When we talk about all the good that came to Louisiana football in 2019, we touch on the obvious points, the Cajuns' 11 wins, the teams incredible running backs and the handful of potential draft picks. What often gets overshadowed was just how good Catholic High freshman Peter LeBlanc was.
"There were 'Oh wow' moments, but never 'this is too tough,' just 'I can't believe I'm here, It's all happening so fast.'"
LeBlanc finished his high school career playing for a state championship in the Superdome. A few months later and he was back in New Orleans for his collegiate debut, but this time he wasn't facing Notre Dame High School, it was Mississippi State out of the SEC.
"That's a very big step from 2A foot," he chuckled. "Both of the starting receivers in front had bad knee situations and I had to play a few snaps. So I played a little bit."
Peter would wind up playing every game that season, he even started eight games. He caught 28 passes for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was statistically one of the best season for a Cajuns' freshman receiver and it came on a historic offense.
"I can't say I saw it coming. I wasn't expecting to play much," LeBlanc said. "I can't say I was surprised, though, because I've been working for this. I was blessed to have a very good freshman year."
Many thought Peter would be red-shirted simply because he had little experience in a spread offense, or as a true receiver at that. He was a wing back in Brent Indest's triple-option offense. Peter chuckled when I even asked him if he caught 28 passes in high school. But the lack of experience didn't show.
"One thing I think I improved on a lot is route running, coming from wing-back I never had to run a route and if I did it was a fade. So breaking on a route and knowing the leverage of a corner back and learning to deal with that," he said.
Peter's best collegiate game came in Louisiana's Sun Belt championship loss to Appalachian State. He ecliped the 100-yard mark and caught two touchdowns. But his most memorable one came in Louisiana's 31-30 win over ULM. In the fourth quarter, Peter caught Louisiana's final touchdown, a score that help solidify the program's first double-digit-win season.
"That was a nail bitter and the team was so happy to get the win."