Dabari Hawkins was contemplating a verbal commitment when he arrived in Lafayette last weekend for UL's recruiting cookout, and the 6-foot-3 cornerback departed the campus as a future Ragin' Cajun.
"I had it in mind that I was going to commit when I went for the cookout," Hawkins said. "I told my family I was leaning towards it. They said that if the cookout went well, I should go ahead and do it."
Hawkins was able to inform coach Billy Napier face-to-face of his desire to join the program.
"Coach Napier was the first person I told," Hawkins said. "I was talking to him in his office. When I told him I was committing, he got out of his seat real fast and had a big smile on his face.
"He shook my hand and as soon as we walked out the door, he said, 'We got us one!'"
The Cajuns are intrigued by Hawkins' size.
"Coach Napier said they have a lot of good corners, but they want to add length at the position," he said. "With that focus, it made me a perfect prospect for the 2020 class.
"I was first-team all-district last year. I can move around the field. I played some safety but mostly corner. I like to get physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage."
Hawkins collected 50 tackles last year with two interceptions.
"Most teams weren't throwing my way," he said.
The Cajuns extended a scholarship offer in May to Hawkins, who says he picked UL over the Southeastern Conference.
"I was considering Vanderbilt, but the coaches at UL made the difference," said the Stafford, Texas, native. "Back in June, coach Napier said (Houston) was one of the primary areas they wanted to recruit because we have a different caliber of players.
"UL made me feel at home, and I'm a great fit for what they need. I've been to Power 5 schools and UL's facilities are right up there along with them in terms of appearance and cleanliness."
In the days leading up to the cookout, Hawkins put together a list of pros and cons for each school under consideration by the three-star prospect.
"A big pro that stood out about UL was the fact that they're willing to give me the opportunity to play my first year," he said. "I feel like I'll be able to earn my spot in the spring. That would be great.
"Coach Napier is a really strong head coach who has a lot of experience under other great coaches. He has something special building — something nice."