The Ragin' Cajuns signed 10 players from the state of Louisiana with five from Texas, three from Mississippi and one each from Alabama, Florida, New York and North Carolina. Five of the 22 signees are junior college transfers with 14 players signed to the defensive side.
"It's an exciting time for our program," Hudspeth said. "It's always exciting this time of the year when a lot of young men's dreams come true, when they get a chance to sign a Division I scholarship. Our coaching staff has worked awfully hard, I'm really proud of them.
"I felt like we signed an outstanding recruiting class. I feel like we really hit the mark on what we needed to address in terms of immediate needs at some positions, and also at some positions where we feel we have time to develop some players too."
Junior college players Denarius Howard, Jarvis Jeffries, Trev Miller, Kevon Perry and Artez Williams were all brought in to help shore up a defense that lost three starters for second-year defensive coordinator Melvin Smith, including All-Sun Belt Conference linebacker Dominique Tovell.
"We were able to get some needed help in the secondary via junior college transfers," Hudspeth said. "Also on the defensive line, especially some defensive end-active guys that can create some pass rush, and I think we got that with Jarvis Jeffries."
On the offensive side, the Ragin' Cajuns inked a pair of heralded running backs, Raymond Calais and Trey Ragas, along with adding quarterback Jake Arceneaux – a Lafayette native who played for former Ragin' Cajuns quarterback Michael Desormeaux at Ascension Episcopal.A pair of skill players – wide receiver Calif Gossett and tight end Cody Mitchell – were added to the class, with offensive linemen Kendall Baker, Randon Haynes and Akkai Ward bolstering an area that lost two starters.
Louisiana added a run-stuffer on the defensive line, as high school product Tra'Vontae Booker recorded 76 tackles with 26 stops for loss as a senior at East Feliciana High School. Jacques Boudreaux, Tanner Holmes, Korey Louis and Nic Wiggins were new members in the linebacking corp with Dontrell Allen, Blair Brooks, Edward Hayes and Damar'ren Mitchell joining a new look secondary that returns All-Sun Belt performer Savion Brown.
2016 LOUISIANA RAGIN' CAJUNS FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS
Dontrell Allen, DB, 6-0, 180 – Thibodaux, La. (East St. John HS) A three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Scout.com … a two-star recruit by Rivals … rated as the No. 8 cornerback prospect in the state of Louisiana, No. 28 in the south and No. 83 nationally by Scout … ran a 6.9 second 60-meter dash at the 2015 LHSAA Indoor State Championships … coached at ESJHS by Alden Foster … graduated from Thibodaux High School.
Jake Arceneaux, QB, 6-2, 190 – Lafayette, La. (Ascension Episcopal) A three-star prospect by 247Sports … coached at AES by former Ragin' Cajuns quarterback Michael Desormeaux … a second-team all-district selection in 2015 … helped 9-1 team reach Division 4 semifinals … rated at No. 10 on the Daily Advertiser list of Acadiana-area recruits … played in LHSCA All-Star Game in Baton Rouge … second-team Daily Advertiser All-Acadiana pick … a first-team District 7-1A pick and Class 1A All-State honorable mention … rated as the No. 71 pro-style quarterback in the country according to 247Sports.com … finished 125-of-227 passing for 1,886 yards with 19 touchdowns as a junior for the Blue Gators.
Kendall Baker, OL, 6-5, 281 – McCalla, Ala. (McAdory HS) A two-star recruit by Scout.com … helped the Yellowjackets to a 10-2 record in 2015, the Class 6A Region 4 title and second-round of state playoffs … coached by David Powell.
Tra'Vontae Booker, DL, 6-4, 330 – Jackson, La. (East Feliciana HS) A two-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals … a two-way starter at East Feliciana High School … a four-year starter and two-time All-District 6-2A selection … helped the Tigers to a district championship and berth in the Class 2A state regional playoffs … selected to play in the LHSA All-Star Game … a Baton Rouge Advocate All-Metro selection … had 76 total tackles including 24.0 for loss with 8.0 sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior … named LSWA Class 2A honorable mention all-state and LFCA second team All-State.
Jacques Boudreaux, LB, 6-1, 228 – New Orleans, La. (Holy Cross HS) Recorded 131 tackles (81 solo) with three sacks, two fumble recoveries and 15 quarterback hurries as a senior at Holy Cross … named a team captain for the Tigers … rated as a two-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals … rated as the No. 94 inside linebacker nationally by 247Sports … had 80 tackles (53 solo) with one quarterback hurry and one interception as a junior.
Blair Brooks, DB, 6-1, 190 – Thibodaux, La. (Thibodaux HS) A three-star prospect by 247Sports and a two-star recruit by Rivals … Recorded 107 total tackles (69 solo, 38 assists), four tackles for loss and two interceptions as a junior … helped lead THS to a 10-2 record and a trip to the second-round of the Class 5A playoffs … a two-time, first-team All-District and The Courier/Daily Comet All-Region honors … named honorable mention on the Class 5A All-State team.
Raymond Calais, RB, 5-9, 185 – Breaux Bridge, La. (Cecilia HS) School-record holder in rushing at Cecilia High School, gaining nearly 5,000 yards in his final two seasons at Cecilia High School where he was selected as the Class 4A All-State Offensive MVP as a senior … a two-star prospect by Rivals and 247Sports … coached by Terry Martin … helped the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record, a district title and berth in the Class 4A state playoffs … named The Advocate's All-Acadiana Offensive MVP each of the past two seasons … gained 2,681 yards on the ground with 31 touchdowns as a senior … rushed for 2,228 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior.
Calif Gossett, WR, 6-5, 180 – Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola HS) Rated as a two-star prospect by Scout.com … a second-team receiver on the Pensacola News Journal All-Area team … played in Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game … also picked to play in the Subway All-Star Football Game.
Edward Hayes, DB, 6-1, 185 – Coldspring, Texas (Coldspring-Oakhurst HS) Rated by 247Sports as the No. 80 safety recruit in the country … a first-team APSE Texas Class 4A pick, and a district MVP … had 82 tackles, eight interceptions (including three TDs) and two fumble recoveries last season … helped team to 7-5 record.
Randon Haynes, OL, 6-4, 330 – Waxahachie, Texas (Waxahachie HS) Rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and a two-star recruit by Rivals … named a first-team All-District 14-5A selection by the Dallas Morning News … earned second-team all-district honors as a junior defensive tackle.
Tanner Holmes, LB, 6-1, 205 – Newton, Texas (Newton HS) Named to the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 3A All-State team after making 134 total tackles with 4.0 sacks in 12 games as a senior … listed as the No. 82 inside linebacker recruit in the country by 247Sports … named the District Defensive MVP … a Class 3A TSWA first-team All State and Class 3A APSE All-State honorable mention as a junior … had 167 total tackles with 42.0 TFLs including 7.0 sacks in 16 games.
Denarius Howard, DB, 6-0, 190 – Greenwood, Miss. (Mississippi Delta JC/ West Tallahatchie HS) A first-team MACJC all-state and NJCAA all-region pick in 2015 … named the 2015 Mississippi Junior College Defensive Player of the Year ... had four interceptions in 2014 and three in 2015 … a Juco teammate of signee Jarvis Jeffries … also played running back in high school.
Jarvis Jeffries, DL, 6-3, 245 – Gastonia, N.C. (Mississippi Delta JC) Recorded 107 total tackles including 7.0 sacks and nine forced fumbles as a high school senior in 2013 … an off-the-edge pass rusher … was a junior college teammate of Ragin' Cajuns signee Denarius Howard.
Korey Louis, LB, 6-2, 200 – Breaux Bridge, La. (Breaux Bridge HS) A second team All-Acadiana pick by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser … named to the Baton Rouge Advocate All-Metro team … rated at No. 11 on Daily Advertiser list of top Acadiana-area recruits … played a combo off-the-edge/inside role as a senior … older brother, Lamar Louis, played at LSU … rated as the No. 87 outside linebacker recruit in the country by 247Sports … helped BBHS to the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
Trevara Miller, DL, 6-1, 283 – Noxapater, Miss. (Itawamba CC/Noxapater HS) Recorded 31 tackles (22 solo) with nine tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble for Itawamba Community College … earned MACJC North All-State Second Team honors … recorded 27 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as a freshman for the Indians.
Cody Mitchell, TE, 6-5, 236 – Jasper, Texas (Jasper HS) Rated as the No. 71 tight end prospect nationally by 247Sports … rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports … listed as a two-star prospect by Scout … helped JHS to a 7-5 record … was a first-team All-District 10-4A Division I selection as a junior.
Damar'ren Mitchell, DB, 5-11, 185 – Magnolia, Texas (Magnolia West HS) Rated as a two-star prospect Rivals, 247Sports and Scout … helped team to an 8-4 record … recorded 103 tackles with four forced fumbles and four interceptions as a junior … was the District 19-5A All-Purpose MVP and also a first-team all-district selection at defensive back as a junior … also a member of the track team.
Kevon Perry, DL, 6-1, 290 – Buffalo, N.Y. (Allan Hancock JC/Burgard Vocational) Recorded 74 total tackles, including 8.0 sacks with two forced fumbles, as a sophomore at Allan Hancock (Calif.) JC … selected as the Class B North Defensive Player of the Year on the Buffalo News' 2013 All-Western New York league team. … Prior to the 2015 season, listed among the top 22 juco defensive tackles in Southern California by JCFootball.com.
Trey Ragas, RB, 5-11, 210 – New Orleans, La. (Archbishop Shaw HS) A three-star prospect by 247Sports and a two-star prospect by Rivals … the all-time leading rusher in Archbishop Shaw's illustrious prep history … rushed for 1,928 yards and accounted for 21 TDs as a senior for the Eagles … a three-year letterwinner at Shaw for head coach Scott Bairnsfather … a two-time member on the New Orleans Advocate All-Metro team … named honorable mention Class 5A All-State as a senior … a first-team Class 5A All-State selection and the Offensive Player of the Year in the Catholic League as a junior, rushing for 1,813 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Akkai Ward, OL, 6-3, 310 – Brusly, La. (Brusly HS) Three-year starter at Brusly High School … a first-team All-District 6-3A selection as a senior … rated as the No. 21 offensive lineman in Louisiana by VarsityPreps.com … coached by Marc Brown.
Nic Wiggins, LB, 6-1, 210 – Baton Rouge, La. (McKinley HS) Rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals … three-year starter as a at tight end and defensive end at McKinley High School … earned second team All-District 5-5A honors at defensive end in 2014 … four-year letter winner for McKinley's basketball program, helping the Panthers to the Class 5A state playoffs.
Artez Williams, DB, 6-0, 185 – Greenwood, Miss. (Itawamba JC/Greenwood HS) Played in 10 games as a sophomore at Itawamba Community College … recorded 30 tackles (29 solo) on the season … posted a season-high nine tackles with one stop for loss against No. 6 East Mississippi CC … originally signed with Central Arkansas and played in 12 games as a freshman for the Bears … recorded interceptions in games for UCA against Texas Tech and Lamar … named to the 247Sports All-State All-Prospect Team in 2013.