LAFAYETTE — There was no National Signing Day drama at Lafayette High on Wednesday.
There was no hat dance; there was no mystery. Stevie Artigue — the 5-foot-10, 175-pound kicker for the Mighty Lions — had just one hat on the table as he signed his letter of intent.
All it said was Ragin’ Cajuns.
“No one gets to do this,” Artigue said. “No one gets to play for their hometown. I’ve lived here my whole life. I never really wanted to go to school anywhere else.”
In front of about 25 friends, family members and classmates, Artigue sat with a Ragin’ Cajuns flag behind him and said his decision to attend Louisiana-Lafayette was something he’s thought about for a long time.
“I’ve been wanting to go to UL my whole life,” Artigue said. “It’s a great school, and I want a chance to get some rings on my fingers.”
UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said sometimes recruiting players from Lafayette can be tough because too much information and exposure can lead to some negative findings.
“Sometimes you can hear too much and see too much,” Hudspeth said. “With Stevie, there wasn’t too much negative you heard about him. That is really good when he has other opportunities and people are fishing for him and seeing if he has any interest anywhere else, and he just keeps turning them down. People wanted him to come take a look, and he just wants to be a Ragin’ Cajun.”
Lafayette coach Jay Domengeaux praised his senior kicker for his work ethic at practice and away from practice. He said he got a sense he had something special in Artigue early.
“He kicked for us as a freshman,” Domengeaux said. “We would see him working out here as a young kid, and when you saw that work ethic and the talent he had, you knew he had the chance to be successful. He does things on his own beyond practice. He’s a quality kid with a bright future.”
The exit of senior kicker Hunter Stover from the Cajuns’ roster leaves a void at the position going into 2015. Hudspeth said Artigue will have a chance to compete for the starting job this year. If Artigue wins the job, Hudspeth said it won’t be a drastic change from what Stover brought to the Cajuns.
“Stevie reminds me a lot of Stover,” Hudspeth said. “I love Stevie because he loves the weight room. He’s not your typical kicker, and he might take up for Stover and lead the league in tackles. He is one tough cookie and is going to be an exceptional player.”
Artigue said he plans to major in finance at UL-Lafayette and said having the chance to fill Stover’s shoes as a freshman is not adding any pressure.
“I just go out and work hard,” Artigue said. “They’re ready to move forward and win more bowl games. I have a chance at it this year, and I’m hoping to get it. It would be cool playing at Cajun Field at 18 years old.”