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Football: Seven Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns on national watch lists for major college football awards

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, August 8, 2021

Seven UL football players are on national watch lists for major college football awards heading into the 2021 season.

Three Ragin’ Cajuns – quarterback Levi Lewis, running back Chris Smith and safety Bralen Trahan – are on multiple lists. Lewis is on four high-profile lists.

The Cajuns reporedt for preseason camp Thursday and opened camp Friday. They begin the season Sept. 4 at Texas and play their first home game Sept. 11 against Nicholls.

A look at which Cajuns are on the watch lists:

Rhys Byrns

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

 A three-year starter, Byrns pinned 14 balls inside the 20 yard line while only having two touchbacks last season. The Aussie also had four punts that went 50-plus yards.

COVID:UL football plans haven't changed for capacity at Cajun Field

Lingering:How sore subject of Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt game still stings UL

Levi Lewis

Maxwell Award (best all-around player), Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Wuerffel Trophy (player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement), Manning Award (best quarterback/Sugar Bowl committee)

A two-year starter, Lewis completed 177 of 297 passes for 2,274 passing yards and 19 touchdowns last year. His 19 TD throws tied for 20th most nationally in 2020.

Johnny Lumpkin

John Mackey Award (best tight end)

Coming off shoulder surgery that cost him the 2019 season, Lumpkin had just six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown last year. But he’s expected to play a major role in 2021.

Texas tint:A look at UL's 2022 football recruiting class

More:What Cajuns athletic director Bryan Maggard said about opening at Missouri

Chris Smith

Doak Walker Award (best running back), Paul Hornung (most versatile player)

Smith is expected to be UL’s No. 1 running back with Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas pursuing pro careers. He rushed 62 times for 359 yards and a touchdown as the Cajuns’ third option last season. An All-Sun Belt return specialist, Smith also brought back 23 kickoffs for 617 yards and two touchdowns in 2020.

More:How Emani Bailey developed into a running back to watch for the Cajuns

Long road:How UL running back T.J. Wisham is recovering from wrist injury, surgeries

Newcomer:Here's what we know about new UL running back Jacob Kibodi

O'Cyrus Torrence

Outland Trophy (top interior offensive lineman)

The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Torrence is a two-year starter. He plays right guard on an offensive line ranked fifth nationally last season in tackles-for-loss allowed (3.64).

For subscribers:Ragin' Cajuns remember the day football assistant D.J. Looney died

Bralan Trahan

Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year/Maxwell Club), Bronco Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player/Football Writers Association of America)

Trahan had a team-high four interceptions last year, the most by a Cajun in a single season since the late Sean Thomas in 2013. The Acadiana High product started only four games but finished fourth among team total tackles leaders.

Shane Vallot

Dave Rimington Trophy (best center)

Vallot is a two-year starting center on a line also ranked seventh nationally in sacks allowed (0.82). He’s a Comeaux High product.



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