LAFAYETTE – With more than 70 percent of their production returning for the 2020 season, Louisiana's running backs are primed for another big year behind All-Conference performers Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas.
Mitchell was a huge part in the group's success a year ago after he galloped for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns. His yardage total made him just the sixth player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and was the fourth-best mark in the Sun Belt, while his touchdown total was ranked 11th nationally.
Ragas also played a big role, toting the ball 116 times for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns. The New Orleans native joined Mitchell as one of the most productive backs in the conference, ranking fifth in touchdowns and eighth in rushing yards.
Both earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2019, with Mitchell landing on the Second Team and Ragas earning Third Team honors.
With the loss of Raymond Calais to the NFL Draft, Chris Smith will look to fill the void as the "speed back" for Louisiana. Smith showed off his flashiness during his redshirt freshman campaign, producing 334 yards and scoring four touchdowns, one of which went for 80 yards.
T.J. Wisham and Michael Orphey, Jr., also saw time in 2019, combining for 18 carries, 155 yards and one score. As a unit, the backs set the school record for the most rushing yards (3,604) and most rushing touchdowns (42) in a single season.
The group of veterans welcomes in a new crop of running backs that will compete for playing time in Emani Bailey, Jordan Griffin, Andray Pope and Mike Martin.
Third-year assistant coach Jabbar Juluke, who was named the 2019 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year, will lead the group into the 2020 campaign.