From McNeese Athletics:
LAKE CHARLES – McNeese State football head coach Matt Viator announced the signing of 22 players on National Signing Day Wednesday, a group that includes three transfers, 12 defensive players, nine on offense and a kicker.
The emphasis was signing players with a lot of speed and athletic ability that has Viator excited about the new crop of Cowboys.
"Very excited about today," said Viator in front of the media on Wednesday. "This is always a good day for McNeese football. We have some great athletes. We signed three offensive linemen, three wide receivers and a good portion of defensive guys. We all agreed as a staff that we should focus on speed and that's what we got."
Included in the 22 signees are four players with a 3-star rating and four players with 2-star ratings either by Rivals, Scout or 247 Sports organizations.
Those with three-star ratings include transfer running backs Derrick Milton (Mississippi State) and Nate Holmes (Univ. of Arkansas), defensive back Bryan Blunt out of McDonogh #35, and defensive back Andre Fuller from Neville High School.
The two-star rated players include defensive back Dominique Hill from Mansfield HS, Johnnie Marsaw out of Bastrop High, linebacker Ashani Goins out of Neville HS, and Tavarious Battiste, a defensive back, from Kentwood High School.
In addition to the star rated players, the Cowboys landed three other players ranked in the top 100 in the state of Louisiana.
Offensive lineman Nick Fontenot from Barbe High School in Lake Charles is rated in the top 50 in the state of Louisiana along with fellow Lake Charles native and Washington-Marion wide receiver Demond Delahoussaye who is rated in the top 100. Offensive lineman Kyle Zenon from Vermilion Catholic HS is another lineman from Louisiana the Cowboys signed that's rated in the top 100 in the state.
Add in wide receiver Jamari Payne out of Bastrop HS and the Cowboys signed two of the top three statistical receivers in the state of Louisiana.
The transfers include running backs Derrick Milton from Mississippi State, running back Nate Holmes from the University of Arkansas, and defensive end Brian Hine from Cisco Junior College.
2014 McNEESE FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Tavarious Battiste • Defensive Back • 5-10 • 170 • Kentwood, La. • Kentwood HS Bryan Blunt • Defensive Back • 6-2 • 201 • New Orleans, La. • McDonogh #35 Kamon Darby • Cornerback • 5-11 • 180 • Beaumont, Texas • Central HS Demond Delahoussaye, Jr. • WR • 6-1 • 180 • Lake Charles, La. • Washington-Marion HS Nick Fontenot • Offensive Line • 6-5 • 295 • Lake Charles, La. • Barbe HS Andre Fuller • Defensive Back • 6-0 • 200 • Monroe, La. • Neville HS Ashari Goins • Linebacker • 5-10 • 210 • Monroe, La. • Neville HS Kylon Highshaw • Wide Receiver • 6-5 • 205 • Monroe, La. • Neville HS Dominique Hill • Defensive Back • 5-10 • 180 • Mansfield, La. • Mansfield HS Brian Hine • Defensive End • 6-1 • 235 • Austin, Texas • Regents School of Austin • Cisco JC Nate Holmes • RB • 6-1 • 185 • Port Arthur, Texas • Memorial HS • Univ. of Arkansas Christian Jacobs • Linebacker • 5-11 • 215 • Houston, Texas • North Shore Senior HS Trent Manuel • Kicker • 5-11 • 165 • Orange, Texas • Little Cypress-Mauriceville HS Derrick Milton • 6-0 • 210 • Running Back • Pineville, La. • Pineville HS • Mississippi State Johnnie Marsaw • Defensive Line • 6-2 • 245 • Collinston, La. • Bastrop HS Jamari Payne • Wide Receiver • 5-9 • 180 • Bastrop, La. • Bastrop HS Tré Porter • Linebacker • 6-1 • 190 • New Orleans, La. • Warren Easton HS Ryan Ross • Running Back • 5-9 • 205 • Richwood, Texas • Brazowood HS Anthony Sylvester • Linebacker • 6-1 • 205 • Beaumont, Texas • Ozen HS Landon Thomas • Offensive Line • 6-4 • 300 • Patterson, La. • Patterson HS Joshua Washington • Defensive Back • 5-10 • 180 • League City, Texas • Clear Springs HS Kyle Zenon • Offensive Line • 6-4 • 275 • Abbeville, La. • Vermilion Catholic HS
2014 McNEESE FOOTBALL SIGNEE BIOS
TAVARIOUS BATTISTE • DEFENSIVE BACK • 5-10 • 170 • KENTWOOD, LA. • KENTWOOD HS 2-Star rating by Rivals.com... A three-time first team all-district performer at Kentwood High School, including all-state accolades as a junior... as a senior, passed for 758 yards with eight touchdowns, ran for 294 yards on 58 carries with six scores, had 181 receiving yards and two tds... also made 47 tackles and had three interceptions... in his career, made 56 tackles and picked off 10 passes... threw for 2,100 yards and rushed for 780... had two kickoff returns for scores... lettered four years in football and four in track... high school coach was David Currier... projected to major in sports management at McNeese... born Jan. 8, 1996... son of Cepressia Battiste.
BRYAN BLUNT • DEFENSIVE BACK • 6-2 • 201 • NEW ORLEANS, LA. • MCDONOGH #35 3-star rating by 247 Sports… No. 5 ranked safety in Louisiana and 52nd nationally by 247sports.com… first team All-State, All-Metro and All-District… LHSCA All-Star Game participant… as a senior, recorded 97 tackles, two interceptions and scored two defensive touchdowns… blocked four punts his senior season… played for coach Wayne Reese… lettered four years in football, three in track and two in basketball… born April 21, 1995… son of Melissa Blunt.
KAMON DARBY • CORNERBACK • 5-11 • 180 • BEAUMONT, TEXAS • CENTRAL HS All-district performer at Central High School for coach Toby Foreman... rushed for 483 yards and four TDs as a senior along with 11 catches for 288 yards and two scores... will play in the defensive backfield for the Cowboys... 2013 Academic All-State second team honors... A-B honor roll all four years of high school... lettered three years in football and four in track... 2011 district triple jump champion and 2013 district 400-meter champ... plans on majoring in mechanical engineering at McNeese... Sept. 7, 1995... son of Christopher and Roshell Darby.
DEMOND DELAHOUSSAYE • WR • 6-1 • 180 • LAKE CHARLES, LA. • WASHINGTON-MARION HS One of the top receivers in the state of Louisiana in 2013… two-time All-State honors and three-time All-District and All-Southwest Louisiana… senior season, made 64 catches for 1,371 yards and nine touchdowns… carried the ball 38 times for 353 yards… his career numbers include 93 catches for 2,121 yards and 17 TDs along with 44 carries for 379 yards rushing… averaged 22.8 yards per catch in his career… played for Freddie Harrison at Washington-Marion High School… born Jan. 24, 1996… son of Demond Delahoussay, Sr. and RoKeshia Guillory.
NICK FONTENOT • OFFENSIVE LINE • 6-5 • 295 • LAKE CHARLES, LA. • BARBE HS As a senior at Barbe High School... earned first team District 3-5A honors, All-SWLA Big Schools team, first team All-Louisiana by the Louisiana Football Magazine, and honorable mention Class 5A All-State honors by the LSWA... 2013 LHSAA Academic All-State... junior season, starter in all games and helped lead the Bucs to the Class 5A state championship game as well as a district championship... carries a 3.55 grade point average... two year starter and lettered four years... plans to major in business at McNeese... son of Kirk and Angie Fontenot.
ANDRE FULLER • DEFENSIVE BACK • 6-0 • 200 • MONROE, LA. • NEVILLE HS 2-Star rating by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports... Louisiana Football Coaches Association All-Star Game participant... District Co-Offensive MVP at Neville High School in 2013 where he completed 70 of 105 passes for 1,250 yards and 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions and rushed for 550 yards and six scores... earned 2013 first team all-state honors as an athlete as well as first team All-NELA and all-district honors at quarterback... earned honorable mention all-state honors as a return specialist and QB this past season and all-parish honors at QB... as a junior, earned all-district and all-NELA honors as a wide receiver... had one kickoff return and turned it into a 76 yard touchdown... will play in the defensive backfield for the Cowboys... played three years of baseball at pitcher and in the outfield... an honor roll student all four years and has a 3.5 grade point average... projected to major in criminal justice at McNeese... born Nov. 11, 1995... son of D'ne and Andre Fuller.
ASHARI GOINS • LINEBACKER • 5-10 • 210 • MONROE, LA. • NEVILLE HS Louisiana Football Coaches Association All-Star Game participant... as a senior, earned first team all-state honors by the LSWA and second team honors by the LFCA... first team All-Northeast and All-Ouachita Parish... All-Northeast Louisiana Defensive MVP... All-Ouachita Parish Defensive MVP... 2-4A 1st team All-District... District 2-4A Defensive MVP... made 131 tackles as a senior, 80 solo, with two sacks, 19 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries... as a junior earned first team all-state honors by both the LSWA and LFCA, first team All-Northeast, All-Ouachita Parish, All-District 2-4A, and District 2-4A Defensive MVP... for his career, made 331 tackles, had seven sacks, 44 tackles for a loss, forced six fumbles, recovered eight fumbles and intercepted four passes... coached by Mickey McCarty... projected major at McNeese is Kinesiology... born April 7, 1996... son of Shandra Goins.
KYLON HIGHSHAW • WIDE RECEIVER • 6-5 • 205 • MONROE, LA. • NEVILLE HS First team all-district wide receiver in 2013 at Neville HS for coach Mickey McCarty... earned second team All-Ouachita Parish, All-Northeast, All-State by the LFCA and honorable mention all-state honors by the LSWA... caught 20 passes for 415 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 20.8 yards per catch this past season... as a junior, earned all-district honors at tight end and made 13 catches for 197 yards and two scores and averaged 15.2 yards per catch... honor roll student who also lettered in basketball... projected to major in sports management at McNeese... born March 22, 1996... son of Kelvin Highshaw, Sr. and Sharonda Highshaw.
DOMINIQUE HILL • DEFENSIVE BACK • 5-10 • 180 • MANSFIELD, LA. • MANSFIELD HS 2-star rating by 247 Sports… first team All-District honors as a quarterback and defensive back at Mansfield High School... earned All-Area honors as a punt returner and honorable mention All-State honors as a DB... missed half of his senior season due to injury... as a junior, threw for over 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions... returned five punts for touchdowns... a star on the basketball court where he earned second team all-district honors as a shooting guard... member of the Principal's List and the National Honor Society... earned his high school diploma in December and signed with the Cowboys shortly after... projected to major in athletic training at McNeese... born Feb. 17, 1996... son of Chris Hill and Michelle Hall... father is former LSU standout tight end Chris Hill.
BRIAN HINE • DL • 6-1 • 235 • AUSTIN, TEXAS • REGENTS SCHOOL OF AUSTIN • CISCO JC CISCO JC: Combined to record over 140 tackles and 12 sacks in two seasons at Cisco Junior College while playing linebacker.
HIGH SCHOOL: School record holder with over 350 career tackles at Regents School of Austin for coach Beck Brydon… first team All-State and All-CenTex as a junior and senior… team won the state championship his senior season with a 13-1 record in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) league… plans to major in exercise science at McNeese… born June 1, 1993… son of Peter and Mary Hine.
NATE HOLMES • RB • 6-1 • 185 • PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS • MEMORIAL HS • UNIV. OF ARKANSAS UNIV. OF ARKANSAS: played two seasons for the Razorbacks. He played in four games this past season and rushed the ball six times for 17 yards. In his freshman season, he appeared in nine games and rushed three times for 10 yards, returned two kickoffs for 38 yards and 11 punts for 70 yards. His punt average of 6.36 yards per return ranked 10th in the SEC.
HIGH SCHOOL: 3-star rating by Rivals, Scout, and 247 Sports... considered one of the fastest athletes in the state of Texas, Holmes was ranked as the No. 37 athlete in the country by 247Sports.com. A standout running back and receiver, Holmes helped the Titans make the longest playoff run in school history in 2011 as the program made an appearance in the state semifinals and finished with a 13-2 record. As a senior, he carried the ball 156 times for 1,382 yards and 15 touchdowns while also recording eight receptions for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Holmes had a great junior season despite missing three games due to injury. He lined up at running back where he rushed for 845 yards with an average of 7.7 yards per carry and wide receiver where he had more than 200 receiving yards. He has posted a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and held the Memorial High School record in the 100-meter dash at 10.82 seconds and the triple jump with a mark of 47 feet, 3.5 inches.
CHRISTIAN JACOBS • LINEBACKER • 5-11 • 215 • HOUSTON, TEXAS • NORTH SHORE SENIOR HS Standout linebacker at North Shore HS where he was named the District 21-5A MVP this past season... selected to play in the Texas High School All-Star Game... Showcase LB MVP... 21-5A honorable mention honors as a junior... recorded 115 tackles as a senior to go along with two sacks and two interceptions... recorded 220 total tackles in his career with 15.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions... played for coach David Aymond at North Shore... expected to major in accounting at McNeese... born Feb. 6, 1996... son of Daphne Jacobs.
TRENT MANUEL • KICKER • 5-11 • 165 • ORANGE, TEXAS • LITTLE CYPRESS-MAURICEVILLE HS No. 20-ranked kicker in the nation by Chris Sailer… first team All-District, All-Orange County and All-Orange Leader as a senior… was a perfect 24 for 24 in extra points and hit 8 of 10 field goals in 2013… had 12 touchbacks… for his career, made 44 of 46 extra points and 13 of 17 field goals for coach Randy Crouch at Little Cypress-Mauriceville… honor roll student… a member of the track team and participated in the regional meet as a member of his team's 4x200 meter relay squad… expected to major in mechanical engineering at McNeese… born June 12, 1995… son of Ty and Beth Manuel.
JOHNNIE MARSAW • DEFENSIVE LINE • 6-2 • 245 • COLLINSTON, LA. • BASTROP HS 2-star rating by 247 Sports… No. 51 rated player in Louisiana… tirst team All-District his senior season following second team honors as a junior and sophomore at Bastrop High School for coach Thomas Bachman… recorded 48 total tackles with two sacks and seven tackles for a loss… multi-year honor roll student… projected to major in Computer Science at McNeese… born June 18, 1996… son of Jimmy and Surleaner Seay.
DERRICK MILTON • 6-0 • 210 • RUNNING BACK • PINEVILLE, LA. • PINEVILLE HS • MISSISSIPPI STATE MISSISSIPPI STATE: played two seasons with the Bulldogs and played in a total of 22 games… carried the ball 47 times for 234 yards with four touchdowns during his stint… best season came during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2010 when he rushed 34 times for 165 yards and a couple of scores.
HIGH SCHOOL: 3-star rating by Rivals, Scout, and 247 Sports… physical running back from the Louisiana prep ranks who played his senior high school season at Hargrave, Va., Military Academy for first-year coach Troy Davis . . . rushed for 740 yards on just 43 carries with 10 touchdowns . . . played three varsity seasons at Pineville High School where he compiled almost 4,500 rushing yards . . . rushed for 1,800 yards with 15 touchdowns as a junior . . . earned Louisiana Sports Writers Association First-Team All-State honors . . . also tabbed All-Central Louisiana . . . ran for 1,227 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore
JAMARI PAYNE • WIDE RECEIVER • 5-9 • 180 • BASTROP, LA. • BASTROP HS First team All-State and All-District as well we named the district's Co-MVP his senior season… as a senior, caught 83 passes for 1,311 yards and 14 touchdowns… averaged 15.8 yards per catch… returned eight kickoffs for 11 yards and a 13.9 average and nine punts for 163 yards for an 18.1 average… lettered three years in football and three in track… caught 29 passes for 475 yards and six touchdowns his junior season… career receiving numbers comprise of 142 catches for 2,348 yards, 24 touchdowns and a 16.5 yards per catch average… as a sophomore in track, finish third in the state as a member of the 4x200 meter relay team… plans on majoring in Sports Medicine at McNeese… born May 4, 1996… son of Doug and Kanesha Payne.
TRÉ PORTER • LINEBACKER • 6-1 • 190 • NEW ORLEANS, LA. • WARREN EASTON HS Earned first team All-District honors as both a linebacker and a safety at Warren Easton High School... as a senior, recorded 92 tackles and had 12 tackles for a loss... one interception, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a defensive touchdown... a four-year starter... honor roll student... plans to major in Mass Communication at McNeese... born Sept. 25, 1996... son of Troy Porter, Sr. and Jennifer Howard.
RYAN ROSS • RUNNING BACK • 5-9 • 205 • RICHWOOD, TEXAS • BRAZOWOOD HS Named league's Most Outstanding Athlete as well as earning All-District and All-County honors at Brazowood High School... as a senior, rushed for 903 yards on 131 carries and scored 11 touchdowns... averaged 6.9 yards per carry... carried the ball 130 times for 732 yards and 11 TDs as a junior to go along with 11 catches for 74 yards... sophomore year, rushed for 308 yards and two scores and made 12 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown... born Oct. 20, 1995... son of Randy and Yolanda Ross.
ANTHONY SYLVESTER • LINEBACKER • 6-1 • 205 • BEAUMONT, TEXAS • OZEN HS Two-time All-District linebacker at Ozen High School... two-time Southeast Texas Super Gold Team... racked up 305 total tackles in his career with 25 tackles for a loss, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and three blocked field goals... an all-district performer in track where he threw the shot put and discus... plans to major in Business Accounting at McNeese... born Nov. 30 1995... son of Shanell Williams.
LANDON THOMAS • OFFENSIVE LINE • 6-4 • 305 • PATTERSON, LA. • PATTERSON HS First team All-District honors as a senior offensive lineman at Patterson High School for coach Tommy Minton… All-State honors by the LHSCA… a two-year starter who played both the offensive and defensive line positions… recorded 47 pancake blocks… team won district title his senior year… honor roll student and a member of the Principal's List… plans to major in Engineering at McNeese… born Nov. 20, 1995… son of Eric Thomas and Tara Lathrop.
JOSHUA WASHINGTON • DEFENSIVE BACK • 5-10 • 180 • LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS • CLEAR SPRINGS HS Speedy defensive back who excelled on the football field and in track... as a senior, recorded 67 tackles and had two interceptions... added four pass breakups, two tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery... returned 12 kicks for 257 yards... district champion and a regional finalist in the 100-meters in track... played for coach Frank Maldonaldo at Clear Springs High School... expected to major in Computer Science at McNeese... born May 17, 1996... son of Kelvin and Laurie Washington.
KYLE ZENON • OFFENSIVE LINE • 6-4 • 275 • ABBEVILLE, LA. • VERMILION CATHOLIC HS In 2013, earned first team All-District, All-Parish, All-State and All-Acadiana honors while helping his team to the state championship... played both the offensive and defensive line positions for coach Russell Kuhns at Vermilion Catholic... earned first team all-district honors as a sophomore and junior and second team all-state honors as an offensive lineman as a junior... recipient of the Father Donald Theriot Athlete of the Year Award... standout on the track as well... 2013 state champion in the shot put and discus and runner up in the javelin... Eagle of the Month all four years for academics... plans to major in Agribusiness at McNeese... born Feb. 19, 1995... son of Chad and Penny Zenon.