LAFAYETTE – Led by sophomore running back Trey Ragas, junior offensive linemen Kevin Dotson and junior defensive end Joe Dillon’s first-team honors, a total of 10 student-athletes from Louisiana Football were named to the Athlon Sports 2018 All-Sun Belt Conference team.
WHO ALL GOT THE NOD: Joining Ragas, Dotson and Dillon were senior wide receiver Ryheem Malone (third-team (offense), fourth-team (specialists)), sophomore tight end Chase Rogers (third-team), junior offensive linemen Robert Hunt (third-team), junior running back Raymond Calais (third-team), senior wide receiver Keenan Barnes (fourth-team) and senior kicker Stevie Artigue (fourth-team) giving Louisiana 10 total members named to the team.
HOW ATHLON BREAKS IT ALL DOWN: Athlon Sports breaks down their all-conference teams into simple categories; offense, defense and special teams, naming four of the top players in each position. With that in mind, the Ragin’ Cajuns had six offensive players, one defensive player and two specialists to add up to Louisiana’s 10 named.
Trey Ragas (First-Team Offense), Soph., RB: The 2018 campaign looks to be a big season for Ragas as he powers the Ragin’ Cajuns rushing attack for the second straight season. Ragas is coming off a 2017 campaign where he was the leading rusher of Louisiana’s ground attack that finished third in the conference, and he was named Third-Team All-Sun Belt Conference for his efforts.
Ragas finished the season as the team leader in rushing yards (813), rushing touchdowns (nine), rushing attempts (142) and average yards per carry (5.7). His YPC placed him tied for first in the conference, and he finished sixth in rushing yards.
Kevin Dotson (First-Team Offense), Jr., OL: Dotson’s toughness, which should be on display for the second straight season during 2018, was key to helping the Ragin’ Cajuns rushing attack finish third in the conference following the 2017 season. Dotson was the starting right guard for all 12 games Louisiana played in 2017, missing only a small amount of snaps during the season, and he was named Second-Team All-Sun Belt Conference following the season.
Joe Dillon (First-Team Defense), Jr., DE: Dillon was in the backfield all of 2017 wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. In the Ragin’ Cajuns new attack-oriented 3-4 defense, Dillon’s production has a chance to take another big step forward. He finished 2017 as the team leader in sacks (4.5), and those numbers placed him 16th overall in the conference.
One game during 2017 that stood out was Louisiana’s trip to College Station, Texas, where Dillon recoded four tackles, one sack and a forced fumble against Texas A&M. Dillon was honored by the conference being named to Third-Team All-Sun Belt Conference following the season.
Ryheem Malone (Third-Team Offense; Fourth-Team Specialists), Sr., WR: Louisiana’s leading receiver, finishing 2017 with 676 yards on 44 receptions, Malone was the go-to weapon in the Ragin’ Cajuns air attack during the season. With a true spread fast-paced attack being put into place for the 2018 season, Malone’s numbers have a chance to skyrocket.
Malone’s ability to return punts — he finished 2017 with 146 punt return yards — was a weapon as well. He helped place the Ragin’ Cajuns offense in solid field position throughout the season. He should be key during 2018 in putting Louisiana in prime position to score off of defensive stops.
Chase Rogers (Third-Team Offense), Soph., TE: Although Rogers was struck with a season ending injury just past the halfway mark of the 2017 season, he was still named Third-Team All-Sun Belt Conference and Rogers should look to make a big impact in Louisiana’s revamped offense during the 2018 season.
Robert Hunt (Third-Team Offense), Jr., OL: A versatile member of the 2017 Louisiana offensive line, Hunt started nine games at left guard and two at left tackle. Hunt showed he can be slotted into multiple spots on the line and perform at a high level, which bodes well for the 2018 Cajuns offensive attack.
Raymond Calais (Third-Team Specialists), Jr., RB: One of the best kick returners in the nation, Calais was one of the most important and feared weapons that Louisiana took into each game during the 2017 season and this new campaign should be no different. He finished tied for fifth in the country in kickoff return touchdowns (two), 16th in the nation with 699 kickoff returns and was one off 11 players in the country to return a kick 100 yards for a score.
Calais’ ability to put the Ragin’ Cajuns offense in great field position to start drives is undeniable and during 2018 he will be a key part of Louisiana’s attack and something that every team will have to spend time planning for.
Keenan Barnes (Fourth-Team Offense), Sr., WR: Barnes, along with Malone, gives the Ragin’ Cajuns a powerful one-two punch in the air. And with Louisiana looking to spread out defense’s during 2018, Barnes will be an important part of what the Ragin’ Cajuns want to do in the passing attack.
Barnes finished the 2017 season second on the team in receiving yards (539) and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (two). The 539 yards was a career-high and 2018 could add to those totals as Louisiana looks to attack teams in many different ways.
Stevie Artigue (Fourth-Team Specialists), Sr., K: The 2017 team leader in scoring, Artigue has been the Ragin’ Cajuns starting kicker for the past three seasons. This season looks to be no different, and Louisiana can feel confident during the season that when it gets down into the red zone, the squad has an experienced kicker who can come out and confidently nail kicks from all over the field.
SEPTEMBER IS COMING FAST: Louisiana begins the season on Saturday, Sept. 1, by hosting Grambling in the 18th Annual Herbert Heymann Classic. The matchup with the Tigers is the first time the two teams have matched up on the gridiron in either school’s history and it’s an exciting way to kick-off the 2018 season.
GET THOSE SEASON TICKETS: Season ticket sales begin Friday, June 1. Get your tickets and join the Ragin’ Cajuns for their first campaign under new head coach Billy Napier.
2018 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Football Team
Justice Hansen, Arkansas State, QB
Jalin Moore, Appalachian State, RB
Trey Ragas, Louisiana, RB
Marcus Green, ULM, AP
Penny Hart, Georgia State, WR
Justin McInnis, Arkansas State, WR
Ellis Richardson, Georgia Southern, TE
Deontae Crumitie, Troy, C
Lanard Bonner, Arkansas State, OL
Kevin Dotson, Louisiana, OL
Noah Fisher South Alabama, OL
Victor Johnson, Appalachian State, OL
Caleb Evans, ULM, QB
Jamarius Henderson, Troy, RB
Warren Wand, Arkansas State, RB
Malcolm Williams, Coastal Carolina, AP
Deondre Douglas, Troy, WR
Jamarius Way, South Alabama, WR
Collin Reed, Appalachian State, TE
Jacob Still, Arkansas State, C
Aaron Brewer, Texas State, OL
Tristan Crowder, Troy, OL
Kirk Kelley, Troy, OL
Curtis Rainey, Georgia Southern, OL
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State, QB
Wesley Fields, Georgia Southern, RB
Derrick Gore, ULM, RB
Thomas Hennigan, Appalachian State, AP
Ryheem Malone, Louisiana, WR
RJ Turner, ULM, WR
Chase Rogers, Louisiana, TE
Noah Hannon, Appalachian State, C
Hunter Atkinson, Georgia State, OL
Brock Hoffman, Coastal Carolina, OL
Robert Hunt, Louisiana, OL
Eastwood Thomas, ULM, OL
Kaleb Barker, Troy, QB
Marcus Outlow, Coastal Carolina, RB
Marcus Williams, Appalachian State, RB
Traveon Samuel, Troy, WR
Omar Bayless, Arkansas State, WR
Damion Willis, Troy, WR
Keenan Barnes, Louisiana, WR
Trey Carter, Coastal Carolina, C
Shamarious Gilmore, Georgia State, OL
J.L. Gaston, Troy, OL
Drew Wilson, Georgia Southern, OL
Devin Jackson, ULM, OL
Ronheen Bingham, Arkansas State, DL
Joe Dillon, Louisiana, DL
Logan Hunt, Georgia Southern, DL
Trevon Sanders, Troy, DL
Anthony Flory, Appalachian State, LB
Hunter Reese, Troy, LB
Bryan London, Texas State, LB
Clifton Duck, Appalachian State, CB
Blace Brown, Troy, CB
Justin Clifton, Arkansas State, S
Cedarius Rookard, Troy, S
Marterious Allen, Georgia State, DL
Raymond Jonson, Georgia Southern, DL
Myquon, Appalachian State, DL
Tyree Turner, South Alabama, DL
Tron Folsom, Troy, LB
Frankie Griffin, Texas State, LB
Michael Shaw, Georgia State, LB
Tae Hayes, Appalachian State, CB
Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern, CB
B.J. Edmonds, Arkansas State, S
Nigel Lawrence, South Alabama, S
Riley Cole, South Alabama, DL
Hunter Moreton, Arkansas State, DL
Ja’ree Tolbert, Coastal Carolina, DL
Marcus Webb, Troy, DL
Bull Barge, South Alabama, LB
David Griffith, ULM, LB
Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina, LB
Marcus Jones, Troy, CB
Jerome Smith, Georgia State, CB
Joshua Moon, Georgia Southern, S
Fitz Wattley, Coastal Carolina, S
Rocel McWilliams, South Alabama, DL
Dontae Wilson, Georgia State, DL
Ishmael Davis, Texas State, DL
Chase Middleton, Georgia State, DL
Tomarcio Reese, Georgia Southern, LB
Darreon Jackson, Arkansas State, S
Wesley Thompson, ULM, S
Anthony Chesley, Coastal Carolina, CB
Darian Mills, South Alabama, CB
Desmond Franklin, Appalachian State, S
Will Sunderland, Troy, S
Gavin Patterson, South Alabama, K
Corliss Waitman, South Alabama, P
Marcus Green, ULM, KR
Marcus Jones, Troy, PR
Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern, K
Cody Grace, Arkansas State, P
Marcus Jones, Troy, KR
Marcus Green, ULM, PR
Sawyer, Williams, Arkansas State, K
Evan Rabon, Coastal Carolina, P
Raymond Calais, Louisiana, KR
Thomas Hennigan, Appalachian State, PR
Stevie Artigue, Louisiana, K
Xavier Subotsch, Appalachian State, P
Ky’Jon Tyler, Coastal Carolina, KR
Ryheem Malone, Louisiana, PR
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