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UL wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Leger's previous recruiting experience with Houston native Golden Eke paid dividends when the former OKlahoma track and field athlete elected to seek out an option to compete in both football and track in college.

UL's new two-sport athlete Golden Eke was a first-team All-District football performer at Langham Creek High in Houston.

He also happened to sport the second-best mark in the nation with a triple jump of 24-2.

So while the mid-major football offers came, the track and field offers from Power Five programs were more enticing at the time for Eke.

So he chose Oklahoma’s track and field program, which also gave him a chance to walk on the football team.

That made his decision even easier. At least it appeared like he wouldn’t actually have to choose between the two sports he loved.

Upon arriving in Norman, the football door wasn’t closed, but his track coach wanted Eke to get his feet under him for a year before heading to the gridiron.

But after that year, Oklahoma’s head track coach left and the replacement asked him to do the same thing.

Eke didn’t want to wait another season to play football, so he surveyed his college football options.

Immediately his mind went back to a coach he connected with at UL-Monroe in Tim Leger.

These days, Leger is the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the Ragin’ Cajuns. That was even closer to his home in Houston.

Eke was sold, so now his plans are to compete in football as well as track and field in Lafayette.

“Just having that true love to play football, I wanted to have the opportunity to do both,” Eke said of his decision to join the Cajuns.

It's unclear if Eke will be eligible for the football team this fall, although that is expected, but he’ll have three years of eligibility left either way.

In track and field, he’ll have two more years with an extra outdoor season because of the coronavirus eliminating this past spring for him at Oklahoma.

“Coach Leger came to my games in high school and we had a really good relationship right off the bat,” Eke said.

Had he chosen football out of high school, Eke said it was down to ULM and Arizona. The problem with Arizona is its new football coach was “fond of me being a two-sport athlete.”

Eke was an Academic All-State performer in both football and track in high school.

“No, I’m not worried about doing both,” he said. “Technically, I’m a junior when it comes to academics. I know what it takes to balance with the school work. It’s not as bad as people think, as long as you’re good at clock management.”

Eke also feels like he won’t be as rusty as some expect in football. During his entire first season at Oklahoma, he continued to do football drills.

“To be honest, I only got out of football training last year,” he said. “I would go up there (football facility) late at night and run routes by myself.”

In other words, the football bug kept him up wondering at night.

“Yes, definitely … every night actually,” said Eke, who insists it’ll be more like “picking up where I left off” than knocking off the rust when he returns to the football field.

Eke was primarily a deep threat as a wide receiver with 4.32 speed. Believe it or not, he feels like he’s even faster now.

“Honestly, I think I’m faster with the proper running mechanics Oklahoma taught me,” Eke said. “I feel like I’m faster now.”

Eke said he remained in excellent condition through the coronavirus shutdown.

“I’ll definitely be ready,” he said. “There are two types of athletes. There are athletes who are all in when it comes to mandatory practices and then there are the athletes who are all in when it doesn’t count. I feel like I’m one of those guys who are all in when it doesn’t count. When COVID happened, I was lucky enough to have an indoor facility that I could train in.

“So I feel like I’m going to be ahead of some of the guys.”

UL assistant coach Tommy Badon said he’s expected to compete in the long jump and the triple jump for the Cajuns and potentially even run on a relay team.

“He’s definitely going to help us,” Badon said. “We’re excited about it.”


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.