UL's Walker accepts invite to East-West Shrine Game

Tim Buckley
The Daily Advertiser

On Friday, he graduated from UL with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

UL senior safety Tracy Walker, shown here breaking up a pass earlier this season at Texas A&M, is headed to the East-West Shrine Game.

On Saturday the East-West Shrine Game announced that Ragin’ Cajuns senior safety Tracy Walker has accepted an invitation to play in its prestigious event.

The postseason game for college seniors is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2018, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

It will be televised lived on the NFL Network starting at 2 p.m. (central).

The Shrine Game, which showcases future NFL players and benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children, was first played in 1925.

Walker was UL’s leading tackler in 2017 with 97, including 62 solo stops.

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He also had a team-high two interceptions.

The product of Brunswick High in Brunswick, Georgia, was a four-year starter for the Cajuns who had seven career interceptions, including three in 2016.

Walker was one of 10 members of the Cajun football program to graduate Friday, joining Raynard Ford, Corey Turner, Chaiziere Malbrue, Rodrick Stephens, Troy McCollum and Andarious Jones (all general studies); Chris Collins (chemical engineering/cum laude); former offensive lineman/student assistant Donovan Williams (anthropology); and graduate assistant coach Kevon Beckwith (sports management masters).


Former UL linebacker Otha Peters, an undrafted rookie, was signed to the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster off their practice squad a few days ago.

It’s not yet known for certain if Peters will be active Sunday at home against the Arizona Cardinals, but on Saturday he tweeted “First NFL game tomorrow.”

Peters – UL’s No. 2 tackler last season, and the leader of the Cajuns’ in 2015 and 2016 after transferring in from Arkansas – was in preseason camp with Seattle, which waived him before the regular season started.

The product of Covington High in the New Orleans area was signed to Washington’s practice squad last month.

Related:UL has offered its coaching job to Napier


Chris Smith, a running back/receiver/defensive back from Nanih Waiya Attendance Center in Louisville, Mississippi, lists himself as a “Louisiana Lafayette Commit” on his personal Twitter account, but tweeted as recently as Dec. 10 that “my recruitment is still open.”

Louisville, incidentally, is the home of recently fired UL coach Mark Hudspeth.

The NCAA’s new early signing period opens Wednesday.

Cajun assistant coaches made in-home visits to several recruits, including one by Michael Desormeaux – UL’s acting director of football between the Dec. 3 firing of Hudspeth and Friday’s hiring of Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier as head coach – to St. James High defensive end/outside linebacker Kyren Harris.

More:New UL coach Napier must assemble coaching staff

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 According to an unconfirmed report from FootballScoop citing an unidentified source, defensive backs/head strength and conditioning coach Le’Marcus Gibson – an ex-Cajun – “has been promoted to defensive coordinator” at NAIA-member Oklahoma Panhandle State.

The school has not announced the promotion, however.

Gibson played linebacker at UL from 2010-12 and previously was a graduate assistant/assistant strength and conditioning coach at Grambling, where he earned his master’s degree.

No easy answers: Ex-UL coach Mark Hudspeth's rise and fall