Citizen enters Cowboy corral

Published 4:58 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

Continuing an offseason trend, another local product is returning home.

Former Lake Charles College Prep star running back Tre’Vonte Citizen has signed Friday to play next fall at McNeese State. 

Citizen returns to Lake Charles after spending two years at the University of Miami and will have four years of eligibility remaining. The former consensus 4-star high school standout becomes the 17th FBS player to join the Cowboys since the end of last season, tops in FCS nationally.

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“He is a big talent and a huge addition for us,” said McNeese head football coach Gary Goff. “TC is extremely excited to come back home and help us turn this thing around.”

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Citizen is the second 4-star local high schooler to return to the area after playing at a Power 5 program. He joins Curtis Deville, a receiver from Iowa High who transferred to McNeese from Purdue at the start of the spring semester in January.

Deville has already made a huge impact on the Cowboys, starring in the two spring scrimmages. Hope is Citizen can have a similar impact on the program. Getting local players to play at McNeese has been a big emphasis of the Cowboy staff as they rebuild the roster.

Citizen is the second 4-star running back the Cowboys have signed. He joins Jaylen Thompson, who comes transferred from Ventura City College in California. 

Thompson ran for 1,136 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games last fall. Also picked up was Bryce Strong from Riverside City College, who had a huge two scrimmages.

When you add what the Cowboys have returning, the McNeese backfield could be one of the deepest in all of FCS.

“Our backfield is loaded with talent,” said Goff. “We feel we have different types of guys who allow us to play out of a lot of sets and do a lot of things.”

Citizen missed all of his first season at Miami in 2022 with a knee injury he suffered in workouts. He did not appear in a game last season for the Hurricanes.

While in high school, Citizen was rated the No. 2 running back in his class by He was No. 59 nationally overall and the No. 7 player in Louisiana. 

He finished with 743 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season at LCCP. The year before he helped the Blazers to a 10-1 season, scoring eight TDs and running for 615 yards.

Coming out of high school, Citizen picked Miami despite getting offers from LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Michigan, Penn State and USC along with several others.

“He is another electrifying player we have added,” said Goff. “He is big and powerful and we are really excited to get him here.”

McNeese also signed defensive back Shuayb “Shoes” Brinkley out of East Los Angeles Junior College. 

Brinkley played his freshman year at Delaware on the FCS level, finishing with 14 tackles in 11 games with one start as a cornerback. Last year in California, he had 43 tackles and four interceptions in 10 games.

He also had 244 yards in kickoff returns and another 214 taking back punts. Returning kicks was a need after last season for the Cowboys.

After playing three years of his high school career in Philadelphia, Brinkley transferred to national power Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California. He should add game experience and depth to an already solid secondary.