Southeastern spring game: Lions fans get their first look at their team’s Ron Roberts-led defense _lowres

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- Southeastern Louisiana coach Ron Roberts

When it comes to Southeastern Louisiana’s signing class, it’s pretty straightforward.

The Lions focused on needs in assembling a 28-man class, which features seven mid-year signees and 21 who signed Wednesday.

“We went after the areas that were needed, and I’m really excited about some of the kids we got in here,” SLU coach Ron Roberts said. “I think our guys have done a good job of getting some guys that fit exactly what we’re looking for and getting some quality student-athletes.”

Southeastern went heavy on defense, signing five linemen, five linebackers and four defensive backs after losing 26 seniors from last season.

On offense, the Lions added four linemen, three receivers, two athletes, two tight ends and one each at fullback, quarterback and running back.

Fourteen players in SLU’s signing class are junior college transfers, while the other 14 will be incoming freshmen.

The defensive linemen are Greg Hardaway, an all-conference selection at Cisco College (Texas); Ronald Cherry (Washington-Marion); Aaron Kent (Edna Karr); Chauncey Davis (Chabot, Calif., College); and Marcus Flavors from Crestview (Fla.) High.

“I think we’ve got a great defensive line coming back, but a couple of these guys are going to be able to get in that hunt and fight, and some guys are going to be projects,” Roberts said.

The Lions also added five linebackers: Abraham Freeman (Iowa Western CC), Jaquandre Allen (Westgate), Jake Jiannoni (Golden West (Calif.) College), Jack Lechman (Mansfield (Texas) Lake Ridge HS) and Lee Spight (Hutchinson CC).

“We brought one in at Christmas break in Lee Spight, who’s an outside linebacker,” Roberts said. “(He’s a) pass rusher, can get on the edge, play on a tight end, do those things we expect out of him. Abraham Freeman’s an outside guy that can do the same thing.”

Roberts described Jiannoni and Lechman as “both kind of inside guys that are very active football players.”

After losing a number of starters in the secondary, Southeastern added Brayleon Thorns (Navarro College) and Jeff Williams II (Sierra College via St. Amant) at mid-year and picked up Mayori Ellison (Chabot College) and Kijuan Lee (Jewel Sumner).

“The two guys at midterm, obviously, we expect to compete for jobs right now,” Roberts said of the secondary additions. “Mayori Ellison is another one we expect to immediately fight for a job.”

SLU’s additions on offensive line include Alfred Beverly (West Brook High, Beaumont, Texas), Jermaine Jones and Chris Phillips (Northwest Miss. CC) and Landon Rayburn (Sumner). Roberts said Phillips and Beverly can both play guard or tackle.

“We wanted to get a couple of tackles in here, but the added benefit is that I think those guys can play inside,” Roberts said. “We’ve got veterans out there now, but I think the more verstality they’ve got, the better chance they’ve got to get on the field obviously a lot sooner.”

The receivers include Julius Craft (Copiah-Lincoln CC), Crowley’s Jacq’co Price and Amite’s Andrew Jones, while the athletes are Raekeal Beasley (Moorpark College) and Josh Cleveland (Navarro College).

“Raekeal Beasley is a guy that really is an athlete,” Roberts said. “He can get in the backfield. He can play slot receiver. He can move around. I think Jacq’co Price out of Crowley was a steal for us.”

The only running back is Lakedric Lee, a mid-year signee from Copiah-Lincoln CC.

“He’s physical, but he can make you miss,” Roberts said.

The tight ends are Oak Forest’s Bransen Schwebel, Mitchell Lee (Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Texas, High), and the fullback is Ezekiel Jenkins (Edmond, Okla., Santa Fe High).

“We see him more of as an on the ball, hand in the ground guy — can flex out and do some things for us. He brings some unique ability there,” Roberts said of Schwebel. “Zeke Jenkins is more of a fullback, a (former SLU fullback) Juwaan Rogers-type kid that we really missed last year when he (Rogers) went down.”

The lone quarterback in the class is Catholic’s Ian Brian, who led the Bears to a Divsion I state title last season.

“I think he has a lot of intangibles, and I think he’s going to come in here with a chance to compete for the job,” Roberts said. “He gives us depth at that position, and I think you’re going to see him in a few years be an impact player.”