Plaquemine pair: Butler recommits to UL, joining Riley
Suffice it to say Plaquemine High teammates Percy Butler and AJ Riley are tight.
The two visited UL together last weekend, and now both are committed to the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Riley made his pledge to UL and new head coach Billy Napier on New Year’s Eve, becoming Napier’s first known high school commit.
Butler, a defensive back who also played receiver at Plaquemine, originally committed last June to the staff of former coach Mark Hudspeth.
He briefly was uncommitted following the coaching staff change, and picked up an offer from Colorado State in late December and, according to 247Sports.com, Texas State in early December.
But on Tuesday Butler said he has pledged again to sign with the Cajuns.
“I feel like coach Napier (has) a big plan for the program to succeed and excel to greatness,” Butler — who tweeted out a picture of him, Riley and new UL safeties coach Patrick Toney at their school — told The Daily Advertiser via Twitter direct message.
Related:Billy Napier introduced as new UL football coach
Napier didn’t sign any of the prior staff’s commits during the NCAA’s new early signing period in December, choosing instead to evaluate and get to know many of them before proceeding.
Three of those prior commits — Houston-area offensive linemen Luke Junkunc and Chris Heiskell, and Vicksburg, Mississippi defensive lineman Jaylen Whitaker — continue to identify themselves as Cajun pledges as well.
Butler, ranked as the No. 92 recruit in Louisiana by 247Sports, can now make his non-binding verbal commitment to UL official when National Signing Day arrives Feb. 7.
The case is the same for Riley, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound defensive end/outside linebacker.
He had no doubt his Plaquemine teammate would eventually recommit to the Cajuns.
“Butler is like a brother to me,” Riley told the Advertiser before Butler made his pledge Tuesday, “so wherever I’m at he’s at (…) vice versa.”
More:Cajuns hard at work on assembling 2018 signing class
Riley’s given name is Andre Riley Jr., but he prefers to be called AJ.
He told the Advertiser earlier this week that “on a scale” of 1 to 10 he’d give his visit to UL “100.”
Riley played primarily as a wide receiver/tight end for much of his career at Plaquemine, but he became a first-year starter at defensive end in 2017 and now is listed by 247Sports as an outside linebacker.
He finished last season with 73 tackles — including 17 tackles for loss, 15 of them sacks — along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Riley also has an ACT score of 25 and, as of late last month, a grade point average of 3.8.
He also was offered by FCS Southland Conference-member Northwestern State, according to 247.
Related:Big-time SEC target Gooden plans UL recruiting visit
Malcolm Magee Jr., the Ocean Springs (Mississippi) High defensive back/athlete who visited UL over the weekend and committed to the Cajuns on Sunday, still is being pursued by other Group of Five programs.
Magee tweeted out of a picture of a Florida Atlantic assistant coach visiting him at home on Monday and one of a Colorado State home visit on Monday night.
FAU of Conference USA offered Magee last Friday, as did Utah State of the Mountain West, and Colorado State of the Mountain West has offered as well.
Magee on Monday also tweeted a picture with Toney and new defensive coordinator Karl Scott making a visit, and it's believed he remains firmly committed to the Cajuns despite the overtures of others.
Toney also recruited Magee for Texas-San Antonio, where he spent the last two seasons before joining the Cajuns.
More:UL recruiting football weekend yields Magee commitment
Independence (Kansas) Community College linebacker Tim Faison, who visited UL last weekend, told the Advertiser earlier this week that he will visit Southern Mississippi this weekend.
Faison, who is uncommitted, redshirted at Purdue of the Big Ten in 2015 and didn’t get on the field in 2016.
He’s a product of Godby High in Tallahassee, Florida.
MIAMI OFFERS THOMAS
Kardell Thomas, a Class of 2019 two-way lineman from Southern University Lab School in Baton Rouge, was offered earlier this week by Miami of the ACC, just a few days after the Cajuns extended an offer to him.
Thomas is an UnderArmour All-American who also received offers earlier this month from Mississippi State and late last month from Texas A&M.
Related:After leaving Nevada, STM product joins UL football team
MERRITT TO A-STATE
East Mississippi Community College receiver Kirk Merritt, previously at Oregon and dismissed last year by Texas A&M following a legal matter, tweeted that he’s now with Arkansas State.
The Destrehan High product was offered by UL’s new staff last month.
BELTON AT UTEP
Butler (Kansas) Community College linebacker Hassan Belton, who was offered by UL in late December and committed to UTEP earlier this month, visited with the Miners in El Paso last weekend.
Belton played in 2015 for FCS Western Carolina and redshirted as a walk-on at South Carolina in 2016.
BEARD TO PRINCETON
Daniel Beard — a defensive back from Mobile, Alabama and a UL commit before Napier was hired — paid a visit last weekend to Ivy League-member Princeton, where he now plans to play.