Sterlin adds two coaches to staff

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McNeese State football team announced the coaching staff hires on Jan. 3, one coaching spot and two positions were left open: defensive line coach and special teams coordinator.

While head coach Sterlin Gilbert has not officially announced anything involving either position, it seems like both of them have been filled.

The new defensive line coach will be Ben Olson, at least according to his Twitter account. He has retweeted multiple tweets from other accounts related to McNeese football and recently tweeted his excitement about high school prospects who committed to McNeese.

Olson spent the 2018 season as the defensive line coach at Yale. The Bulldogs ranked 41st in the Football Championship Subdivision in sacks per game at 2.3. They also averaged six tackles per loss and 163 rushing yards allowed per game last season.

Olson worked as a graduate assistant at Syracuse and an outside linebackers coach at Colgate, in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Olson played his college football at Eastern Illinois and joined the EIU coaching staff in 2012 when current Syracuse head coach Dino Babers held the same position there. Gilbert was the Panthers’ offensive coordinator at the time.

As far as special teams coordinator is concerned, there is less clarity as to who that will be, but certain clues point to inside wide receivers coach Jeff LePak being the guy for the job.

McNeese appears to have offered a scholarship to a high school kicker and secured a commitment from a kicker who will transfer from another college, and both of them tagged LePak in their tweets. LePak was the only McNeese coach that either of them tagged.

For the last three seasons, LePak worked as a special teams quality control coach for Syracuse. With no more available spots on McNeese’s coaching staff, LePak may have the most experience coaching special teams.

Recruiting update

With national signing day approaching on Wednesday, the McNeese coaching staff has been at work securing commitments and sending out offers.

Recently the Cowboys got five prospects to commit (four from high school, one a college transfer): tight end KJ Brown (Brazoswood, Texas), defensive end Earenest Grayson III (Jenks, Oklahoma), defensive lineman Kaleb Wenson (Lake Travis, Texas), East Ascension wide receiver Markquell Stewart and Texas Wesleyan kicker Kade Dixon, originally from Slidell.

Grayson comes from Jenks, one of the most well-known high school football programs in Oklahoma. He committed to McNeese over offers from Texas State, Eastern Illinois, Houston Baptist and Missouri State.

Wenson is listed as a twostar prospect by the 247Sports composite rankings. He said he received offers from Air Force and Houston Baptist.

Stewart had been committed to McNeese, but decommitted when former head coach Lance Guidry’s contract was not renewed in November. But after taking his official visit to McNeese last weekend, Stewart decided to re-commit to the Cowboys.

There are two players who McNeese has recently offered and are still recruiting with the hopes that they will commit: running back Carlos Williams (Dixie County, Florida) and Lafayette Christian kicker Colin LaHaye.

Williams is a 5-foot-11 back from Cross City, Florida. He reportedly holds offers from Tusculum University, Valdosta State, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Southern Mississippi.

Williams committed to VSU but decommitted on Jan. 27. He said he plans to announce his decision on Wednesday.

LaHaye is the first offer from the state of Louisiana of Gilbert’s McNeese coaching tenure. LaHaye’s only other offer — according to his Twitter account — is from Division III East Texas Baptist.

Former Washington-Marion High School linebacker Christian Guillory committed to McNeese but decommitted after Guidry was let go. All signs point to Guillory signing with Houston Baptist on national signing day.

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