Louisiana places 9 players on LSWA Teams

Press release from UL athletics website:

Six of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ nine selections garnered First Team recognition

LAFAYETTE – Nine members of the Louisiana Football team were recognized for their efforts during the 2019 season when they earned spots on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s (LSWA) All-Louisiana Teams.

Of the nine selections, Kevin Dotson, Robert Hunt, Elijah Mitchell, Jacques Boudreaux, Rhys Byrns and Raymond Calais earned first-team honors, while Ja’Marcus Bradley and Zi’Yon Hill were named to the second team. Joe Dillon rounded out the team’s honorees with a spot on the honorable mention team.

Dotson was one of three back-to-back selections on this year’s LSWA Teams and recently earned his 51st start on the offensive line against Appalachian State on Dec. 7. During the season, he helped pave the way for a Louisiana ground attack which ranks second nationally in yards per carry (6.39), third nationally in rushing touchdowns (41), seventh nationally in rushing yards per game (265.3) and fifth nationally in total rushing yards (3,449).

The redshirt senior offensive lineman picked up numerous postseason honors, including becoming Louisiana’s first-ever Associated Press First Team All-American. He also picked up All-America recognition from USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus and Sporting News.

Joining Dotson on the first team was Hunt, who also helped pave the way for a Louisiana ground attack. Along with his senior counterpart, Hunt was part of an offensive line that ranks eighth nationally and first in the Sun Belt in sacks allowed (1.15). After a stellar senior campaign, he was invited to the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl, the first Ragin’ Cajun to be invited to the postseason all-star game since Tracey Walker and was also recognized by Pro Football Focus as a Midseason Second Team All-America selection.

Mitchell was Louisiana’s most productive runner during the regular season, becoming the sixth Ragin’ Cajun to rush for over 1,000 yards with 1,092 on the season and leading the team with 15 rushing touchdowns, ranking him second in the league and 12th in FBS. Mitchell’s best game came on Oct. 17 at Arkansas State when he carried the ball 17 times for 143 yards and three scores, earning him Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week honors. He finished the year as a Second Team All-Sun Belt selection.

The team’s lone defensive selection on the first team was Boudreaux. The senior had a career year, anchoring one of the best defensive units in the Sun Belt Conference, tallying 102 total tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, 0.5 sacks, four pass break-ups and a forced fumble. He posted a career-high 13 tackles and passed the century mark in total tackles for the first time in his four-year career at Louisiana. Not only did Boudreaux become the first Ragin’ Cajun since Tre’Maine Lightfoot in 2016 to post a 100+ tackle season, he tallied the most tackles in a single-season since Justin Anderson in 2013, while also recording six double-digit tackle games this season, the most since Justin Anderson in 2012.

Byrns earned first team honors despite only punting in 11 of the team’s 14 contests in 2019. Byrns owns the second highest yards-per-punt average in the conference (44.1) and is just one of four punters to record a punt of 70 or more yards this season. In just 38 punting attempts, Byrns has downed 14 balls inside the 20-yard line, which is accounts for 36.84% of his total punts. He is currently on pace to set the school record for punt average in a single season.

Calais also earned first team honors as a return specialist by averaging a whopping 29.4 yards per kickoff return, which leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks fourth in the nation. Calais has amassed 500 total kick return yards on 17 returns and sits just 136 yards behind the conference clubhouse lead for the kickoff return yards. Calais has also managed to tally six kick returns of 30+ yards on the year. He recently recorded his longest return of the season against South Alabama, going for 60 yards which led to a Louisiana touchdown.

Bradley has produced 818 receiving yards on 53 catches this season, ranking him third in the Sun Belt Conference. The wideout brought in eight touchdowns on the year, good for fourth in league and the most on the team. Entering the bowl game, Bradley is tied for third all-time in receiving touchdowns (21), needing just two more to move into second place.

Hill tallied 47 total tackles in 2019, ranking him fourth on the Louisiana squad, while notching 2.0 sacks. Hill posted a season-high seven tackles three times, producing those performances in back-to-back games against Appalachian State (Oct. 9) and Arkansas State (Oct 17) and then again against Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Conference Championship on Dec. 7.

Dillon, who earned a spot on the Honorable Mention team, dazzled with his pass rushing abilities, recording 7.0 sacks this year, ranking him third in the conference. He is currently tied for sixth on the team with 40 total tackles. Most notably, Dillon is quickly chasing down the all-time sacks record in school history and is just 3.0 away from the all-time lead.

The 2019 Sun Belt West Division Champion Ragin’ Cajuns close out the 2019 season against Mid-American Conference Champions Miami (Ohio) in the 21st Annual LendingTree Bowl on Monday, Jan. 6. Kickoff for the primetime matchup in Mobile, Ala., is slated for 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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