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Football: Hudspeth playing despite third ACL tear on same knee

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Aug. 19, 2016

How he’s doing it, even his own father is not sure.

But UL holder and reserve quarterback Gunner Hudspeth somehow is fully taking part in preseason camp with the Ragin’ Cajuns, despite an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that has been surgically repaired twice and is now torn again.

Hudspeth, currently UL’s No. 2 holder behind Sterling Miller, continues to take reps at QB with the Cajuns’ third-teamers while wearing a brace on his damaged right knee.

“I don’t get it, because he’s running full speed out there at practice,” said Mark Hudspeth, Hudspeth’s dad and the Cajuns’ head coach.

UL learned earlier in camp that Hudspeth had re-torn the ACL sometime during the offseason, but it can’t be pinpointed precisely when that happened.

Mark Hudspeth previously said a third surgery could be an option for his son and that further medical evaluation was planned, but Gunner — who redshirted as a freshman last season — has decided instead to continue playing.

That’s mindboggling, because the ACL is the primary stabilizing ligament in the knee for turning or planting. A torn ACL usually is a season-ending injury.

“He’s not cutting a whole lot right now, because the trainers wants him to rehab it, get it a little bit stronger,” Mark Hudspeth said. “The doctors did say that the two previous surgeries, with all the scar tissue that’s built up, (are) somewhat serving as protection.

“He’s gonna play. He wants to play. … Right now he’s holding field goals for the second team, and competing there, and he’ll be one of the scout-team quarterbacks this fall. … So, he’s dead-set on contributing to the team.”

Hudspeth is a product of Kirk Academy in Mississippi, where he played football and basketball and ran track.

He’s been taking reps throughout preseason camp as one of UL’s Nos. 4, 5 and 6 quarterbacks along with redshirt freshman Dion Ray — who was UL’s scout-team offensive MVP last season — and true freshman Jake Arceneaux.


A candidate to start at wide receiver opposite of Ja’Marcus Bradley appears to be emerging for the Cajuns, who begin their 2016 season Sept. 3 against Boise State.

Mark Hudspeth on Thursday said Michael Jacquet, a redshirt freshman from Beaumont Central High in Texas, is “leading the way.”

“He had made some circus catches in the last couple weeks and is doing a good job,” Hudspeth said, “so hopefully he can maintain that level of play.”

Hudspeth previously suggested Bradley, who also was redshirted as a freshman, is in line to start as well.


Hudspeth on Thursday suggested he’s looking for more from true freshman running back Raymond Calais Jr., a Cecilia High product who has garnered his fair share of positive publicity through the first couple weeks of preseason camp.

“He’d had some really good days, and I told him I thought he might have been reading the paper too much,” Hudspeth said.

“The thing with those young guys is ‘consistency every day,’ ” the Cajun coach added. “We want guys to maintain a high level day, and not be guys that are up and down.”

Sun Belt Conference-member Georgia State and  its development partners have agreed to buy Turner Field in Atlanta for $30 million and will convert it to a football stadium for the Panthers after MLB’s Atlanta Braves move to a new suburban stadium at the end of the year, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Thursday.

The renovated stadium will be part of a larger $200 million property redevelopment project for the school that will include a new Georgia State baseball stadium, academic buildings, student housing, shops and restaurants, Atlanta TV station WSB reported Thursday.

It is expected to be ready for play in 2017.

Georgia State currently plays its home football games in the Georgia Dome, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons until they move next year into a new and an under-construction stadium of their own.


Hudspeth on Thursday’s morning practice, the first of two on UL’s final day of two-a-days: “I thought we had effort, plus everybody their assignment.” The Cajun coach seemed especially happy with his defense Thursday morning. … Tracy Walker, a safety now working as a starting outside linebacker, picked off a pass and wideout Keenan Barnes had a nifty catch late in the morning practice. … Reserve offensive tackle Staten Wade remained in black injured-player jersey Thursday morning, but starting right tackle Grant Horst – who missed Sunday’s scrimmage with an injury — has been back at practice this week. … True freshman tight end Cody Mitchell was wearing a black injured-player jersey again Thursday morning.