April 23, 2018

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Southeastern Adds Nine for 2018 on Opening Day of Early Signing Period

HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana welcomed nine student-athletes who will continue their academic and athletic endeavors as members of the Lion football program, SLU head coach Ron Roberts announced on the opening day of the 2018 early signing period on Wednesday.

The newest group of Lions includes six junior college products and three high school signees. All six of the junior college transfers will have two years of eligibility remaining and will participate in spring practice, which begins in early March.

The two areas for SLU hit hardest by graduation were the secondary and linebacker corps. Roberts and his staff were able to address both needs with the addition of defensive backs Darius Doakes (Richmond, Texas/Kilgore College) and Matthew Wright (Austin, Texas/Navarro College), as well as linebackers Semaj Thomas (Fort Worth, Texas/Jones County JC) and Mike Mason (Encino, California/El Camino College).

“We are replacing a lot of production in both the defensive backfield and at linebacker,” Roberts commented. “We knew we needed to add impact players at those positions that could contribute right away and we were able to do that today.”

Rounding out the junior college products were offensive lineman Jarius Gooch (Water Valley, Mississippi/Holmes CC) and wide receiver Marquis Williams (Daytona Beach, Florida/Palomar College). Gooch projects to fit in at guard on an already deep offensive line, while Williams is expected to help replace 2017’s leading receiver, Juwan Dickey, who just finished his senior campaign.

“We’re always looking to get better even at positions that we consider strengths,” Roberts said. “Jarius and Marquis are both immediate impact-type players for us. We’re excited to have all of our junior college additions here for spring practice to get them acclimated to our program.”

Southeastern rounded out its early signing class with three local high school products in defensive lineman Dante’ Carter (New Orleans, Louisiana/St. Augustine HS), running back Taron Jones (Mandeville, Louisiana/Mandeville HS) and offensive lineman Brendon Kelley (Franklinton, Louisiana/Pine HS).

“We’re really excited about being to bring in three high-caliber student-athletes from our immediate area,” Roberts said. “To have the opportunity to add three talented high school players now instead of waiting until February gives us a good jump start into the rest of the recruiting season.”

Roberts and his staff still have plenty of work to do heading into the traditional Feb. 7 national signing day.

“We’re better today than we were 24 hours ago and we definitely filled some needs,” Roberts said. “But we still need to continue to add talent in all areas. We obviously helped ourselves at linebacker and defensive back today, but those will remain areas of focus. We also will be looking to add more playmakers at the offensive skill positions, as well as immediate impact players up front on both sides of the ball.”

Southeastern will officially open the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at FBS opponent ULM.

2018 Southeastern Louisiana Football Early Signing Class
Dante’ Carter – DL – 6-0 – 315 – New Orleans, La. – St. Augustine HS
Darius Doakes – DB – 6-1 – 210 – Richmond, Texas – Kilgore College/Fort Bend Travis HS
Jarius Gooch – OL – 6-2 – 290 – Water Valley, Miss. – Holmes CC/Water Valley HS
Taron Jones – RB – 5-10 – 187 – Mandeville, La. – Mandeville HS
Brendon Kelley – OL – 6-4 – 323 – Franklinton, La. – Pine HS
Mike Mason – LB – 5-11 – 215 – Encino, Calif. – El Camino College/Crespi HS
Semaj Thomas – LB – 6-2 – 237 – Fort Worth, Texas – Jones County JC/Southwest HS
Marquis Williams – WR – 6-0 – 180 – Daytona Beach, Fla. – Palomar College/Father Lopez HS
Matthew Wright – DB – 5-11 – 190 – Austin, Texas – Navarro College/McNeil HS

2018 Southeastern Louisiana Football Early Signing Class Capsules
Dante’ Carter – DL – 6-0 – 315 – New Orleans, La. – St. Augustine HS

Earned District 9-5A Defensive MVP honors as a senior at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans … Named to the Clarion Herald Elite Team … Two-time All-District 9-5A selection … Nickname is “Baby Sapp”.

Darius Doakes – DB – 6-1 – 210 – Richmond, Texas – Kilgore College/Fort Bend Travis HS
Finished with 63 tackles and three interceptions in his sophomore season at Kilgore College … Played in 11 games, making 18 tackles as a redshirt freshman at Angelo State University … all-district performer as a senior at Fort Bend Travis High School … Also a standout in high school in both baseball and track … Will participate in spring practice.

Jarius Gooch – OL – 6-2 – 290 – Water Valley, Miss. – Holmes CC/Water Valley HS
Second team All-State performer as a sophomore at Holmes Community College … Honorable mention All-State as a freshman … Earned All-State honors in both football and track (shot put) during his tenure at Water Valley High School … Will participate in spring practice.

Taron Jones – RB – 5-10 – 187 – Mandeville, La. – Mandeville HS
First team All-District 6-5A selection as a senior at Mandeville High School … Playmaker saw action at running back and wide receiver for the district champion Skippers … Also competed on the MHS track and field team.

Brendon Kelley – OL – 6-4 – 323 – Franklinton, La. – Pine HS
Second team All-USA Louisiana Football Team selection as a senior at Pine High School … Two-time All-District 8-2A choice.

Mike Mason – LB – 5-11 – 215 – Encino, Calif. – El Camino College/Crespi HS
Finished with 59 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in his sophomore season at El Camino College … SCFA All-Central League first team selection in his debut season at ECC … Recorded two interceptions as a freshman at Dixie State … Prepped at Crespi High School – the alma mater of former Lion All-American quarterback Bryan Bennett … Will participate in spring practice.

Semaj Thomas – LB – 6-2 – 237 – Fort Worth, Texas – Jones County JC/Southwest HS
Posted five sacks and 23 tackles as a sophomore at Jones County Junior College … Originally signed with TCU as a four-star recruit out of Southwest High School, ranking second in the state of Texas and 42nd nationally at linebacker … District 7-5A MVP and All-State performer at SHS … Will participate in spring practice.

Marquis Williams – WR – 6-0 – 180 – Daytona Beach, Fla. – Palomar College/Father Lopez HS
Caught 53 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore at Palomar College … Spent freshman season at Southwestern Community College, where he caught 51 passes for 510 yards and five scores … Class 3A All-State performer as a senior at Father Lopez High School … Finished final high school campaign with 55 catches for 817 yards and seven touchdowns … Will participate in spring practice.

Matthew Wright – DB – 5-11 – 190 – Austin, Texas – Navarro College/McNeil HS
Two-time All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection was a tackle machine at Navarro College … Ranked second nationally with 102 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown as a sophomore … Credited with 103 tackles (third nationally) and nine pass breakups during his freshman campaign … Earned All-State, All-Central Texas and All-District 13-6 accolades at McNeil High School … Multi-sport athlete was a standout in both football and baseball … Will participate in spring practice.

About Andy Bryson 607 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach