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Football: Running back Hoggins loses teeth, breaks jaw in cell-phone fall

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Aug. 15, 2017

Fifth-year senior Darius Hoggins, who went into UL’s preseason camp listed as UL’s No. 1 running back, is out about 3-to-4 weeks with a broken jaw.

   Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth called the injury “non-football-related” and said it stemmed from “sort of a freak accident” late last week.

   The Cajun coach said Hoggins, who had not yet secured the starting job, was hurt when he fell “reading his cell phone.”

   Hoggins – who did not take part in UL’s scrimmage last Saturday – also had some teeth knocked out, according to Hudspeth on Monday night.

   Hudspeth isn’t sure if Hoggins will be back in time for UL’s 2017 season opener, which comes Sept. 2 at Cajun Field against Southeastern Louisiana.

   Playing behind current New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire, the 5-foot-7, 177-pound Hoggins was UL’s third-leading rusher with 281 yards on 51 carries including a season-high 81 yards with a touchdown at New Mexico State.

   Hudspeth on Monday also said the running back position is “still wide open,” with redshirt freshman Trey Ragas and third-year sophomore Jordan Wright “running sort of with the 1s,” sophomore Raymond Calais Jr. “right behind them” and true freshman Elijah Mitchell “right in there with Calais.”

Related: Hill, Trahan, Mitchell: Decisions must be made on new Cajuns

    Even if Hoggins hadn’t gotten hurt, Hudspeth said, “I see Elijah (Mitchell) playing before it’s all said and done.”

   “I don’t know how much yet,” he said. “That is yet to-be-determined.”

   In other developments:

   * Hudspeth on Monday said Levarious Varnado, who had been listed as a No. 1 corner, has been moved back to the Slash outside linebacker/defensive position where he was last season, joining ex-safety Corey Turner there.

   He also said juco-transfer Julius Perkins, who had been working at the Slash, has been moved to inside linebacker, where the Cajuns are searching for a starter alongside T.J. Posey.

   “He’s really fast. He’s a physical guy,” Hudspeth said of Perkins. “He’s just got to learn the position.”

   Redshirt freshman Tanner Holmes, who has received frequent praise throughout camp, is another contender for the job.

Related: Once a quiet freshman, Cajun defense leader learned from predecessors

   The move of Varnado leaves ex-Slash starter Darmar’ren Mitchell and ex-Tennessee defensive back DJ Miller as UL’s top two cornerbacks, with Lorenzo Cryer having landed an apparent role as the third corner in a three-man rotation.

   “He has had the best camp,” Hudspeth said of Cryer, a fourth-year junior from Riverdale High near New Orleans who played extensively on special teams last season. “To be honest with you, he’s probably the most-improved player on defense right now. The guy is playing lights-out.”

 * Juco-transfer Andre Nunez, who seemingly went into camp as UL’s clear-cut backup quarterback, and true freshman Levi Lewis “right now are probably in a battle” for the No. 2 job at QB behind Jordan Davis, according to Hudspeth.

   But Hudspeth said the Cajuns “probably wouldn’t play (Lewis) unless there was an injury situation,” and that of right now – so as to not burn Lewis’ redshirt – it would be Nunez as the backup “if it was … just to wrap up a game.”

   * When asked, Hudspeth said the Cajuns have “no” interest in Lindsey Scott Jr., the redshirt freshman quarterback from Zachary High who as of this week is transferring away from LSU.

   “He’s a heckuva player,” Hudspeth said.

   “But we really like the kids we have. I’ve got a lot of faith in these quarterbacks we’ve got. We’ve got some really good ones.”

More: Always in playbook, new Cajuns QB waiting his turn

   In addition to Davis, Nunez and Lewis, UL also has true freshman Kadon Harrison and redshirt freshman Jake Arceneaux on scholarship.

   Much like Lewis, Hudspeth seems quite high on Harrison – but he did reiterate Monday that UL’s plans  are to redshirt the Texan.

   * Hudspeth said center Cole Prudhomme remains in the No. 1 spot at center, with juco-transfer Kordell Brewster behind him.

   UL also has been giving starting right tackle Grant Horst a look at center.

   “It is a mental thing right now with Kordell (Brewster),” Hudspeth said. “He just hasn’t been in this offense as long as Cole (Prudhomme).

   “But Cole has got a pretty good grasp. Kordell is very talented. He’s just got to make the right calls and get our offensive line all going in the right direction.

   “You’ve got to be pretty athletic to play center too. And Cole and Kordell both are very athletic,” the Cajun coach added. “But we’ve got to go with the guy that can get us going in the right direction, and change the protections, and snaps counts, and all that.”

Related: Seeking a new center, UL looking at Horst in the middle



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