Just this week the College Football Hall of Fame announced the ballot for the 2017 class and not surprisingly there were zero Ragin' Cajuns to be found. Due to eligibility rules, there are no current UL Lafayette players that are currently eligible to be inducted.
If you were to visit the Hall of Fame, you would see that there are two inductees that align with the Ragin' Cajuns, Chris Cagle and Weldon Humble. Cagle played from 1922-1925 before moving on to Army to be a three-time All American (Eligibility rules in the early years were crazy. Don't ask). Humble was a great player for Rice where he earned his All-American status before transferring to Cajun country for one season (1946).
Looking back at some of the best players that have played in Lafayette, there are many great ones that will never be a part of the Hall of Fame. There is no shame in this fact, but it is fun to think about which players would be the first to be considered if the rules ever did change (must be a First Team All-American).
I took the liberty of naming three of the greatest to ever don the vermilion and white jerseys of UL Lafayette and would be fun to see enter the Hall of Fame.
There is no such thing as a list of Ragin' Cajun greats that doesn't include Brian Mitchell. He's most known for his dominance in the NFL as a return man, but before he returned punts and kicks he was a quarterback for the University of Southwestern Louisiana. This dual-threat quarterback was the first in NCAA history to rush for over 3,000 yards while passing for 5,000. At the time, his 47 rushing touchdowns were the most by a quarterback in NCAA history.
Diving into the UL Lafayette record books, Mitchell recorded the second most rushing yards in a game (271), rushing yards in a season (1,311), rushing yards in a career (3,335), and touchdowns in a career (47).
Are you wondering who Mitchell was behind in basically every rushing category in the Ragin' Cajun record books? Well, the most accomplished rusher in school history was Tyrell Fenroy. He's leads the football program in rushing yards in a game (271) rushing yards in a career (4,646), rushing touchdowns (48), as well as career rushing attempts (808). Of his many records, the only one he shares is rushing touchdowns in a season (19) with Brian Mitchell. Amazingly, Fenroy is also the rushing leader in the state of Louisiana and the history of the Sun Belt Conference.
Fenroy was a three-time First Team Sun Belt Conference culminating in a 2008 season where he was named Conference Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Orlando Thomas' 1993 season was one to remember as it ended with nine interceptions, tied for the most in the country. That season he would be named a third team AP All-American. In his career, Thomas would finish with 347 tackles, most in team history for a defensive back. In 1995, the Vikings would select him 42nd overall and as a rookie he led the NFL with nine interceptions.
The Thomas story is an inspiring one for Ragin' Cajun and football fans everywhere, as he would announce in 2007 that he was suffering from ALS. After fighting the disease for seven years, he would pass on November 9, 2014.
While these three will likely never be eligible for the Hall of Fame that doesn't diminish what these Ragin' Cajun players did while in Lafayette. They helped build a brand of football that has continued to improve throughout the years.