LAFAYETTE — UL-Lafayette hasn’t yet crossed the Ts and dotted the Is, but it appears the football program has filled its coaching staff.
Multiple reports indicate that former Southern Miss running backs coach John Simon will fill the spot left by former Cajuns offensive coordinator Jay Johnson.
Footballscoop.com reported that Simon would coach receivers, a position currently held by Jorge Munoz on the Cajuns staff.
It remained unclear Wednesday whether that meant Munoz would ascend to the offensive coordinator position, though Hudspeth said in January that he was considering a member of his current staff for the position.
All Hudspeth would say Wednesday was that he was “getting close” to finalizing his staff.
“I’m going to try to make that announcement at the end of this week,” Hudspeth said. “I can’t officially talk about it until the ink is dry and we’ve got everything worked out.
“There’s still some things we’ve got to work out to make sure that everything comes together, but I’m hoping to be able to do a release on Friday to get that rolling, so when we get back from Mardi Gras break on Wednesday, we’ll be full speed ahead, staff-wise, with a signing class intact.”
While the school did not directly confirm that Simon is a member of the staff, Archbishop Shaw running back Trey Ragas, a Cajuns signee, said he was excited to get to work with current Cajuns running backs coach Marquase Lovings and “coach Simon” as well.
There is also an unverified Twitter account (@johnsimon31) that is believed to belong to the coach. That account’s bio lists him as a “Univ. of La. Lafayette Coach,” and the header photo features the Ragin’ Cajuns logo.
By the numbers
The Cajuns had 22 scholarships to offer in this signing class, and by the time Hudspeth met with media Wednesday afternoon, they had signed 22 players.
But that doesn’t mean the book is closed. Hudspeth said there was a possibility of adding another player, which would cause one of the previous 22 to “grayshirt,” meaning that a player would not enroll until the spring semester of 2017.
“We know of maybe one situation where one player we may end up grayshirting moving forward,” Hudspeth said. “That decision will be based on if we bring in one more.”
Asked to identify one player in the class who may not contribute immediately but may wind up playing a big role later, Hudspeth immediately went to wide receiver Calif Gossett.
“He has got exceptional ball skills, and he can really run for a tall guy,” Hudspeth said. “When you see a lot of tall guys like that, you might not think he’s very dynamic, but he’s got some dynamic ability with that size. ... That (height) range is what we’re looking for. We want our receivers big on the outside, and we’ve had some successful ones.”
Gossett was the only wide receiver the Cajuns signed this season. They signed five a year ago.
Hudspeth found a kindred spirit in junior college defensive lineman Trevara Miller, who hails from Noxapater, Mississippi — a town that had 472 residents, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
Noxapater is about 10 miles south of Hudspeth’s hometown of Louisville, Mississippi.
“He comes from what I call the 662,” Hudspeth said, referring to the area code. “Me and him had a lot of good talks about Woody’s One Stop, right there at the four-way stop in Noxapater.
“We had a lot in common, so that was fun, especially when him and his mom came down on a visit. We knew a lot of the same people, and that made it pretty neat.”