A rare occurrence is happening for the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns this fall with the position battle at kicker wide open so close to the beginning of the season. Under head coach Mark Hudspeth, the Ragin' Cajuns have been excellent in the kicking game except for the 2013 season with standout Brett Baer (38-43 FG attempts in 2011 and 2012) and Hunter Stover (18-22 FG attempts in 2014) making the decision to go for the field goal an easy decision. Stephen Brauchle was the kicker in 2013 and struggled in going 9-14 on field goal attempts during the season. The Ragin' Cajuns have also landed at least 33% of kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks in each of the last three seasons.
This season involves a three-man battle for the field goal kicker position with true freshman kicker Steve Artigue leading the way. Artigue, a native of Lafayette and graduate of Lafayette High School joined the team during the summer as one of the scholarship players in the 2015 Ragin' Cajun recruiting class. Redshirt freshman Dylan Scheurich and senior Carlos Alvarez are the only other kickers on the Ragin' Cajun roster.
Let's look at the three kickers and what they bring to the Louisiana football program.
Steve Artigue: The true freshman is a three-star recruit by Scout.com and 247Sports.com and was ranked as the #41 kicker in the nation by ESPN. Artigue was a four-time all-district selection and three-time Class 5A All-State selection as well as ranking as the #67 prospect among Louisiana high school players. 33-40 on field goals attempts during his high school career. Artigue has shown the ability to make field goals from distance in camp, something that neither of the other kicker have proven on a regular basis.
Dylan Scheurich: The redshirt freshman kicker joined the team as a walk-on in 2014 and was redshirted. Scheurich was awarded the team's Most Improved Award for non-scholarship players last fall. Scheurich was named to the Athlon All-State team as a senior. Scheurich is currently unable to practice with a back injury that could turn the kicking battle into a two man race this fall.
Carlos Alvarez: The senior kicker came into the program as a two-star prospect by Scout.com, the nation’s 44th-best kicker by KohlsKicking.com and 52nd by ESPN.com’s Scouts, Inc. During his senior year in high school, Alvarez was 6-12 on field goal attempts with all 12 attempts coming from 45+ yards while connecting on all 40 PAT attempts. Alvarez saw his only action for the Ragin' Cajuns as a true freshman with 15 kickoff attempts and one touchback during games against Arizona, Louisiana-Monroe, and San Diego State. Alvarez was redshirted in 2012, did not see playing time in 2013, and also did not see playing time in 2014 as the primary kicking backup to Hunter Stover. The 2015 season is Alvarez's last shot to earn time on the playing field for Louisiana.
Artigue is the favorite to win the field goal kicking job but the Louisiana coaching staff may see it as too much of a stress for the true freshman to handle kickoff duties as well with Alvarez likely earning that role. Scheurich is the dark horse and how well he can recover from the back injury could determine his role with the Ragin' Cajuns this fall.