Recruit the Boot: Simon leads Cowboys’ all-Louisiana recruiting class

Raymond Partsch III, Special to the American Press

Frank Wilson’s priority was to keep Dillon Simon from leaving home.

The Lake Charles College Prep star quarterback had scholarship offers from Grambling State, Lamar, Army and had been verbally committed to playing at the University of South Alabama.

Instead, Wilson and his staff were able to flip the three-star dual-threat quarterback and have as one of the 11 players part of McNeese’s early period recruiting class Wednesday.

“It was difficult,” Wilson said. “He was a guy that we identified early on. We really believed that he was the best guy in our city, the best player in our city. You’ve got to be able to protect your turf. Lake Charles is our home and we wanted to get the best players in our city.

“He was pursued by other schools,” Wilson added. “He was extremely coveted throughout the country. It became a task for us but one that was worth fighting.”

Simon wasn’t the only quarterback that signed their National Letter of Intent with the Cowboys on Wednesday. Mandeville’s Devon Tott chose McNeese over New Mexico State, Prairie View A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Southern University.

Wilson said it was a priority to sign multiple quarterbacks.

“For us, we currently have three scholarship quarterbacks,” Wilson said. “We are a little top heavy and not much underneath it at that position. We went the high school route to get quality and quantity in the style of play we desire.”

South Beauregard defensive lineman Eli Goss was also a priority.

Goss transferred to South Beauregard for his senior season after Westlake canceled its season due to extensive damage from Hurricane Laura.

Goss had several family ties to the Cowboys, and that combined with his talent made him a prized recruit for Wilson.

“Very fortunate,” Wilson said. “He has a brother that just graduated, a sister that is in school, a cousin, mother and father that went here. There is family history here. We just wanted Eli to know that we see you. That you are part of the fabric of McNeese. We recruited him aggressively.”

Roster management played a role in this recruiting cycle, especially with depth in the secondary. McNeese lost a handful of players in that position group, including seniors Colby Burton and Darion Dunn who transferred to play their senior seasons elsewhere. Burton is headed to play at UL Monroe while Dunn signed with the University of Texas.

McNeese inked four defensive backs in Belle Chasse cornerback Twillie Lovett, L.B. Landry safety Travis Walker Jr., Hahnville cornerback Alijah Hamilton and St. Augustine safety Edwards Gilds III.

“It was everything to be quite honest,” Wilson said. “We had about four or five that opted out. We will have a tough one this spring season. We will have to use the next man up mentality but come fall we will add some troops to that unit to benefit the quality we already have there.”

McNeese also signed Ascension Episcopal offensive lineman Clay Ancelet, East St. John defensive tackle Welland Williams, Holy Cross wide receiver Jalen Johnson, and Northwood-Shreveport offensive lineman Cameron Foster.

Despite being less than an hour from talent-rich Texas, the signing class featured only players from Louisiana. Wilson addressed that lack of Texas players in this class.

“We will start in Lake Charles and will expand beyond that,” Wilson said. “Our bordering areas, Beaumont, Orange, we consider that part of our instate three-hour radius, but our recruitment starts in Lake Charles.”Quarterback Dillon Simon is one of three Lake Charles College Prep players who earned Class 3A all-state honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Rodrick Anderson/American Press

Crime

Sulphur High student arrested after threat made

Crime

Sheriff: Escapee shot after firing at officers

Local News

Governor optimistic about federal hurricane aid for SW La.

Local News

Eastbound lane of I-10 bridge remains closed after fiery crash

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit

Local News

Field of education plays major role in Broussard household

Local News

Driver, passenger killed in collision with 18-wheeler

Local News

Colo. man struck, killed in Calcasieu

Local News

The Last Island Hurricane of 1856: Killer storm wiped out a pre-Civil War resort island

Local News

Volunteer of Week: Stanford dedicates life to city

Local News

Slow rebuild: Local officials say recovery still a ways off