Behind Raymond Calais, Cecilia moves closer to district crown with win over Breaux Bridge _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Cecilia's Raymond Calais Jr. (5) tries to avoid Breaux Bridge defender Peyton Broussard in October 2015.

LAFAYETTE — Raymond Calais has committed to stay home.

Cecilia’s star running back Monday night announced his commitment to Louisiana-Lafayette on Twitter, saying that the pull to stay home was too strong to ignore.

“My parents really enjoyed UL, and recently my dad had back surgery,” Calais said. “So traveling is a problem for him, and having both of my parents at my games is really important to me.

“UL, personally, I felt that was the best place for me. Not only is it close to home, but I developed a great relationship with coach (Mark Hudspeth), coach Reed (Stringer) and coach (Marquase) Lovings. It was the right place.”

Calais became the 17th commitment for the Cajuns’ 2016 class. He also had offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Southern, Southern Miss, Nicholls State and McNeese State.

This is big news in a small package for the Cajuns, who hauled in a running back who rolled up eye-popping numbers in their backyard the past two seasons.

The 170-pound Calais averaged 11 yards per carry as he ran for 2,618 yards and sprinted to 31 touchdowns in his senior season.

That followed a junior season in which he ran for 2,228 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He was an all-state honoree in each of the past two seasons and was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A Offensive MVP this season. Calais was The Advocate’s All-Acadiana Offensive MVP each of the past two seasons.

It was a somewhat odd recruiting journey for Calais, who said schools didn’t start recruiting him until right before his senior season, and even then, most did not extend a scholarship offer.

He said he didn’t get his first scholarship offer until October 2015.

Calais’ greatest weapon is his speed, which he’s showcased off the football field while starring as a sprinter on Cecilia’s track team.

In his junior season, he ran a 10.79-second 100-meter sprint in the Region II-4A championships, then followed it up with a blistering 10.57-second dash at the state championships to finish third in the state.

That speed was evident on the football fields of Acadiana this fall whenever Calais turned the corner.

Despite his relatively slight build, Calais wasn’t easy to bring down between the tackles either. The Bulldogs used Calais as the focal point of his offense, and he was always ready for more.

“(The Cajuns coaches) told me not to worry about my size because they were going to get me big,” Calais said. “They watched my film and they saw how many times I carried the ball — I carried it 20 or 30 times a game each week and I was still ready to go the following week.”

Calais became the third local player to pledge to the Cajuns, joining Breaux Bridge linebacker Korey Louis and Ascension Episcopal quarterback Jake Arceneaux. He said this is his final decision.