With the college football season officially concluding, fresh faces come in, and we say goodbye to some familiar faces. No university is immune to this, and today we’re going to look at the 2023 Ragin’ Cajuns recruiting class highlights while, at the same time, saying goodbye to faces that we have known and loved.
Trey Fite, a linebacker transfer from SMU, fills a need for the Cajuns after star linebacker Andre Jones graduated and declared for the NFL Draft. Fite did not record any meaningful stats as a freshman at SMU, but in high school he was a pure athlete. He competed in basketball, track and field, and of course football. Standing at 6-foot-5, 210 lbs, he is someone that excels in getting into the backfield and making the tackle for loss with a quick burst of speed.
After being somewhat underutilized in coach Mike Desormeaux’s new offense, Dontae Fleming felt it was best to find greener pastures elsewhere. Fittingly enough, he transferred to his hometown team, the Tulane Green Wave. With Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt returning for another season, the Green Wave have a chance to build upon their Cotton Bowl-winning 2022 season and could possibly be the Group of 5’s next chance at cracking into the College Football Playoffs.
Already the second-highest ranked recruit in Cajuns’ history, three-star wideout Harvey Broussard from St. Martinville Senior High originally committed to the Memphis Tigers before decommitting on Dec. 5, 2022. He shows the quickness and agility that made him not only a dangerous punt and kick returner but a deep threat that can burn any opposing cornerback. However, his route running is something that could be improved upon.
Without a doubt, cornerback Eric Garror, who declared for the NFL Draft, is one of the best return men in Cajuns’ history. He has a quickness with the ball and shows excellent vision, following set-up blocks and making him a threat even when he doesn’t score. The best NFL comparison I can give to him is a player like Kevontae Turpin, a wide receiver and return man for the Dallas Cowboys.
Joining the running back room, three-star recruit Elijah Davis from Riverside Academy strikes me as a power back. He’s not necessarily the fastest, but he easily sheds tackles like it’s nobody’s business. In a running back room that loses Chris Smith, but keeps talent like Dre’Lyn Washington and Jacob Kibodi, I expect Davis to be a special teams player or on the bench until there’s a blowout for the first few weeks of the 2023 season,
The biggest question I had while watching tight end Johnny Lumpkin’s career is a simple one: Where was he? He seemed to be extremely underutilized, whether it was in Billy Napier’s or Mike Desormeaux’s offense. While initially touted as a third-round prospect, his lack of production is the sole reason he may not be drafted at all or become a spring league player. If I had to give a comparison to a pro, I would choose Sal Cannella of the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.
The job of replacing Lumpkin will fall on the versatile Ty Stamey, a three-star recruit from Klein Collins High School in Texas. He’s a wild card on offense: a good blocking tight end, but can also make plays in the catching game. He’s a good replacement for Johnny Lumpkin, but I do fear that he will be underutilized as other tight ends have been in the last few years of Cajuns football.
A running back who did it all, Chris Smith is the final star from the historic 2020 season to declare for the NFL Draft. He had more than 1,500 kickoff return yards, 1,200 rushing yards, and was also a good receiving back in his time at Louisiana. However, he will primarily be a return man or a receiver if he makes the NFL. My pro comparison would be Brian Mitchell, who is most famous for his days in Washington.