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Football: QB confusion - Why UL lists Ray next to Davis as UL No. 1

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Aug. 19, 2017

One day before holding a closed preseason camp-ending scrimmage Saturday, UL released an updated depth with one rather curious notation at quarterback.

Next to the name of No. 1 QB Jordan Davis also is that of third-year sophomore Dion Ray, who had been listed as the Ragin’ Cajuns' No. 3 QB going into camp.

Ray was used last season as a Wildcat QB, lining up behind center but used for all practical purposes as a direct-snap running back. Davis, a fourth-year junior, was awarded the starting job coming out of spring practice.

The Cajuns later issued a clarification, saying “there is a special package installed for Dion Ray (10-12 snaps per game as Wildcat QB)” and “that is why he is listed alongside Jordan Davis at No. 1.”

The revised depth chart still has juco-transfer Andre Nunez listed as UL’s No. 2 quarterback.

Davis, Hudspeth said after Friday’s camp practice, won't be live in Saturday’s scrimmage.

The Cajuns’ other quarterbacks, however, will.

More: As Cajun camp opens, a confident Davis knows he'll start

Related: UL quarterback Davis wins the job

More: The smile on Cajun quarterback Ray's face said it all

Meanwhile, still seeking a successor to 2016 senior Tre’maine Lightfoot at its Will inside linebacker position, UL on Friday announced the signing of juco-transfer Justin Middleton, a 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College.

The addition comes with the Cajuns only about two weeks away from their 2017 season-opener on Sept. 2 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Ferrod Gardner, a former Missouri redshirt walk-on, had been projected to start at the Will for UL. But he’s now out after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a foot injury sustained early in the Cajuns’ preseason camp.

Hudspeth said sophomore Tanner Holmes is “the leading candidate to be the starter right now” among a pack of contenders for the job, with juco-transfer Julius Perkins — recently moved from UL’s Slash outside linebacker/defensive back spot — currently listed as his backup.

But Hudspeth said the battle remains unsettled, and suggested Middleton was signed both for depth and to compete for playing time.

“We had a scholarship available so we brought in Justin,” Hudspeth said. “He’s a guy that had, really, a heckuva season last year.

“He’s gonna be able to get caught up, hopefully pretty quick. But he’s a physical player that can strike and will hit, that can run, so I’m hoping he’ll help us and give us some depth.”

Related: How Gardner's season-ending injury impacts UL defense.

A  product of Mansfield (Texas) High, Middleton had 72 total tackles including five for loss, and two fumble recoveries during a 2016 sophomore season in which Trinity Valley went 11-1, won its fourth straight Southwest Junior College Conference Championship and finished No. 3 in the NJCAA’s final national poll.

 

He also added 37 tackles including 5.5 TFLs as a freshman.

Hudspeth said he doesn’t know if Middleton will be able to contribute right away, and that much will depend on “how fast he picks things up, what kind of shape can we get him in a short period of time.”

“No way will he be close to their (new teammates) conditioning now,” the Cajun coach said. “This will be a thing where you hope Week 3, Week 4 that … he can really start to help you.

“(That’s) about the time you start needing some help.”

In other depth-chart matters:

►Trey Ragas is now listed as UL’s No. 1 running back ahead of Jordan Wright, but Hudspeth said Saturday will be a “big evaluation” day; Darius Hoggins, who recently broke his jaw has been listed as the starter;

►The new chart now has Grant Horst No. 1 at left tackle, not on the right side as he was earlier, and D'Aquin Withrow starting on the right instead of the left;

►LaDarrius Kidd and Kevin Perry are listed as co-starters at defensive tackle;

►Corey Turner is listed ahead of Levarious Varnado at the slash spot, but Hudspeth said they’ll split No. 1 reps in Saturday’s scrimmage;

►Lorenzo Cryer is listed ahead of ex-Tennessee defensive back DJ Miller at UL’s cornerback spot opposite of Damar’ren Mitchell;  and

►Cincinnati graduate transfer Sam Geraci is listed ahead of Aaron Bird at punter, but Hudspeth said that battle won’t be over until sometime after the scrimmage.

Related: With Coutts at Cal, Cajuns adding grad-transfer punter from Cincinnati

More: UL running back Hoggins loses teeth, breaks jaw in cellphone fall

LAGNIAPPE: Hudspeth said he doesn’t think No. 1 center Cole Prudhomme (tight hamstring) will be cleared to take part in Saturday's scrimmage. Prudhomme’s hold on the starting spot also is not secure. With him hobbled, Hudspeth said David Hudson — a freshman walk-on from Lafayette High — will get “a lot of reps” in the scrimmage. … Backup defensive end Jarvis Jeffries won’t scrimmage, but according to Hudspeth he should be good go when UL returns to practice Tuesday. Trev Miller is listed as the starter there. … Backup safety Denarius Howard (hamstring) still hasn’t returned to practice, but Hudspeth hopes he’ll also return Tuesday. … Rodrick Stephens returned to practice Friday, but may not scrimmage, while fellow defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill (knee) remains out. Hudspeth said Hill, a true freshman who’s missed all camp, still could be ready in time for the first or second week of the season. … Defensive lineman Taboris Lee and safeties Tracy Walker and Travis Crawford are among UL’s senior starters excused from taking part in Saturday's scrimmage



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