifth among non-BCS programs by CoachingSearch.com, trailing Marshall (49th), Boise State (57th), Houston (59th) and BYU (64th).
247Sports also had the Cajuns ranked 10th among the non-BCS automatic qualifying leagues (including the Big East).
Scout.com has UL ranked 76th overall and first in the Sun Belt.
Rivals.com had similar numbers for the Cajuns, ranking the class 79th nationally and first among the Sun Belt schools.
None of the rankings available from scouting services has Louisiana ranked anywhere but first among the Sun Belt Schools