LAFAYETTE — One potential addition at running back for the Louisiana-Lafayette football squad wasn’t listed on Wednesday’s signee breakdown.
Former LSU running back Jeryl Brazil is enrolled at UL-Lafayette and on scholarship with the Ragin’ Cajuns track and field team, figuring to be a part of that squad during the outdoor season.
Brazil was listed on some national recruiting services as a Cajun football commitment, but coach Mark Hudspeth said that Brazil will not count toward this year’s class even if he does decide to pursue football in the future.
“He’s not involved with football at any level right now,” Hudspeth said. “Once track is over, I understand that he wants to give football a shot. He’s obviously talented and we hope that’s what happens. But we haven’t had any discussions, and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Brazil, a product of Loranger, was ESPN’s No. 60 high school recruit in the country in 2013 and was a seven-time state sprint champion as a prep. He was dismissed from the LSU football team in 2013 after multiple scrapes with the law, and played football as a defensive back at East Mississippi Community College last fall.
Only eight of the Cajuns’ 24-member signee class were from Louisiana, including three Acadiana-area products — kicker Stevie Artigue of Lafayette High, defensive back Ethan Rose of Northside and center Cole Prudhomme of Eunice.
Hudspeth said that all three were impressive in UL-Lafayette’s summer camps, but added that being a local product sometimes puts undue burden on players.
“The negative part of being close to a university, any university, is you can get over-evaluated,” he said. “Sometimes you can find out too much because you’re so familiar with them.
“That’s not the case with these guys. Stevie can compete right away at kicker, Rose is one tough competitor with a great skill set, and we’ve had some good centers here and Cole can be that type, an outstanding player and leader.”
Rose played both ways for Northside’s Vikings, accounting for 18 scores as a senior and also grabbing three interceptions. He’s projected as a defensive back and was a three-star recruit by 247sports.com.
“It all worked out real well for him,” said Vikings coach and former LSU standout Trev Faulk. “UL’s had unprecedented success the last four years, and he gets to stay close to home, get a good education and play in a program that’s been very, very successful. In his particular situation, it’s an area where they’re losing guys, I think the timing worked out well for him to go in and try to compete.”
With the contacts that Hudspeth, a native of Louisville, Mississippi, and several members of the UL-Lafayette staff still have in Mississippi, it comes as no surprise that the Cajuns had six Magnolia State signees. The Cajuns had five Mississippi signees last year.
Success in the hunt
The Cajuns had a surprise name pop up during Wednesday’s signees. Offensive lineman Robert Hunt of Burkeville, Texas, had not been listed on any commitment list going into national signing day, but he was one that the Cajuns coaches discovered in their own camp.
“He should be going to the University of Texas,” said recruiting coordinator Reed Stringer, “but for some reason he fell through the cracks.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Hunt only attended one college camp. He also averaged 25 points for the Burkeville basketball team.
“He played at a small school way out in the country,” Hudspeth said. “It’s hard to get at. I think there’s only about 500 people in the town, and there were only 18 guys on the whole team.
“Reed came to me during camp last summer and said, ‘Coach, you’ve got to come down to the other end of the building and see this kid.’ I said, ‘I would in a minute,’ and he said, ‘No, coach, you have to come right now.’ I’m glad he made me, because you could see his abilities and potential … his upside is through the ceiling.”
One more QB
The Cajuns signed a pair of high school quarterbacks in Dion Ray of New Orleans’ Helen Cox and Chris Weaver of Saraland, Alabama. But there was one other who cast his lot with UL-Lafayette at a Wednesday ceremony at his high school, and will enroll as a walk-on quarterback this fall.
Gunner Hudspeth, the coach’s oldest son, is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound product of Kirk Academy in Grenada, Mississippi.
“Really looking forward to having him here,” the elder Hudspeth said.