LAFAYETTE – For the second time in program history, Louisiana Football finished the NFL Draft with three selections after offensive guard Kevin Dotson and running back Raymond Calais were chosen on Saturday afternoon.
Dotson was selected with the 145th overall pick in the Fourth Round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Calais was taken 245th overall in the Seventh Round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The duo joins Robert Hunt, who was chosen by the Miami Dolphins with 39th pick in the Second Round, as Ragin’ Cajuns selected in this year’s draft.
Louisiana had three players selected in a single draft for the first time since 1989, when Chris Gannon (Third Round – 73rd Pick, New England), Mark Hall (Seventh Round – 169th Pick, Green Bay) and Thomas King (Eighth Round – 198th Pick, Green Bay) were are picked.
The three Ragin’ Cajuns selected also mark the most for a Sun Belt Conference program in 2020, leading Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, which both had two draft picks.
Dotson was one of the highest-graded offensive linemen in the nation in 2019, starting in all 14 of Louisiana’s games. Along the way, he helped pave the way for a Louisiana ground attack that finished the season ranked third nationally in yards per carry (6.28), fourth nationally in rushing touchdowns (42), sixth nationally in rushing yards per game (257.4) and seventh nationally in total rushing yards (3,604).
He was also part of an offensive line that ranked fifth nationally and first in the Sun Belt Conference in sacks allowed (1.07) during the record-breaking campaign.
As a result, he was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Focus, while garnering Second Team All-American by Sporting News. He also earned First Team All-Sun Belt Conference and All-Louisiana honors.
The All-America recognition saw him become the second player in school history to earn AP All-America honors after Orlando Thomas garnered Third Team honors in 1993 and Second Team honors in 1994 and the first player in program history to be named a First Team All-American by the other publications.
Dotson started in 52 games during his storied career, the second-most amongst offensive lineman during the 2019 campaign.
"Kevin Dotson exemplified how important leadership and character are within a football program during his time with the Ragin' Cajuns,” head coach Billy Napier said. "His teammates looked to him on a daily basis to set the standard, and Kevin always delivered. The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting a tremendous football player, and they've also just added an outstanding leader to their organization."
Calais was a key contributor to Louisiana’s rushing attack and as a kick returner in 2019, appearing in all 14 of the team’s contests with seven starts. He finished the year with 886 rushing yards, the second-most on the team and eighth-most in the Sun Belt Conference, to complement 541 kick return yards for a league-leading 28.5 yards per attempt, which was the seventh-best average in the nation.
Following his stellar senior season, he earned First Team All-Conference honors as a return specialist and Third Team All-Conference honors as both a running back and for all-purpose player.
In his career, Calais rushed for 1,845 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 7.8 yards per carry, while becoming the second player in program history to have three career rushes of 80 yards or more after his 83-yard touchdown run against ULM on Nov. 30, 2019. He also compiled 2,493 kickoff return yards and scored two touchdowns, both coming on Sept. 2, 2017, against Southeastern Louisiana.
"Raymond Calais was a dynamic playmaker for the Ragin' Cajuns, but what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are actually getting for their organization is someone who was held in extremely high respect by both his teammates and coaches,” Napier said. "We are excited for Raymond's opportunity to continue his football career. His competitive spirit and work ethic will continue to take him places in life."
The renewal period for 2020 Ragin' Cajuns Football season tickets has been extended to Friday, May 8 due to the ongoing issues surrounding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Fans are encouraged to make phone calls to the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome at (337) 265-2100, or renew their season tickets online here [am.ticketmaster.com].
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