LAKE CHARLES — After graduating from Louisiana Tech with a degree in sports marketing and having one more season of college football eligibility, former Loreauville standout Rhashid Bonnette really needed a change of scenery.
It wasn’t so much that he was disappointed with his time at Louisiana Tech, it had more to do with the direction that the coaching staff was going and it wasn’t the direction that Bonnette wanted to go.
“There was a bunch of complications with me and the coaching staff,” Bonnette said. “At the end of the day it was time to go our separate ways.
“I’m grateful for them to help me getting to where I want to be but it was time to go.”
In three years at Louisiana Tech, Bonnette was was an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention selection, caught 74 passes for 1,065 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 14.4 yards per catch for the Bulldogs. He even had two 100-yard receiving games while in Ruston.
In the end, however, with a year of eligibility left, it was time to head to new pastures.
That turned out to be graduate school at McNeese and trying to help the Cowboys win the Southland Conference Championship and earn a bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
“It was closer to home and my family could come see me play my last year,” Bonnette said. “McNeese offered me a good deal and they took care of me as as student, player and father of my child.
“It’s just a great place to be and I’m happy that I’m here.”
So Bonnette enrolled in grad school at McNeese where he is working on his masters in criminal justice.
As a grad transfer, Bonnette knows that nothing is going to come easy for him. He has to fit into a new system, learn new faces and adapt to new coaching staff.
“I have to go and prove myself all over again,” he said. “I have to restart and earn my playing time but that’s not a big problem.”
McNeese has been in fall camp about two weeks and Bonnette is out there grinding away, learning new plays, earning his spot in the offense.
“I looking to get a great deal of playing time,” Bonnette said. “I don’t think that you’re going to go someplace as a graduate transfer and not get a lot of playing time.
“But there are a lot of great guys here so I know that I have to compete to earn my reps.”
He’s working at outside receiver and could see time as a kick returner for the Cowboys.
“I just want to come out and have a good season,” Bonnette said.
“I knew that they haven’t been to a (national) championship since 2002 and haven’t won a conference championship since 2015.
“To win a title is the ultimate goal of the team and if I can help them win a national championship that would be a great achievement for me.”
One thing that Bonnette is getting used to is working with new head coach Sterlin Gilbert, who also in his first season at McNeese.
“He’s a good, energetic, fun coach in be around,” Bonnette said.
“He’s very creative. Just to work with him is a true honor and I enjoy every minute of it.”
With one season of college football eligibility left, Bonnette is starting to thing about the future when McNeese’s season ends.
Those plans include trying for the NFL.
“I’m looking to declaring for the draft,” he said.
“I want to try it out and see how it goes, but right now I’m open to all options, NFL, CFL, XFL, any place where I can play ball.”