Many football insiders in the state of Louisiana were surprised that there wasn’t a host of major college schools recruiting Hahnville High School wide receiver James Butler last season.
Butler, who caught 65 passes for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns for Lou Valdin’s Tigers in 2009, was passed on by a number of high profile schools before he signed on with UL-Lafayette in February.
The adjustment to major college football didn’t take long for the talented wide-out.
Despite a very disappointing (3-9) season for the Ragin Cajuns, Butler finished up his true freshman season strong.
In UL-Lafayette’s 23-22 victory over UL-Monroe, Butler caught six passes for 86 yards.
He finished out his freshman season with 14 receptions for 200 yards, averaged 14.3 yards per catch and scored a touchdown.
Cajuns’ quarterback Chris Masson, who split time as the starter with former Lutcher High School standout Blaine Gautier, says that Butler really played well down the stretch.
“He’s an outstanding football player and he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential as a college player,” Masson said. “James has excellent size, he knows how to use his frame real well to shield the ball away from defenders and he is sure-handed. “Sometimes you see freshman and they just are star-struck by the move from high school to college, but he handled the transition real well. It’s a shame the season is over with because you could see his growth as a player on the practice field and during games. He’s got a chance to be a very good football player before he leaves UL.”
Former DHS star Nelson shines in Arkansas’ defeat of LSU
The Arkansas Razorbacks ended any chance of the LSU Tigers run for a BCS bowl game when they defeated the purple and gold 31-23 in Little Rock last Saturday.
One player who played a significant part in that win was former Destrehan High School running back Jerico Nelson, now starting at outside linebacker for the Razorbacks.
The 5-9, 218 pound linebacker recorded a game-high 11 tackles, two tackles for losses, a quarterback sack and one quarterback hurry against his former Wildcat teammate Jordan Jefferson.
Nelson’s switch from safety to outside linebacker was a key component in the Razorbacks’ rebuilt defense that helped them post a 10-2 mark in 2010 and a likely selection to play in the Sugar Bowl.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was quick to give praise to Nelson after the Razorbacks win over LSU.
“Everyone saw what type of football player he was out there,” Robinson said. “I can’t say enough about what Jerico meant to us this season. He went through a position change and it looked as though he had played that spot all his life. Jerico has terrific football instincts and his football radar is always turned on. You can find players with talent, but you can’t teach football intelligence and the ability to put yourself in the right spot to make a play.
“He has that gift.”
Nelson finished the 2010 season second on the team in tackles with 83. He also had 11 tackles for loss, two and a half quarterback sacks, one forced fumble and one pass interception.