Ever since Tulane hired head coach Jon Sumrall in December, the stars have aligned in New Orleans.
The stars in this case specifically refer to the stars of the transfers and recruits committing to Tulane. It all kicked off last week when the Green Wave landed their quarterback of the future. Four-year starter Michael Pratt declared for the NFL Draft this week, but Tulane hopes to continue its winning tradition under former four-star quarterback recruit Ty Thompson, who committed to Sumrall’s program on Jan. 5.
Thompson was the first domino. Then on Jan. 15, an entire wave of highly-touted recruits — current and former — flocked to the Big Easy. Tulane elevated its receiving group by adding former four-star Mario Williams from USC and former five-star Shazz Preston from Alabama. Defensively, the Green Wave bolstered their secondary with a commitment from Jayden Lewis, a four-star cornerback from Anniston High School in Alabama.
Here’s a rundown of these four major additions which will suit up in olive green and sky blue in 2024:
Ty Thompson, QB
Coming out of high school, the former Oregon quarterback was heralded the top pocket passer in the state of Arizona by ESPN and the 15th best at his position on a national basis. Thompson spent three seasons at Oregon and earned his most substantial playing time in 2023 due to the blowout nature of many Ducks’ wins. He finished the year 24-of-31 with 297 passing yards, throwing four touchdowns with just one interception. Thompson retains two years of eligibility and can earn his first shot as a starter next fall after serving as an understudy to Heisman finalist Bo Nix the past two years.
Mario Williams, WR
Mario Williams is a name many veteran Tulane defenders might recognize from film study. Williams hails from USC, which played the Green Wave in the 2022 Cotton Bowl. He caught six passes for 35 yards that game, capping his best season which featured 40 receptions, 631 yards, and five touchdowns. Although his production dipped in 2023, Williams was still a valuable component of a USC offense which ranked third nationally in points per game. Prior to his days in Los Angeles, Williams played one season at Oklahoma. ESPN labeled the 2021 recruit the top receiver in his class, and now he can become Tulane’s top receiver in 2024 after the roster loses the likes of Chris Brazzell and Jha’Quan Jackson this offseason.
Shazz Preston, WR
Shazz Preston hasn’t caught a collegiate pass, but the 2022 recruit is beaming with potential. Labeled a 5-star by many major outlets, Preston was the No. 3 receiver in the class according to ESPN. He made occasional appearances at wide receiver and on special teams, appearing in a total of 10 games in his two seasons at Alabama. The former Crimson Tide receiver is a local product, hailing from St. James, LA, where he collected 800+ receiving yards and 9+ touchdowns in three-straight seasons.
Jayden Lewis, CB
256 504 !! @CoachJonSumrall @JJMcCleskey @CoachWilk04 @CoachRGreene @CoachHSims @DexPreps @GrindLab @ChadSimmons_ @RivalsFriedman @SWiltfong247 @AnnistonDawgs @JeremyO_Johnson @DownSouthFb1 @HallTechSports1 @ScoutFball @cpetagna247 @Andrew_Ivins @TDARecruiting @BHoward_11 pic.twitter.com/nLkCGM1d1f— Jayden “Jaymoney” Lewis (@JayALew5) January 15, 2024
Tulane set a new record Monday. Jayden Lewis is now the program’s highest-rated recruit in the rankings era. The four-star cornerback from Anniston, AL held offers from Auburn, Florida State, Penn State, Tennessee, Louisville, UCF, and more, but Lewis decided to join Sumrall’s squad in New Orleans. Last February, Lewis committed to Auburn but later decommitted in October and opened up his recruitment. ESPN ranked him 33rd among all cornerbacks and 20th among all prospects in the state of Alabama. Lewis joins a cornerback room which replaces two-time First Team All-AAC selection Jarius Monroe, who heads to the NFL Draft.