LA Tech welcomes 10 newcomers to 2021 football roster

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LA Tech football
(Photo: Tom Morris/LATechSportsPix.com)

RUSTON, La. – The future is bright for the Louisiana Tech football program as LA Tech signed eight future Bulldogs to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

“This has been a unique recruiting cycle and certainly a unique recruiting process for these young men that have made their decision where we’ve lost May recruiting where we were able to go out and see them their junior year,” head coach Skip Holtz said. “Where we lost the opportunity to attend camps during the course of the summer where we had the opportunity to work with everybody individually in-person. Losing the opportunity for us to go to their games or for them to come to ours to interact with each other. Missing the opportunity to do home visits and sit down with them and their families one-on-one. It certainly has been a challenge for colleges around the country, but it’s been an incredible challenge for these young men to try and make a college decision when you’re trying to do everything virtually in what you can learn online, what we can do in zoom calls, videos and things like that. We’ve done everything we could to make this real to the young men.”

Wednesday’s eight signees will join Caleb Holstein (Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More Catholic HS), a late class of 2020 signee, and graduate transfer Samuel Williams (Fordyce, Ark./ULM) to make 10 great additions to the 2021 Louisiana Tech football roster. Including Holstein and Williams, the Bulldogs have now added seven offensive players and three players on the defensive side of the ball.

“With our limited numbers and knowing we were trying to stay 10-or-below and we didn’t want to go above that with the dynamics of recruiting I talked about earlier, we were very pinpointed in where we wanted to go,” Holtz said. “We were very tight with our offers. Some people throw out 100 offers and see who wants to come, but we were very targeted with what we did and the handful of players that were really handpicked out of this class that we wanted to be additions. I’m very excited about the young men that are here, and am very excited about the young men that signed. I look forward to working with these guys for the next four-to-five years and seeing the progress that they’re going to make and the way they are going to grow and develop on the field.”

The first pair of National Letters of Intent came in at 7:21 a.m. (CT) in offensive lineman Erron Bean (Shreveport, La./Huntington HS) and linebacker CJ Calhoun (Freeport, Texas/Brazosport HS). Two more players signed their NLIs within the hour in offensive lineman Carson Bruno (Shreveport, La./C.E. Byrd HS) and defensive end J’Dan Burnett (Fort Worth, Texas/Nolan Catholic HS).

The final four talented signees of the day came in offensive lineman Kenneth Bannister (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr HS), defensive back Carlos Dunovant (Cusseta, Ga./Chattahoochee County HS), wide receiver Solomon Lewis (Lake Charles, La./Lake Charles College Prep) and running back Marquis Crosby (Hattiesburg, Miss./Presbyterian Christian School).

Louisiana Tech football will next look for its seventh-straight bowl victory on Wednesday, Dec. 23, as the Bulldogs take on Georgia Southern in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 2 p.m. (CT) in a game televised by ESPN.

Tickets for the 2020 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be available to the general public at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17. LA Tech Athletics is limited to 1,000 tickets per the designation of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the city of New Orleans. The pass list for the LA Tech football student-athletes is included in this number.

Tickets for the New Orleans Bowl will be digital. Fans will receive their tickets by Monday, Dec. 20 for tickets purchased by Friday, Dec. 18. The Tech Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631. Due to the high demand for tickets, if the Tech Ticket Office cannot be reached by phone, fans can make their request for tickets through emailing TechTickets@latech.edu.

2021 Louisiana Tech Football Newcomer Roster (December)

Name Pos Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown/Previous School
Kenneth Bannister OL 6-6 290 Fr. New Orleans, La./Edna Karr HS
Erron Bean OL 6-5 280 Fr. Shreveport, La./Huntington HS
Carson Bruno OL 6-4 290 Fr. Shreveport, La./C.E. Byrd HS
J’Dan Burnett DE 6-1 220 Fr. Fort Worth, Texas/Nolan Catholic HS
CJ Calhoun LB 6-0 220 Fr. Freeport, Texas/Brazosport HS
Marquis Crosby RB 5-10 185 Fr. Hattiesburg, Miss./Presbyterian Christian School
Carlos Dunovant DB 6-1 180 Fr. Cusseta, Ga./Chattahoochee County HS
Caleb Holstein QB 6-5 225 Fr. Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More Catholic HS
Solomon Lewis WR 5-10 165 Fr. Lake Charles, La./Lake Charles College Prep
Samuel Williams OL 6-7 322 Gr. Fordyce, Ark./ULM

2021 Louisiana Tech Football Newcomer Bios (December)

Kenneth Bannister (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr HS)
OL, 6-6, 290, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Edna Karr High School in 2021… Rated as a three-star offensive tackle by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com… Has helped lead the Cougars be named state champions as a freshman, sophomore and junior… Has led Edna Karr to a 9-1 record in 2020 as the Cougars look for their fifth straight state championship… Named all-district in 2019… Coached by Brice Brown… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from a number of schools including Colorado, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and West Virginia.

Erron Bean (Shreveport, La./Huntington HS)
OL, 6-5, 280, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Huntington High School in 2021… Rated as a three-star strong-side defensive end by 247Sports.com… Named Louisiana Football Magazine Preseason first team all-North Louisiana… Helped lead Huntington to a 6-2 overall record in 2020… Coached by Steven Dennis… Also lettered in basketball at Huntington… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State and Northeastern State.

Carson Bruno (Shreveport, La./C.E. Byrd HS)
OL, 6-4, 290, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from C. E. Byrd High School in December 2020… Rated as a three-star defensive tackle by 247Sports.com…Has helped lead Byrd to an undefeated 10-0 season as a senior in 2020… Looks to lead Byrd to a state championship as Byrd takes on Catholic-B.R. in the title game on Friday, Dec. 18… Two-time all-District selection… Coached by Mike Suggs… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from various schools, including Arkansas State, Army, ULM, McNeese State, and Nicholls State.

J’Dan Burnett (Fort Worth, Texas/Nolan Catholic HS)
DE, 6-1, 220, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Nolan Catholic High School in 2021… Rated as a three star outside linebacker by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com… Helped lead Nolan Catholic to an 8-1 record as a senior in 2020… Led the team to a runner-up-finish at the 2020 state championships… Holds the school record for blocked punts/kicks in a single season… Forced a fumble on a sack in the first playoff game of the 2020 campaign that was then recovered for a touchdown… Was named to the Star-Telegram all-area team as a junior in 2019… Recorded 70 tackles and 14.5 sacks in 2019… Coached by David Beaudin… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from various schools such as Hawai’i, Kansas, North Texas, San Diego State and UTSA.

CJ Calhoun (Freeport, Texas/Brazosport HS)
LB, 6-0, 220, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Brazosport High School in 2021… Rated as a three-star inside linebacker by 247Sports.com… Played in four games in 2020 before missing the remainder of the season due to injury… Was named academic all-district as a senior in 2020… Recorded 111 total tackles as a junior in 2019, including 11.0 tackles for loss.. Finished his high school career with 185 total tackles, including 90 solo and 15.0 for loss… Coached by Mark Kanipes… Also lettered in baseball and track… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from various schools such as Nevada, New Mexico State, UNLV and UTSA.

Marquis Crosby (Hattiesburg, Miss./Presbyterian Christian School)
RB, 5-10, 185, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Presbyterian Christian School in 2021… Set the Mississippi single-season record with 3,678 rushing yards as a senior in 2020… Averaged 282.9 rushing yards per game as a senior… Finished the 2020 campaign with 34 rushing touchdowns… Had a combined 5,105 rushing yards on 555 carriers for 44 touchdowns between his junior and senior season… Coached by Derek White… Also lettered in basketball… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from Arkansas State, East Carolina and ULM.

Carlos Dunovant (Cusseta, Ga./Chattahoochee County HS)
DB, 6-1, 180, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Chattahoochee County High School in 2021… Helped lead the team to an 8-3 overall record as a senior in 2020… Registered 37 tackles, six interceptions and two fumble recoveries as a senior… Posted 28 receptions for 694 yards in 2020… Rushed for 202 yards on 12 attempts as a senior… Had 16 total touchdowns in 2020… Set the Georgia high school football record of interceptions in a single game with six as a junior in 2019… Was named preseason all-state, first team all-Bi-City and first team all-region as a junior… Coached by Pierre Coffey… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from various schools such as Army, Maryland, South Alabama and Troy.

Caleb Holstein (Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More Catholic High School)
QB, 6-5, 225, Fr.
High School: Graduated from St. Thomas More Catholic High School in 2020… Was a three-year letterwinner in football and basketball at St. Thomas More Catholic… Accumulated a 33-6 record during his high school football career, completing 634-of-965 passes for 9,519 total yards and 106 touchdowns… Also rushed for 15 career touchdowns…. Finished his high school career by capturing the St. Thomas More records for career passing yards and touchdowns, the single season records for passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage, and holds the single game record for passing yards and touchdowns… Earned various honors as a senior, including being named Suddenlink by Atlice Louisiana all-state, Louisiana Football Coaches Association composite all-state, Louisiana SportsLine all-state, Louisiana Sports Writers Association all-state, All-Acadiana, all-District 5-4A, Class 4A first team all-decade and earning the Jake Delhomme QB of the Year Award… Played in the I-10 Bowl as a senior…. Collected numerous honors as junior, including being named USA Today all-Louisiana, Louisiana SportsLine all-State and Offensive Player of the Year, Louisiana Sports Writers Association all-state and Outstanding Offensive Player, Louisiana Football Coaches Association all-state and offensive MVP, All-Acadiana, All-Acadiana Offensive MVP, all-District 4-4A and district offensive MVP, The Daily Advertiser’s Boys Athlete of the Year, The Daily Advertiser’s All-Acadiana Offensive Most Valuable Player, Best of Louisiana High School Football State MVP, Class 4A All-State Offensive Player of the Year and earned the Jake Delhomme QB of the Year Award.

Solomon Lewis (Lake Charles, La./Lake Charles College Prep)
WR, 5-10, 165, Fr.
High School: Expected to graduate from Lake Charles College Prep in 2021… Rated as a three-star wide receiver by 247Sports.com… Named MaxPreps 2020 preseason All-Louisiana second team… Has helped lead the team an undefeated 10-0 season in 2020… Hopes to lead Lake Charles College Prep to the state championship as the team takes on Union Parish in the semifinals on Friday, Dec. 18… Averages 71.3 receiving yards per game as a senior… Has record 499 receiving yards on 23 receptions for six touchdowns in 2020… Has totaled 1,204 receiving yards on 75 receptions for 14 touchdowns during his high school career… Coached by Erick Franklin… Chose Louisiana Tech over offers from schools such as Fresno State, Houston, Miami (Fla.) and Texas Tech.

Samuel Williams (Fordyce, Ark./ULM)
OL, 6-7, 322, Gr. ,
Previous School: Appeared in 33 career games for Louisiana-Monroe, including 16 career starts at right tackle… Appeared and started in eight games for ULM in the 2020 campaign… First career appearance came in 2017 against South Alabama.

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