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College football: Louisiana Tech adds 19 transfers

by Russell Hedges

Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie announced the addition of 19 transfers to the Bulldogs’ 2023 football roster today.

“We’re excited to add 19 transfers to our football program as we prepare for spring practice beginning March 21,” head coach Sonny Cumbie said. “Adding them to our returning roster will make our football team stronger. We’re looking forward to a competitive spring and one of daily improvement.”

Of the 19 transfers, 12 were defensive, six were offensive, and the Bulldogs picked up one special teams addition.

Tech added depth at the linebacker position with Jeslord Boateng out of Akron, Kolbe Fields from Brevin Randle by way of Stephen F. Austin and Zach Zimos from Arkansas.

Boateng led the Zips in tackles by tallying 80 in 2021, including four and a half for loss and one sack. He totaled 27 tackles in 11 games during the 2022 season. Before Akron, Boateng played three seasons at Michigan State, appearing in 18 games and recording 18 tackles.

Fields played in 11 games for LSU last season, making four tackles while appearing both defensively and on special teams. Fields spent the 2021 season at South Carolina, where he appeared in four games. The New Orleans product prepped at Archbishop Rummel High School, where he was named District 9-5A Defensive MVP and first-team all-state in 2020.

Randle is familiar with defensive coordinator Scott Power, having played under him for three seasons at SFA. Randle, a native of Marshall, Texas, played in 37 games during his four years as a Lumberjack, totaling 184 career tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Zimos makes his way to Tech as a graduate transfer. The 6-4 233-pound linebacker appeared in 14 games in his four years as a Razorback. Zimos prepped at Fort Bend Travis High School in Richmond, Texas where he was a four-star prospect, according to Rivals recruiting service.

Joining Randle, is his Stephen F. Austin teammate Myles Heard. Heard accumulated 211 tackles, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions in his four seasons at Safety with the Lumberjacks. He led SFA in tackles in 2022 and 2021 with 69 and 80, respectively.

Headlining the offensive transfers is quarterback Hank Bachmeier who came to Tech by way of Boise State. Bachmeier started 25 games during his four seasons as a Bronco, completing 53 of his 870 passing attempts for 6,605 yards and 41 touchdowns while also rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Bachmeier was a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch List selection in 2022 and was named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List in 2023.

Wide receiver Decoldest Crawford is returning to the 318 after spending his freshman season at Nebraska, where he sat out due to injury. The Shreveport product had a standout career at Green Oaks High School. Crawford helped Green Oaks to three playoff appearances in his four seasons while totaling nearly 150 catches and more than 2,200 receiving yards. The electric playmaker was a consensus three-star prospect who ranked among the top 20 players in Louisiana and the top 80 receivers in the country by Rivals.

The Bulldogs gained a physical tight end by adding Cal Poly transfer Ryan Rivera. Rivera started nine games in 2021 on his way to receiving second-team All-Big Sky honors from the league’s coaches and Phil Steele. The Tracy, Calif., product appeared in 31 games for the Mustangs during his four years in San Louis Obispo, hauling in 12 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Cumbie and staff also added offensive lineman Mykel Janise and running backs Craig “Sqwirl” Williams and Tyre Shelton.

Janise transfers to Tech from Wyoming, where he redshirted his freshman season. The Beaumont, Texas product was a three-star recruit and held an offer from LA Tech out of high school.

Williams played in 11 games and made seven starts at running back at Baylor last season, finishing the year with 101 carries for 557 yards and four touchdowns. The Lone Star State native rushed 25 times for 192 yards and two TDs, including breaking a final-minute first-down rush and falling inside the 10-yard line to allow Baylor to run out the clock with the victory formation in a 38-35 win over Oklahoma. Williams has totaled 804 yards rushing and seven touchdowns during his collegiate career. Williams has blazing speed, having previously clocked in at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Shelton comes to Ruston from Miami (Ohio) where he was teammates with current Bulldog Cecil Singleton Jr. from 2019-21. Shelton saw action in 11 games last season, rushing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in 85 attempts. Overall, he has rushed for 1,153 yards and seven touchdowns in his career.

Long snapper Gabe Pugh was the only special teams addition for the Bulldogs. Pugh spent the 2019-22 seasons at Alabama, where he was a member of the Crimson Tide’s national championship team in 2020.

Tech added defensive ends in Iowa State transfer Jayden Gray and Ezekiel Durham-Campbell from Lenoir Rhyne.

Gray spent the 2021-22 seasons as a Cyclone, appearing in six games while notching two tackles while appearing primarily on special teams. Gray was a three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals coming out of V.R. Eaton High School in Fort Worth, Texas. He finished his senior season with 72 tackles, five sacks, 10 TFL, a forced fumble and 35 QB pressures.

Durham-Campbell appeared in 11 games as a true freshman at Lenoir Rhyne, making 23 total tackles, including eight for loss. He prepped at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga., helping lead them to a state title in 2019.

Cumbie and staff boosted the Bulldog secondary with five transfer additions in Demarcus Griffin-Taylor from Houston, Tulsa transfer Zion HopesRoderick Roberson from SMU and twins Kejuan and Keon Markham by way of Arizona State.

Griffin-Taylor played in all 13 games last season at Houston, tallying 16 total tackles and 12 solo stops while recording a pass breakup and a tackle for loss.

Hopes redshirted as a freshman at Tulsa and appeared in 11 games while making two tackles in 2022. Hopes prepped at Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Texas, where he was a three-star recruit.

Roberson arrives in Ruston after spending four years at SMU, where he appeared in 26 games and made 54 tackles. A three-star recruit by 247sports.com and a 5A All-State honorable mention selection, Roberson had 55 tackles (39 solo), two blocked field goals and seven kickoff returns for 154 yards as a senior in 2018 at Royse City High School.

The Bulldogs closed out their defensive back transfers with twins Kejaun and Keon Markham.

Kejuan appeared in 21 games and tallied 50 tackles and two interceptions during his four seasons with the Sun Devils. He was the second-highest graded freshman safety in the Pac-12, according to Pro Football Focus in 2020.

Keon appeared in nine games as a Sun Devil, recording 29 total tackles and one interception.

The 2023 transfer additions join the 21 high school signees that the Bulldogs signed previously during the early and late signing periods.

The Bulldogs will start spring ball on Tuesday, March 21, and cap their spring slate on April 22, when they host their annual spring game inside Joe Aillet Stadium at 11 a.m.

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