LAKE CHARLES – Monday marked the first day of summer classes at McNeese State University, and with that, the first day for the McNeese football newcomers to officially become Cowboys.
Along with the 2014 signing class last February, McNeese welcomed three transfers that are expected to make an immediate impact for the squad this season – highly touted quarterback Daniel Sams (Kansas State), cornerback Jermaine Antoine (TCU) and tight end Deondré Skinner (Houston, Tulane).
"We're really excited to add these three young men to our football team," said head coach Matt Viator. "They're all Louisiana kids that we recruited out of high school, so we know a lot about them."
Sams (6-2, 207), a native of Slidell (Salmen HS) and the nephew of former Cowboy players B.J. and Andrew Sams, is one of the most exciting transfers on paper to ever transfer to McNeese.
At Kansas State, he turned heads as a freshman in 2012 after he rushed for 235 yards on 32 carries, marking the most rushing yards by a freshman quarterback in school history and the fourth most in program history among all freshmen rushers.
Last season, he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after he rushed for 807 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns while throwing for 452 yards and four scores on 38 of 53 aim. He finished seventh in the conference in touchdown scoring. He ranked fifth in school history in rushing yards by a sophomore and by a quarterback and became the 26th player in school history to surpass 1,000 career rushing yards.
In a game against Baylor, he rushed for 199 yards, which were the second-most yards by a quarterback in Kansas State history and the most ever by a Wildcat sophomore.
Antoine (5-11, 200) signed with TCU out of high school and had a redshirt season last year.
While at Loreauville High School, the three-star recruit was named the "Best All-Around Athlete" at the 2012 U.S. Army National Combine in addition to being selected as a first team Class 2A All-State performer by the LSWA. He earned first team All-District 6-2A honors and was the district's Offensive Most Valuable Player his senior season when, as a running back, rushed for 1,399 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Skinner (6-3, 247), a native of Patterson signed a letter of intent with the University of Houston out of high school in 2012, then signed with Tulane in 2013.
Out of high school, the tight end, a three-star prospect, was tabbed as the No. 13 tight end in the nation by ESPN and the No. 19 overall prospect in the state by Rivals.com.
He helped lead his Lumberjack team to a combined 29-8 record with three trips to the playoffs during his three seasons. He was named first team all-district as a senior after hauling in 58 passes for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was selected to play in the 2012 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Houston.
Sams will have two years remaining while both Skinner and Antoine will have all four years left to play.
"We expect all three to come in and immediately complete," said Viator. "We're fortunate that the majority of our senior class graduated in May which opened up the spots on our roster to add these three players."
The Cowboys will continue off-season workouts throughout the summer before reporting to fall camp on Thursday, August 7.
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