For the Cajuns this season, a focal point in their success has been the production of the young players on this roster. Offensively, it has been the Emani Bailey and Montrell Johnson show leading the run game.
The true freshmen one-two punch has been huge for Coach Billy Napier’s offense, taking pressure off of senior quarterback Levi Lewis. Expanding the run game gives Lewis the opportunity to dive deeper into the playbook to keep defenses on their toes every snap.
As receiver, sophomore Kyren Lacy has shown in his first two seasons how he’s capable of being a force for years to come. His sheer strength and ability to reach the ball at its highest point is what gives him the chance to be a special receiver coming out of the Sun Belt.
An elite recruit out of high school, the success of Lacy has come as no surprise. Still looking to improve on his consistency, he’s a special talent with a chance to break out for the Cajuns this season.
On defense, with standout defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill out due to injury, Cajun fans have gotten a taste of the younger players on this roster. The line has done an incredible job of stopping the run game of opponents and limiting their chances on a consistent basis.
The success Coach Napier has had in the recruiting game is showing. Signing elite talent and giving kids the chance to get playing time in so young is what makes the Cajuns such an attractive destination.
Ask sophomore cornerback Trey Amos. The talented defensive back chose to play for the Cajuns over SEC schools such as Tennessee and many other dominant programs. As a true freshman a season ago, Amos saw action in all 11 games, even coming up with an interception, looking to translate that success to this year.
This defense has young talent all over, but it’s the offensive young studs who have made an impact to this point. Montrell Johnson leading the rushing attack has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Racking up four touchdowns against Ohio, it was his breakout game with more success on the horizon.
This staff sees Johnson as the next great back out of Acadiana. After pushing both Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas to the NFL last season, the Cajuns are beginning to build quite the resume of talented backs.
As Napier continues to excel in the recruiting game and getting highly touted players, their effectiveness will become more and more prominent. With players passing up chances to play at big schools in order to get immediate playing time here, it seems like this could be the new norm.
The young players on this roster look to dominate the rest of this season and make their mark for years to come. With Johnson leading this freshman group, it’s only a matter of time until the success of this unit reaches its max potential.
Story: Zachary Nagy