The talent level continues to escalate.
If the Ragin’ Cajuns are your team, you won’t want to miss this portion of the countdown...
18. Trey Ragas/RB/Louisiana
The Ragin’ Cajuns have a running back dilemma.
A beautiful, wonderous running back dilemma, that is.
Three running backs are capable of posting big numbers and busting big plays at any point. Ragas was the leading rusher yardage-wise, covering 1,211 of them with eight touchdowns on the ground.
He even put up 111 yards on 16 carries and a score against Alabama early in the season.
He has some talent to share carries with, which for Louisiana fans, hopefully means a healthy Ragas down the stretch as they vie for a return run to the conference championship game.
17. William Bradley-King/DE/Arkansas State
stAte has had a tremendous amount of turnover along the defensive line the past two seasons.
Names like Javon Rolland-Jones and 2018 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Ronheen Bingham have moved on. However, Bradley-King presents a 250-pound ray of hope that a feared DL from Jonesboro trend shall continue.
The junior is a rising star, recording 3.5 sacks in his role last season.
Let the tradition continue.
16. Robert Hunt/OT/Louisiana
Having three talented running backs means nothing if the defense is all over them.
Hunt, who is on the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, is a very capable person to help make sure that doesn’t happen often in 2019.
The senior has split time at guard and tackle during his collegiate tenure, but has been rock solid protection wherever he tends to line up.
The Preseason All-Conference First Team member needs to keep it up - and more importantly, his starting quarterback up - to ensure he lands on the postseason First Team list.
15. Desmond Franklin/S/Appalachian State
Franklin is the perfect compliment to fellow App State safety Josh Thomas.
With four INTs and 51 tackles, Franklin was a standout All First Team selection last season. He’s a ball-hawk who will be continually counted on to swat away deep throws all season.
Franklin is a great athlete who sees the entire field naturally.
He pops on tape as well. Opposing offensive coordinators better get plenty of it and be ready for #6 this year.
14. Akeem Davis-Gaither/LB/Appalachian State
Davis-Gaither was one of the most productive defenders in all of FBS football last season.
As a junior, he recorded 105 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and broke up another seven passing attempts.
As a senior, he figures to menace Sun Belt offenses again. His play seemed to step up when the competition got stiffer (14 tackles at stAte, 15 tackles vs. Louisiana, 14 tackles vs. Troy, 10 vs. Middle Tennessee State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl).
He has a chance to be a real difference maker and darkhorse Chuck Bednarik Award contender.
13. Kevin Dotson/OG/Louisiana
The Louisiana run game is strong. Very strong.
Speaking of very strong, Dotson more than qualifies as an anchor for an offensive line that looks to potentially start five seniors in 2019.
Coming off a Sun Belt All First Team selection in 2018, the right guard should be getting some NFL eyeballs to consider his 6’4”, 325-pound frame lining up at the next level as well.
If Dotson can continue to lay the groundwork for the loaded Louisiana backfield to run, and keep presumed starter Levi Lewis upright, the chances of many Ragin’ Cajun points in 2019 is...well...very strong indeed.