Starting in 2017, Louisiana football Head Coach Billy Napier gave his recruiting plan in his introductory news conference, and it has held up with the 2019 signing class.
“We’re going to have a specific plan in recruiting and that’s going to start with a major emphasis in our backyard and in this state,” Napier said.
Seventeen of the 26 Ragin’ Cajuns’ signees are from Louisiana.
It was not until National Signing Day on Feb. 6, that we got to fully see Napier’s in-state recruiting plan blossomed into reality.
The Louisiana football staff signed 19 student-athletes in the early signing period on Dec. 19. Thirteen of those signees are from Louisiana. Napier added three more Louisiana-based signees on National Signing Day out of the seven new additions.
“When we started a year ago, our plan was to start inside out,” Napier said. “I think we executed our recruiting plan better than any part of our plan so far this year.”
The areas Napier said he wanted to address were the offensive and defensive lines as well as the quarterback position. Defensive lineman Ja-Quane Nelson was one of the players Napier highlighted in his signing day news conference.
“Nelson was a big deal,” Napier said. “He’ll be able to give us immediate depth at that spot.”
The junior-college signee joins Louisiana after playing for Hutchinson Community College in North Carolina. Nelson played in eight games and recorded eight tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
“I think it’s a well-rounded class. Every year, it’s going to be about winning at the line of scrimmage,” Napier said. “I think we did a good job of adding big, physical people on both fronts.”
The emphasis on the offensive line showed with the rest of the signing class. The Ragin’ Cajuns added six offensive linemen to their 2019 roster.
“We had intention of adding another quarterback,” Napier said. “I think we did that.”
Fields played at Archbishop Rummel High School, one of the premier high school football programs in Louisiana. Standing at 5 foot 11 inches, he threw for 2,359 yards and 30 touchdowns in his junior season and he currently stands as the 47th ranked player in the state of Louisiana.
McDowell joins Louisiana from Spring, Texas. He was rated as the 34th-best dual-threat quarterback in the class, according to ragincajuns.com. In his senior season, McDowell threw for 18 touchdowns and ran for 19.
The third quarterback signee, Magalei, was the latest addition to the Ragin’ Cajuns’ signing class.
Magalei is a JUCO player from Mount San Antonio College. He threw for 1,811 yards and 19 touchdowns in his one season in Texas.
Napier said he had a recruiting plan going into his debut season with the Ragin’ Cajuns that centered around acquiring players from Louisiana. The plan came to fruition and it has benefited the football program.
According to 247 Sports, the signing class ranks as the best in the Sun Belt Conference and 72nd nationally. It was all on the back of Louisiana’s plan to maintain in-state talent within the Ragin’ Cajuns program.