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2020 Louisiana Preview: Running Backs

Ragas and Mitchell lead the RB room, which Jim Nagy called “the best RB tandem not in Tuscaloosa.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 06 Lendingtree Bowl - Louisiana v Miami OH Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week, we broke down the quarterback group for Billy Napier’s offense. Today, we’re going to do a similar breakdown, but with the running backs. Louisiana finished sixth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 257 yards a game. Only losing Raymond Calais to the NFL draft, the Cajuns look poised to continue their rushing dominance.

#15 Elijah Mitchell, SR, 5’11” 217 lbs- Mitchell led the Louisiana rushing attack last season, finishing 31st in the nation in rushing yards with 1147 yards as well as tied for 11th in rushing touchdowns with 16. He has been a contributor to the offense since his freshman year in 2017, which ended in an season-ending ankle injury halfway through the year. Mitchell shows no signs of slowing down as he is on a direct path for the NFL.

#9 Trey Ragas, SR (RS), 5’10”, 218 lbs- Ragas has also been an incredibly dominant force for Louisiana since walking into the program in 2016. He missed his entire freshman season with an ankle injury and returned in 2017 ready to make a name for himself. 3 seasons, 2814 yards and 28 TDs later, Ragas has done just that. One half of the 2nd best running back tandem in the nation, Ragas will lock in alongside Mitchell and have another superb year for the Vermilion and White.

#21 Chris Smith, SO (RS), 5’9” 194 lbs- Smith broke out in 2019 for Napier’s offense, racking up 334 yards and four touchdowns on the year while sharing action with 3 other backs. With the loss of Raymond Calais facing the Cajuns, Chris Smith is a very suitable replacement to the fast, elusive back role that Calais had in the offense.

#23 TJ Wisham, JR (RS), 5’10”, 217 lbs- Wisham has been a part of the Ragin’ Cajuns offense since his redshirt freshman year in 2018. He transferred from Army and didn’t make an appearance in 2018. Last season, he spent a majority of his time on special teams. He racked up 133 yards on the season while recording 7 tackles and forcing a fumble on special teams. Look for Wisham to have more reps rushing, but largely a similar role.

#20 Emani Bailey, FR, 5’9”, 200 lbs- Bailey comes to Louisiana from Denton Ryan High School in Denton, TX where he was ranked the 61st best running back in the country by 247 Sports. Bailey rushed for 4,026 yards in his career, with three seasons being a starter. He also scored 51 touchdowns in his high school career. Bailey led his team to the state title game his senior season and the state semifinals the previous three seasons. Hopefully, Emani Bailey can make an impact early on in his college career.

#30 Jordan Griffin, SO (RS) 5’10” 195 lbs- Griffin is new to the program this season, having spent last season at Texas Wesleyan University. He had a very small sample size last season, only carrying the ball 35 times for 73 yards. However, in high school at McDonogh 35 in New Orleans, he was one of the top 100 rushers in the state.

#31 Michael Orphey Jr, SO (RS) 5’9” 185 lbs- Orphey Jr. is entering his 2nd season in Lafayette after having a small sample size last year. Orphey Jr carried the ball three times for 22 yards and a touchdown, coming in the Texas Southern game.

#34 Mike Martin, FR, 6’0” 200 lbs- Attended Franklinton High School where he had 1,015 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

Louisiana looked like a wrecking crew on the ground last year and this season looks to be no different.

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