Seven high schoolers sign with McNeese bringing signing class to 33

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese signed seven high school football players Wednesday, bringing this year’s signing class to 33.

McNeese Sports officials say that’s one of the largest classes in program history.

The Cowboys signed seven wide receivers, six defensive backs, five defensive linemen, four quarterbacks, linebackers and offensive linemen, two running backs, and one tight end.

In addition to the seven who signed on Wednesday, National Signing Day, 10 other high schoolers have also signed to play football for McNeese. The Cowboys also got 16 mid-year transfers, mostly from the junior college ranks.

2023 McNeese Football Signing Class



  • Jackson Anders – Linebacker – 6-2 – 210 – Round Rock HS – Round Rock, Texas: 2022 Academic All-State 2nd Team honors… District 25-6A All-District Honorable Mention… helped lead his team to a 9-2 overall record and an appearance in the state playoffs… finished the year with 52 tackles, a sack, four tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two pass break ups.
  • Jer’Michael Carter – Wide Receiver – 6-4 – 200 – Kentwood HS – Kentwood: First team All-District 9-1A as a wide receiver… Louisiana Class A All-State Honorable Mention… helped lead team to a regular season mark of 9-1 and a district championship… appeared in the Louisiana Division IV Non-Select Quarterfinals.
  • Niko Johnson – Wide Receiver – 6-5 – 205 – Dallas Carter HS – Dallas, Texas. Led team to a 9-3 record, 4-1 in district play, and the Area Round of the Texas Class 4A Division I state playoffs… had a spectacular 100-yard fake punt run for a touchdown.
  • Makhi Paris – Wide Receiver – 6-2 – 180 – Edna Karr HS – New Orleans: First Team All-Catholic League as an athlete… helped lead his team to a 7-4 record and the regional round in the Louisiana Division I Select playoffs… received offers from Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana, and Grambling, among others.
  • Kamden Sixkiller – Quarterback – 6-4 – 180 – Norman North HS – Norman, Okla.: Oklahoma Coaches Association 1st Team All-State… District 6A1-1 Co-MVP… COAC Offensive Back of the Year… Norman North – Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year… helped lead team to an 8-2 overall record and 6-1 mark in the toughest district in Oklahoma… in regular season action, completed 123 of 203 (61 percent) passes for 2,225 yards and 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions (all in the first three games)… rushed 108 times 660 yards to 10 touchdowns… recorded 2,885 total yards and 35 total TDs.
  • Ahstin Watkins – Tight End – 6-4 – 228 – Tyler HS – Tyler, Texas: Played his senior season at Wyatt High School in Fort Worth before moving to Tyler HS… helped his team to a 7-4 overall record and 4-3 in district play and an appearance in the Texas UIL 5A-2 playoffs… received offers from D1 programs such as TCU, Arkansas State, Colorado State, Northern Arizona, Alcorn State and Texas Southern… also a standout basketball player and is a 2023 McDonald’s All-American Games Southwest Region Nominee.
  • Davion Wilson – Quarterback – 6-2 – 205 – Port Arthur Memorial HS – Port Arthur, Texas: A unanimous selection for District MVP… first team All-District… recorded 2,665 yards passing on 172 of 251 passing (69 percent) with 26 touchdowns and rushed for another 995 yards and 12 TDs on 162 carries for a 6.1 yards per carry average… in the Area Round of the Texas HS 5A-II Division I Playoffs he threw for 357 yards and two TDs and rushed for another 117 yards and three scores for a total of 474 offensive yards and five touchdowns in a thrilling 52-50, 4 ot win over Frisco Wakeland… team finished 11-2 on the season while advancing to the regional semifinals.


  • Kylen Armstead – LB – 6-5 – 211 – Hinds Community College – Starkville, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): In 2022, appeared in eight games, recording 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack and forced a fumble… played his freshman season at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC where he appeared in nine games and recorded 16 tackles with a sack… High School: As a senior, helped lead West Point to its fifth straight state championship game after winning the first four … Played for Coach Chris Chambless.
  • John Brown Jr. – DL – 6-0 – 259 – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC – Jackson, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Earned Second Team All-MACCC honors in 2022… recorded 38 total tackles including 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss… forced two fumbles and broke up a pass… In 2021, played all 9 games, starting 1 ... Had 12 tackles, 10 assists, 1 TFL and 1 PBU. In 2020, played in 4 games with 5 tackles, 7 assists, 1.5. TFL and 0.5 sacks ... Had 3 tackles and 5 assists in a 31-24 win over Hinds. High School: As a senior, made 26 tackles, 34 assists, 15 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 2 PD, 3 FR and 1 FG block … As a junior, had 36 tackles, 25 assists, 8.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FR and 3 FF … As a sophomore, had 8 tackles, 14 assists and 4 TFL … Played for Coach Timothy Brown.
  • David Duvall - OL – 6-2 – 305 - Northwest Mississippi Community College - Olive Branch, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Played three seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College (one was a Covid year) and helped guide the Rangers to a 10-2 record this past season and an appearance in the NJCAA Division I playoff semifinals and a final No. 3 ranking… earned second team All-MACCC North Division honors in 2022… appeared in 23 games during his career as the Rangers won the 2021 MACCC Championships and the 2020 National Community College Football Championship… off the field, named to the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 President’s Lists...named a Distinguished Academic All-MACCC and first team NJCAA All-Academic performer… a member of the inaugural Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2022… High School: played for coach Alan Peacock at Center Hill...helped anchor a Mustang offensive line that paved the way for 3,046 rushing yards as a senior...chosen first team All-Region 1-5A...selected to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 5A All-State second team...recognized as a Lindy Callahan Scholar the field, maintained a 5.0 GPA and scored a 30 on the ACT...tutored other students in math during high school...was a member of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society and Beta Club...recognized on the principal’s list throughout high school...recognized as Rotary Student of the Month for October 2019...teammates with current Ranger James Mitchell III...received interest from the University of the Cumberlands, William Penn University, Belhaven, Oberlin College, Kenyon College, Culver-Stockton, Jacksonville University and a handful of MACCC programs.
  • Jamori Evans – DB – 5-10 – 204 – East Mississippi CC – Pheba, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Earned 2022 First Team All-MACCC honors… finished as the Lions’ second-leading tackler in 2022 with 85 total stops, including 4.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards), along with totaling two pass interceptions (for 90 yards), two forced fumbles and five pass breakups… helped lead Coach Buddy Stephens’ East Mississippi Community College Lions to a combined two-year record of 17-4, back-to-back MACCC playoff appearances, and consecutive No. 6 final rankings in the NJCAA Division I poll… recorded 30 tackles in 2021… High School: 2nd Team MAC All-State honors his senior season at Starkville HS.
  • Nate Glantz – QB – 6-0 – 206 – Iowa State – Elkhorn, Neb. (Three years of eligibility remaining): Squad member for Iowa State in 2022… At Iowa Western: NJCAA 2020 Offensive Player of the Year … NJCAA first team All-American and all-conference pick and ICCAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 … two-time all-region selection … team went 18-2 in his two years at quarterback … threw for 2,147 yards while completing 159-of-301 passes in 2021 … had 18 touchdown passes … completed 63.3 percent of his passes (131-of-207) and had 23 touchdowns to just four interceptions to earn NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman … threw for 1,811 yards and posted a 169.6 QB efficiency rating … had two or more touchdown passes in all eight games and threw for 401 yards vs. Iowa Central … coached by Scott Strohmeier… High School: First Team Super State selection by the Lincoln Journal Star and First Team All-State by the Omaha World as a senior … led team to a perfect 13.0 record and state title in 2019 … completed 69.6 percent of his passes (195-of-280) and threw for 2,943 yards … had 36 touchdown passes and just one interception … also rushed for 521 yards and four touchdowns … tallied nine games with three or more touchdown passes … coached by Michael Huffman.
  • Coleby Hamm – RB – 5-10 – 217 – Air Force/Tyler JC – Spring, Texas (Three years of eligibility remaining): Played in seven games at Tyler JC this past season… Tyler JC President’s List with a 4.0 GPA… signed with Air Force out of high school… High School: First Team All-District with over 100 tackles, interception and a touchdown… Academic All-State.
  • Jonathan Harris - WR – 6-0 – 170 - Mississippi Gulf Coast CC - Hattiesburg, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): In 2022, caught 22 passes for 344 yards and a touchdowns… averaged 15.6 yards per catch… returned 23 punts for 326 yards for a 14.6 average to go along with a touchdown… 2nd team All-MACCC as a returner… vs. SW Mississippi College, returned four punts for a 30.8 average which included a 75-yard return for a touchdown… helped lead team to a 6-4 record and an appearance in the MACCC semifinals… as a freshman in 2021, played in all 9 games, starting 8, and caught 17 passes for 158 yards ... Caught passes in 8 of 9 games ... Earned NJCAA All-Academic Second Team and Distinguished Academic All-MACCC honors. High School: As a senior, caught 21 passes for 500 yards and 8 TD and had 23 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 2 FF, 1 FR, 4 PBU and 1 FG block … Selected to play in Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game ... Named to PineBeltSports All-Area Team ... As a junior, had 31 catches for 579 yards and 5 TD and had 22 tackle, 18 assists, 3 INT, 5 PD and 1 FR … As a sophomore, had 19 catches for 241 yards and 2 TD … Played for Coach Marcus Boyles.
  • Jadden Matthews - CB - East Mississippi CC - Moss Point, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Helped lead Coach Buddy Stephens’ East Mississippi Community College Lions to a combined two-year record of 17-4, back-to-back MACCC playoff appearances, and consecutive No. 6 final rankings in the NJCAA Division I poll… Member of EMCC’s 2022 MACCC championship team (8-3 record) and 2021 MACCC North Division title team (9-1 record)… Recorded 24 total tackles, three pass breakups and had a pass interception this past year as a sophomore for the Lions… Began the year with four stops, including half a QB sack, and an INT against Copiah-Lincoln… His three pass breakups on the year all came during the last four games - Itawamba as well as MACCC playoff wins over Mississippi Gulf Coast and Northwest Mississippi… Had seven total tackles as an EMCC freshman in 2021… High School: Two-time All-Region 8-4A First Team Defense at Moss Point High School.
  • Elijah Melendez - OL – 6-5 – 296 - Valdosta St. - Navarre, Fla. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Appeared in all 11 games this past season as a sophomore… as a freshman, played in seven games for the national runner-up Blazers under current Cowboys head coach Gary Goff ... Helped block for an offense that finished second nationally in total offense at 508.7 yards per game and led the nation in the fewest sacks allowed all season (1) for a 0.29 clip ... He also helped block for a rushing offense that had three 1,000-yard rushers this past season and the sixth-best rushing offense in the country at 255.8 yards per game ... The Blazers finished fourth in the GSC in passing offense at 252.9 yards per game for 37th nationally, while the team was 21st nationally in passing efficiency at a 151.27 clip… in high school, earned All-Northwest Florida honors… recorded 59 knockdown blocks his senior season.
  • CJ Rias – Linebacker – 6-2 – 236 – University of South Alabama – Carrollton, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): At South Alabama: As A Third-Year Sophomore (2021): Played in 11 games, missing the Troy game ... Recorded 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops ... Recorded a season-high four tackles against Georgia Southern including a pair of solo stops ... Recorded three tackles each against Bowling Green and Alcorn State (all solo stops) ... Also recorded tackles against Texas State and No. 15 Coastal Carolina ... Recorded 3.5 sacks on the season, including three solo stops ... Recorded two sacks against Bowling Green and another against Georgia Southern. Junior College Highlights (2019-20): Considered a three-star junior-college recruit by, which had him rated the fifth-best outside linebacker in the country as well as among the top 25 prospects in the state and top 85 nationally ... A first-team all-Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) South Division as a sophomore in 2020 ... Was credited with 14 total stops, including 1½ behind the line, to help the Wolves win two of their three games in the fall ... Recorded a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass break up as well ... Had a season-best eight tackles with a sack and a forced fumble in finale against East Central (Miss.) CC ... Posted 21 tackles — with five of those for loss — and recovered a fumble his freshman season at the school ... Finished with a season-high six stops, including one behind the line, against eventual national champion Mississippi Gulf Coast CC ... Credited with two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in win over Northeast Mississippi CC ... Made five stops with one behind the line of scrimmage in match-up with Hinds (Miss.) CC as well. High School Highlights: Competed in football, basketball, baseball, and cross country and track and field at J.Z. Georgia High ... Credited with 16 sacks his senior year. Personal: Full name is Christopher Rias Jr. ... Born May 4, 2000, in North Carrollton, Miss. ... Son of Chris Sr. and Geraldine Rias ... Favorite movie is “Friday” ... Favorite team is the Buffalo Bills ... Favorite player is K’Lavon Chaisson ... Favorite musical artists are Da Real Gee Money, Big Scarr, Lil Baby and Young Dolph ... Favorite food is chicken ... Favorite subject is English ... Likes to fish in his free time ... Was also recruited by Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky.
  • Boogsie Silvera – DB – 5-11 – 190 – Charleston Southern University – Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Three years of eligibility remaining): High School: two-time second team All-Broward County selection… two-time 5A state champion… 3-star recruit according to… posted 67 tackles, two interceptions, one pick-six, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, a blocked punt and a blocked field goal in his senior season… recorded 95 tackles, one interception, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and three sacks as a junior.
  • Charles “Tre” Simmons - QB - 6-0 – 170 - Tusculum University - Temple Terrace, Fla. (Two years of eligibility remaining): First Team All-South Atlantic Conference Mountain Division… led the SAC in five offensive categories including passing yards (2,384 – 28th in NCAA II), passing yards per game (216.7 ypg – 34th in NCAA II), total offensive yards (243.5 ypg – 33rd in NCAA II) passing touchdowns (21), and completions per game (16.09 cpg – 46th in NCAA II)… started in all 11 games for the Pioneers as posted a completion percentage of .546 and was responsible for 144 points which included his 21 TD passes, two touchdown runs and a TD reception… completed a TD pass in 10 of his 11 games including a career-best five touchdown tosses in the season-opening win over St. Augustine’s, earning him SAC Player of the Week honors… ran for a career-best 122 yards in TU’s road win at Catawba which included a 44-yard TD scamper… posted a career-best 71-yard touchdown rush against Carson-Newman which is the 10th-longest run from scrimmage in school history and the longest ever by a Tusculum quarterback… in TU’s 49-14 win over Erskine, he accounted for four touchdowns (3 pass, 1 receiving) and was named the College Player of the Week by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA)… in his two seasons at Tusculum, threw for 3,160 passing yards (6th in TU history) and 29 touchdowns (6th in TU history)… his 3,583 total offensive yards are ranked seventh in the Tusculum record book… as a freshman in 2021, appeared in nine games at quarterback including starts in the last two games of the season... Passed for 776 yards with eight touchdowns and only one interception... Also rushed for 128 yards on 41 carries with three touchdowns... Passed for 362 yards and three touchdowns in season-finale win over Carson-Newman (Nov. 13)... Went 16-for-24 for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the second half against Catawba (Oct. 30)... Rushed for a TD at Catawba... Also rushed for a TD vs Carson-Newman and at St. Augustine’s (Sep. 4). High School: Graduated from Bloomingdale HS in Valrico, Fla... Coached by Jake Coulson... All-State first team... Hillsborough County Offensive Player of the Year... District Champions... Region Champions... Most passing yards in school history.
  • Tajesston “TJ” Storey – OL – 6-7 – 285 – Coahoma CC – Ripley, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): First Team All-MACCC North this past season… a 2-time all-conference selection… appeared in 15 games in his career at Coahoma CC blocking for an offense that averaged nearly 400 yards per game, 200 of those on the ground. High School: Multi-year All-District and All-County player at Ripley High School… multi-year starter at offensive and defensive line.
  • Cam Thomas - RB – 5-8 – 170 – Mississippi Gulf Coast CC - Picayune, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): First Team All-MACCC South at running back… Academic All-American… Rushed for 824 yards on 161 carries with eight touchdowns this past season… averaged 82.4 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry… ranked seventh in the NJCAA and second in the MACCC in average per game… three games with 100-yards or more… 191 yards on 33 carries and a TD in a win over Jones College… 103 yards (9 carries) in a win over East Central CC… 131 yards (14 carries) in a close three-point loss to East Mississippi CC in a game where he scored on a 99-yard run… In 2021, played in 6 games and ran 122 times for a team-high 714 yards ... Scored 3 TD rushing ... Ranked 3rd in the NJCAA with 119 yards per game ... Missed three games and played briefly in another because of injuries sustained in an auto accident ... Ran for 192 yards on 34 carries in a 31-13 win over East Central ... Ran for 164 yards on 36 carries in a 42-37 loss at Hinds ... In 2020, ran 38 times for 63 yards and 2 TD ... Earned NJCAA All-Academic Student-Athlete Second and Academic All-MACCC honors. High School: As a senior, set a Mississippi record by running for 3,517 yards, which tied for the national lead … Carried the ball 291 times (12.1 ypc) and scored 48 touchdowns … Helped lead Picayune to the Class 5A state championship game... Named the Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year and MaxPreps Mississippi Player of the Year … Named to the Clarion-Ledger All-State First Team … Selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game ... As a junior, made 31 tackles, 19 assists, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 QBH, 1 IN and 5 PD ... Played for Coach Dodd Lee.
  • Janirr Wade – Defensive Line – 6-3 – 272 – Jones College – Stone Mountain, Ga. (Two years of eligibility remaining): At Jones College: All-MACCC honorable mention honors in 2022… recorded 40 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss… high of 9 tackles against Pearl River… team finished with an 8-2 record and a No. 9 ranking in the NJCAA poll… At Akron: Appeared in 10 games for the Zips in two seasons… High School: Played defensive end, tackle, and tight end for coach Ron Gartrell at Stephenson (Ga.)...2019 and 2018 all-region and all-county selection...over prep career, had 200 tackles, 16 sacks, 27 TFL, and five forced fumbles...also participated in track and field...enrolled at Akron in January 2020...three-star recruit by…. Personal: Son of Mario Jordan and Stephanie Wade...has a younger sister Myia and a younger brother Omari.
  • Levi Wyatt - Safety – 6-1 – 190 - Mississippi Gulf Coast CC - Byram, Miss. (Two years of eligibility remaining): Appeared in four games in 2022 and recorded seven tackles… missed the last five games of the season… as a freshman in 2021, played in 8 games ... Had 12 total tackles, 1 TFL and 1 INT ... Scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone in a 56-14 win at Holmes. High School: As a senior, completed 84 of 153 passes for 1,226 yards, 14 TD and 9 INT, and ran 20 times for 150 yards and 1 TD … As a junior at Hillcrest Christian, completed 23 of 64 passes for 505 yards, 6 TD and 2 INT, ran 22 times for 126 yards and 2 TD, and caught 4 passes for 51 yards ... Played for Coach Marcus Rogers.


  • Jelani Chevalier – DB – 5-9 – 175 – Port Arthur HS – Port Arthur, Texas: First Team All-District 8-5A… helped lead his team to the District 8-5A-I championship and an 11-2 record… lost in the regional semifinals of the Texas 5A Division I playoffs… a 2-time All-District selection.
  • Mark Fielder - DT – 6-2 – 270 – Woodlawn High School - Denham Springs: Two-time First Team All-District… helped lead team to the state playoffs.
  • Jamall Franklin Jr. - OL – 6-7 – 356 – Scotlandville High School - Port Allen: A 3-star recruit by On3… the No. 582 overall recruit in the 2023 cycle according to On3 Consensus and the No. 23 offensive tackle in the nation… two-time first team All-District… two-time first team All-Metro… All-State… three-time All-Academic… also from On3, was offered by several FBS programs such as Houston, Texas Tech and South Alabama and FCS teams UIW, Northwestern State and Grambling.
  • Peyton LeMaire – LB – 6-3 – 190 – Sulphur HS – Sulphur: Two-time All-District honors… All-Southwest Louisiana… as a junior and senior, recorded 132 tackles, 16 sacks, 24 tackles for a loss, forced five fumbles, two interceptions and broke up seven passes.
  • Jamaal Levi – WR – 5-7 – 149 – Barbe HS – Lake Charles: A local product who earned First Team All-District 3-5A honors… caught 38 passes for 526 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season… one of the fastest players in the state and region, clocking a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash which has rightfully earned him the nickname “Speedy.”
  • Terance “TJ” McCants Jr. – DL – 6-3 – 225 – Shadow Creek HS – Missouri City, Texas: Earned All-District honors… helped guide his team to a district title and an appearance in the Texas UIL State Playoff Class 6A Regional Semifinal round… team finished the season with a 12-1 record.
  • Luke McMullen – WR – 5-11 – 183 – Jefferson HS – Jefferson, Texas: All-District honors… Academic All-State… helped team to a district championship and an 8-3 overall record as well as the Texas Class 3A-Division I playoffs… district champion in the 100-meters… also a standout baseball player.
  • Cory O’Bryant – WR – 5-11 – 153 – Tomball Memorial HS – Houston, Texas: Earned First Team All-District honors… hauled in 64 catches for 1,411 receiving yards and scored 25 touchdowns… 108 rushing yards on six carries and three TDs.
  • Carlos Sanders – DT – 6-2 – 290 – Southern Lab – Baton Rouge: All-District honors… team qualified for the Louisiana District IV Select playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinals.
  • Cody Smith – DB – 6-2 – 185 – Zachary HS – Baker: Two-time All-District selection… helped lead Zachary HS to the 2021 Louisiana Class 5A state championship and a state title game appearance in 2022.

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