FEATURE: Young talent on full display for Louisiana

Photo by Benjamin R. Massey/Ragin Cajun Athletics

Throughout the first two games of the 2023 season, the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns have had the young talent that has been promised all offseason on display.

Names like Harvey Broussard, Robert Williams, Zylan Perry, Jordan Lawson, and others have been mentioned several times in press conferences and interviews when referring to players who could make an early impact for the Cajuns.

So far, they’ve delivered. But can that continue as the Sun Belt Conference schedule waits around the corner? Here’s a look at each player and what stands out about them.

Harvey Broussard, WR, St. Martinville, LA

Broussard was highly recruited out of St. Martinville High School as a three-star prospect but ultimately decided to stay home and play for the Ragin Cajuns. So far, the decision has paid off. He has shined throughout the offseason and fall camp but has really made the most impact in games. Broussard caught his first career touchdown against Old Dominion this past Saturday. He has five catches through two games for 44 yards and a touchdown. So currently, he’s on pace for 30 catches in his freshman season, which is an impressive number for a true freshman just getting his footing.

It’s still very early, but Harvey Broussard is looking like a strong candidate for a top target in this Louisiana offense over the next three or so seasons.

Robert Williams, WR, Humble, TX

Williams is currently in his third season with the Ragin Cajuns and the redshirt sophomore has delivered early on. Rated as the #70 receiver in the country out of high school, Williams has had high expectations in this program and has learned behind guys like Michael Jefferson and John Stephens over the last two seasons. Now, the Humble, TX product will be looked at as one of the key contributors behind leaders Peter Leblanc and Jacob Bernard. Through two games, Williams leads the team with 89 yards on eight catches, including a critical grab in the second quarter Saturday that set up a touchdown for the Louisiana offense.

Williams has waited patiently for his opportunity to thrive and be a leader in this Cajuns offense, and it’s starting to come to fruition for him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue this impressive run of form through the rest of the 2023 season.

Jordan Lawson, DL, Brandon, MS

Lawson has been a comeback story that has been a lot of fun to witness. After missing the final four games of 2022 with an injury, Lawson has stepped up in a big way for this Louisiana defense. Through two games, he currently sits third in the nation with 3.5 sacks. He has been a disruptive force up front even when he isn’t sacking the quarterback. The Brandon, MS product was highly praised when he came into the program and he’s now showing the Cajuns fan base and the Sun Belt Conference exactly why.

Zylan Perry, RB, Mamou, LA

I have a feeling this young man is going to be just a superstar for the Cajuns.

A local kid from Mamou, he played quarterback in high school before making the switch to running back when he arrived at UL. However, an injury hindered his chance to shine as a true freshman in 2022. Now in 2023, he’s spent the first two games getting his feel back under him in the running game, but Perry has been a special threat in the return game for Luke Paschall.

Zylan Perry is a player that is special when healthy, but it’s also still time for him to learn the playbook more in depth and get used to the college game. It won’t happen overnight, but Perry has all the potential to be one of the greats in this Louisiana program.

Next game

The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns will look to dust off their loss to ODU with another road trip, this time heading to Birmingham, Alabama to battle Trent Dilfer, the Super Bowl winning QB turned head coach, and the UAB Blazers. The Blazers are coming off a barn-burning 49-35 loss to Georgia Southern where, if you take away the second quarter, the Eagles had their number. So it’ll be a game to watch to see which one of these two teams can come out of their loss with momentum and energy, but I feel like that could be the difference in a game that feels like a building block type of game for the 2023 season.