McNeese State signs 33 newcomers to football team

Published 1:57 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

After a giant haul in December, Gary Goff put the finishing touches on his first full signing class Wednesday.

Goff and his staff signed seven high school players on what is the traditional national signing day. That gives McNeese State a class of 33 newcomers heading into next year.

“What a difference a year makes,” said Goff, who in his first season last February struggled to get players.

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“We were calling just hoping to get people to come for a visit last year,” Goff added. “This year we over signed.”

Coming off a 4-7 season and with just five seniors and seven juniors on the roster, McNeese signed 25 last December, 10 from junior college. They also added six transfers from 4-year programs.

All of those players have multiple years of eligibility remaining.

“It was important we build up those classes on our roster,” said Goff. “We also wanted to get the right men in here and we did that. They are all leaders who fit into our culture.

“I am proud of what our staff accomplished and extremely pleased with this class.

South Alabama transfer linebacker CJ Rias joined the Cowboys from the portal in January just before the start of spring classes.

“He just fell into our lap,” said Goff. “He is a bonus.”

Rias led South Alabama in tackles for loss last season and should help fill the void by the graduation of the Pokes leading tackler and All-Southland performer Kordell Williams.

Six of the seven players signed Wednesday play offense with three of them being receivers.

Niko Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 205 pounder from Dallas Carter High School leads the group. He is joked by Karr High’s Makhi Paris (6-2, 180) and Jer’Michael Carter (6-4, 200) from Kentwood.

Paris, a first-team All-Catholic League player, had first committed to Southeastern back in the fall before reopening his recruiting.

Two quarterbacks were added to give McNeese a total of five. Davion Wilson (6-2, 205) threw for 2,665 yards and 26 touchdowns at Port Arthur High in Texas. He also ran for 995 yards and 12 more scores.

Kamden Sixkiller (6-4, 190) is a first-team All-State pick from Oklahoma. The Norman North High star threw for 2,225 yards and 25 touchdowns while rushing for 660 yards and 10 scores.

“Both of those guys are great additions and can become the future quarterback of our program,” said Goff.

Rounding out the group on Wednesday are Texas products Jackson Anders, a 6-2, 210 linebacker from Round Rock and tight end Ahstin Watkins (6-4, 228) of Tyler.

Goff said he would still like to add a veteran receiver if from the portal.

“We are looking at a couple of guys who might be able to come in here and help us right away,” Goff said.

In total McNeese has signed 18 offensive players and 15 defensive since December. Seven of those are receivers, four are quarterbacks, four more are offensive lineman, two are running backs and one is a tight end.

On defense the Pokes have added six to their secondary, five to the line and four linebackers.