First reported by TMZ Sports, 13 members of the UL-Lafayette football team have been arrested for a dorm room theft. All 13 of the players have been charged with “criminal conspiracy to commit felony theft” after the robbery on April 5th. The student-athletes are alleged to have stolen $2,400 worth of property from a fellow UL-Lafayette student. Of the 13 involved, there were some expected major contributors that were accused of this crime.
Matt Barnes: Senior tight end out of Groesbeck, Texas who pulled in five receptions last fall as a backup last fall.
Joe Dillon: The most prominent player of the group, a 6’3” 215 lbs. sophomore defensive end from Tylertown, Mississippi was on the 2016 USA Today Freshman All-American team last year. As a rookie, he recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Denarius Howard: Senior defensive back from Greenwood, Mississippi who collected 32 tackles in his first season at Lafayette after beginning his career at Mississippi Delta JC.
Robert Hunt: Sophomore guard out of Burkeville, Texas started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2016.
Jarvis Jeffries: Senior defensive end from Gastonia, North Carolina was a teammate of Howard’s at Mississippi Delta and started seven games in his first year in the FBS.
LaDarrius Kidd: Junior defensive tackle from Gulfport, Mississippi missed most of 2016 with an ankle injury after see a fair share of snaps as a redshirt freshman.
Terik Miller: Sophomore linebacker from Pensacola, Florida saw action in each game as a true freshman in 2016.
Damar’ren Mitchell: Sophomore defensive back from Magnolia, Texas started 11 games as a true freshman and recorded 52 tackles including six stops in the New Orleans Bowl.
Trey Ragas: Redshirt freshman 5’11” 223 lbs. running back from New Orleans redshirted last season. Ragas was a three-star prospect according to the 247 Sports Composite.
Simeon Thomas: Senior cornerback from Miami recorded 40 tackles and two interceptions for the Cajuns last fall. Thomas missed all 2015 due to academic ineligibility.
Levarious Varnado: Senior defensive back from Calhoun City, Mississippi played in all 13 games last season and recorded 18 tackles. Spent his first two years at Itawamba CC.
D’Aquin Withrow: The senior left tackle from Harvey, Louisiana has started 20 games for the Cajuns in his last two seasons.
Jordan Wright: The 5’11” 206 lbs. sophomore running back from Pearl, Mississippi carried the rock 62 times for 192 yards after redshirting his first season on campus.
Head Coach Mark Hudspeth would release a statement that goes as follows:
It’s a tough spot for Cajun Nation as among the 13 arrested were six starters from last year’s team. Among the group there were future defensive stars Dillon and Mitchell included. Add in the fact that two of the running backs expected to fill the void left by Elijah McGuire are also among the baker’s dozen. You have to think some suspensions are coming.
It’s been a rocky tenure for Coach Hud as the Cajuns won 36 games in his first four seasons, but were later forced to vacate 22 of those victories. After those penalties were enforced, UL-Lafayette has been pretty mediocre the last two seasons as the Rajin’ Cajuns have combined to go 10-15 during that time for a .400 winning percentage compared. This comes after UL-Lafayette posted .692 winning percentage clip in Hudspeth’s first four years. With a difficult schedule looming (non-conference games against Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Sun Belt road trips to Appalachian State, Arkansas State) this could be an interesting year at Cajun Field. Would a third losing season in a row, combined with some bad off the field incidents force new athletics director Bryan Maggard to make a change? Only time will tell.