How Cajuns coach Michael Desormeaux saved his first Louisiana football recruiting class

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Michael Desormeaux really did not have time for this.

At least not enough.

He was just named new Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football coach on Dec. 5, two days after being offered – and accepting – the job. The No. 17 Cajuns (12-1) are in the middle of preparing to play Marshall (7-5) on Saturday (8:15 p.m., ESPN) at the New Orleans Bowl.

But Desormeaux and his staff, which lost several key recruiting specialists when coach Billy Napier left UL for Florida and took them with him, managed to make the most of the precious few days he did have.

“We’re focus on the ones that what we got,” Desormeaux said.

Not, in other words, on the many that were lost.

Here is what we learned about the first Desormeaux recruiting class for UL:

Lorenzell Dubose a key late add

Five recruits decommitted around the time of Napier’s exit, including Texas high school offensive lineman, whom Napier flipped to Florida.

Another was Texas high school edge rusher Trey Fite, who sig

But Desormeaux picked up a commitment Tuesday from junior-college transfer Marcus Wiser, who signed Wednesday. He was the second late add to the class, along with Neville cornerback Lorenzell Dubose.

Lorenzell Dubose, a cornerback from Neville High, is a former Louisiana Tech commit who signed instead with the Ragin' Cajuns on Wednesday.

Dubose, a 6-foot, 175-cornerback, decommitted from Louisiana Tech on Nov. 27, one day after the the firing of coach Skip Holtz and shortly before the hiring of Texas Tech offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie.

He originally committed to Louisiana Tech in mid-September.

“We signed some really good defensive backs last year, and those guys are gonna pan out. … But Dubose,” Desormeaux, “from the very beginning we always thought very highly of him.”

So the Cajuns quietly had Dubose in for an official visit last weekend.    

“We said, ‘Look, this is a guy that’s been on the priority board for a long time,’ ” Desormeaux said. “It’s hard to fund corners that can run over cover, so we made a push for him.”

Neville High cornerback Lorenzell Dubose signed with UL on Wednesday.

Dubose is ranked by 247Sports Composite as the No. 48 cornerback nationally and the No. 23 recruit in Louisiana.

He  took official visits to Oregon State and Purdue in June and was offered by both. Dubose also had preseason offers this year from Houston, Oklahoma, Marshall, Southern Miss and Memphis, and offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas when he was a junior.

UL gets Wiser up front

Wiser, unranked by 247Sports, is a 6-2, 295-pound defensive lineman who played at Kilgore College in Texas after leaving Calallen High in Corpus Christi, Texas,  in 2019.

He fills a need with starting nose Tayland Humphrey done after this season.

Defensive tackle Marcus Wiser, who signed with UL out of Kilgore College in Texas on Wednesday, chases down Calhoun quarterback Conner Kestler during a 2019 games for Calallen High Corpus Christi, Texas.

“We need a little bit of a guy that can play in the interior,” Desormeaux said. “Maybe all three spots, but someone that can sit there and kind of hold the point.

“So he was important to us about halfway through the year, once we kind of said, ‘Alright, this dude’s playing really good.' ”

Another lost along the way

Dubose and Wise two joined six signees who committed when Napier still was coach – West St. John linebacker Kailep Edwards, Madison Prep quarterback Zeon Chris, Grand Lake offensive lineman Bryant Williams, McKinney (Texas) safety Damon Youngblood, Harker Heights (Texas) tight end Terrance Carter and Marshall (Texas) receiver Jaydon Johnson.

But the Cajuns, who according to Desormeaux planned to honor all of the offers made by Napier and his staff, did not secure another longtime commit.

Zachary receiver Charles Robertson did not sign with the Cajuns. He is expected to wait until February to make his decision, according to a source who requested anonymity.

Robertson picked up freshman offers from two FCS program, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern. The reason for his delay isn't known.

Looking ahead

For Desormeaux, the small signing class was more about meeting long-term needs than those in the short-term.

Adding Williams, for instance, brings depth that may not materialize until later to an offensive line losing starting right tackle Max Mitchell, a 2022 NFL draft prospect and a Neville product, starting left tackle Ken Marks and perhaps starting center Shane Vallot.

“We’ve had success developing offensive linemen here,” said Desormeaux, whose Cajuns put 2020 draft picks Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson into the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

“To find one like that in your backyard, you’re always fired up about that. It’s always a priority to keep them at home.”

That's why Desormeaux, who credited groundwork laid long before  was thinking more Wednesday about what was gained than what was not.

“Fortunately we have a good roster coming back,” he said.

“So you feel like you’re just trying to kind of plug in some of those gaps where you need some people, and most of it really is in the future, guys you’ll see down the road in a few years.”