One of the biggest questions going into the 2016 season for the Ragin' Cajuns is who will win the quarterback job by the time the opener against Boise State rolls around. The position battle has been discussed in recent weeks by Head Coach Mark Hudspeth and we routinely hear one player see little to no mention for the starting position: Dion Ray.
Dion Ray was a very nice three-star prospect that signed with UL Lafayette in 2015 and redshirted his freshman year. His best qualities are his speed and agility, and Coach Hudspeth noted that when the signing was official. He used words like "elusive," "fast," and even said that there was a chance at him seeing the field in wildcat packages due to his athleticism.
While this obviously didn't happen in 2015, many thought that he might be able to crack the starting lineup in 2016 with Brooks Haack transferring to Northwestern State and Jalen Nixon switching positions to play running back.
Coach Hudspeth has shot down any hopes of Ray getting serious playing time at quarterback as he basically stated that if it weren't for depth issues at the quarterback position, Ray would be playing a different position this upcoming season.
With the position up for grabs between Jordan Davis, a redshirt sophomore, and Chris Weaver, a redshirt freshman, it's likely we see Ray at a new position in the near future. Just where could Ray play though and what makes the most sense for the team's needs?
There are really only three positions Ray's size and skills translate to: defensive back, wide receiver, and running back. Due to the fact that there were 21 defensive backs on the roster last season and only two were seniors, I'm going to move straight to the offensive positions.
It's most likely that a Ray position change would happen in 2017 and if that were to happen then it would likely be to the running back position. Elijah McGuire is entering his final season as a Ragin' Cajun with the position being down five of the seven running backs listed on this past season's roster. Barring any upperclassmen redshirting or graduates transferring in, the running back group will consist of one senior, one redshirt junior, and two second-year players (2016 commits) by 2017.
The running back group will be extremely inexperienced by 2017 and surely could use the help of a 4.5 running Dion Ray. The precedent is there for the team to move an athletic running quarterback to running back (Jalen Nixon moved to RB just this offseason), so the move wouldn't be a huge surprise. Ray is also a 6'0, 200-pound player with plenty of speed to go with his sturdy frame.
Considering Ray's athleticism and play-making ability, he's a player that needs to see the field ASAP and if that means moving him to a new position then Hudspeth needs to pull the trigger.