SLU adds seven for 2018 on National Signing Day

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HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana head football coach Frank Scelfo announced the addition of seven student-athletes who will continue their academic and athletic endeavors as members of the Lion football program on National Signing Day Wednesday.

Wednesday’s signees all will come to Hammond directly from the high school ranks with six of the seven prepping in Louisiana. The newest Lions are linebacker Josh Carr (Houston, Texas/Westfield HS), linebacker Josh Cook (Walker, Louisiana/Walker HS), offensive lineman Kaleb Hogg (Sulphur, Louisiana/Sulphur HS), kicker Nathan Holliday (Watson, Louisiana/Live Oak HS), offensive lineman Brennan Lanclos (Mandeville, Louisiana/Lakeshore HS), quarterback Chris Penton (Mandeville, Louisiana/Lakeshore HS) and defensive back Donniel Ward-Magee (New Orleans, Louisiana/St. Augustine HS).

Southeastern already had a solid class in place, as 10 additions were made during the inaugural December Signing Day, as well as a pair of midyear transfers. The newest group of Lions runs the total to 17 newcomers for the 2018 season.

“Our staff did an excellent job addressing a lot of our needs in December,” Scelfo, who was named the 16th head football coach in school history on Tuesday, said. “We were able to fill some more of those needs today. We’re bringing in seven quality student-athletes, six from right here in Louisiana. Recruiting the talent in this state will continue to be a point of emphasis for us.”

With the 17 additions, the Lions have added talent at every position. On the defensive side, SLU has added four linebackers, three defensive backs and a defensive lineman. Southeastern bolstered the offensive side of the ball with four offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, one running back and one wide receiver.

Southeastern Football, in conjunction with the Lion Athletics Association (LAA), will hold its Annual Signing Day Bash on today at The Mezzanine in downtown Hammond.

The event is scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for SLU students and children ages 12 and under. The Mezzanine is located on 308 South Cate Street in Hammond. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available as Scelfo will discuss the 2018 Lion football signing class.

In conjunction with the event, the voice of Lion Football, Mark Willoughby and the host of Southeastern’s football, baseball and men’s basketball coaches radio shows, Allen Waddell will host a live radio remote from 5:30-6:30 p.m. that will air on Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM.

For more information on the event, contact SLU Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Development Tom Dawsey at (985) 549-5226 or

The Lions will open spring practice on March 13. Southeastern’s season opener is Sept. 1 at FBS foe ULM.

2018 Southeastern Louisiana Football Additions

Josh Carr, LB, 6-3, 220, Houston, Texas (Westfield HS)

*Dante’ Carter, DL, 6-0, 315, New Orleans, Louisiana (St. Augustine HS)

Josh Cook, LB, 5-11, 210, Walker, Louisiana (Walker HS)

**Jarius Gooch, OL, 6-2, 290, Water Valley, Miss. (Holmes CC/Water Valley HS)

Kaleb Hogg, OL, 6-3, 270, Sulphur, Louisiana (Sulphur HS)

Nathan Holliday, K, 6-2, 195, Watson, Louisiana (Live Oak HS)

*Taron Jones, RB, 5-10, 187, Mandeville, Louisiana (Mandeville HS)

*Brendon Kelley, OL, 6-4, 323, Franklinton, Louisiana (Pine HS)

Brennan Lanclos, OL, 6-7, 280, Mandeville, Louisiana (Lakeshore HS)

**Xavier Lewis, DB, 6-0, 200, LaPlace, Louisiana (East St. John HS)

**Mike Mason, LB, 5-11, 215, Encino, California (El Camino College/Crespi HS)

Chris Penton, QB, 6-0, 185, Mandeville, Louisiana (Lakeshore HS)

**Semaj Thomas, LB, 6-2, 237, Fort Worth, Texas (Jones County JC/Southwest HS)

**Chason Virgil, QB, 6-1, 192, Mesquite, Texas (West Mesquite HS)

Donniel Ward-Magee, DB, 6-1, 165, New Orleans, Louisiana (St. Augustine HS)

**Marquis Williams, WR, 6-0, 180, Daytona Beach, Florida (Palomar College/Father Lopez HS)

**Matthew Wright, DB, 5-11, 190, Austin, Texas (Navarre College/McNeil HS)

* – Signed during the December signing period
** – Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice

By Position
LB (4):
Josh Carr, Josh Cook, Mike Mason, Semaj Thomas
OL (4): Jarius Gooch, Kaleb Hogg, Brendon Kelley, Brennan Lanclos
DB (3): Xavier Lewis, Donniel Ward-Magee, Matthew Wright
QB (2): Chris Penton, Chason Virgil
DL (1): Dante’ Carter
RB (1): Taron Jones
K (1): Nathan Holliday
WR (1):
Marquis Williams

By State
Louisiana (10):
Dante’ Carter (New Orleans); Josh Cook (Walker); Kaleb Hogg (Sulphur); Nathan Holliday (Watson); Taron Jones (Mandeville); Brendon Kelley (Franklinton); Brennan Lanclos (Mandeville); Xavier Lewis (LaPlace); Chris Penton (Mandeville); Donniel Ward-Magee (New Orleans)
Texas (4): Josh Carr (Houston); Semaj Thomas (Fort Worth); Chason Virgil (Mesquite); Matthew Wright (Austin)
California (1):
Mike Mason (Encino)
Florida (1): Marquis Williams (Daytona Beach)
Mississippi (1):
Jarius Gooch (Water Valley)

2018 Southeastern Louisiana Football Addition Capsules
Josh Carr – LB – 6-3 – 220 – Houston, Texas – Westfield HS
Multi-time All-District 16-6A linebacker at Westfield High School … Collected 5.5 sacks as a senior at WHS … Named to the 2017 VYPE All-Houston Football Teams following final high school campaign.

Dante’ Carter – DL – 6-0 – 315 – New Orleans, Louisiana – St. Augustine HS
Earned District 9-5A Defensive MVP honors as a senior at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans … First team Class 5A All-State pick in 2017 … Named to the Clarion Herald Elite Team … Two-time All-District 9-5A selection … Nickname is “Baby Sapp” … December signee.

Josh Cook – LB – 5-11 – 210 – Walker, Louisiana – Walker HS
Recorded 110 tackles, six sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a junior at Walker High School … Also topped 100 tackles again during his senior season at WHS … Also a standout performer on the Walker High basketball team.

Jarius Gooch – OL – 6-2 – 290 – Water Valley, Mississippi – Holmes CC/Water Valley HS

Second team All-State performer as a sophomore at Holmes Community College … Honorable mention All-State as a freshman … Earned All-State honors in both football and track (shot put) during his tenure at Water Valley High School … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice.

Kaleb Hogg – OL – 6-3 – 270 – Sulphur, Louisiana – Sulphur HS
Class 5A All-State honorable mention selection and Lake Charles American Press All-Southwest Big Schools choice as a senior at Sulphur High School … Also named first team All-District 3-5A following his final high school campaign … Participated in the LHSCA I-10 Bowl High School All-Star game, pitting Lake Charles-area stars versus Lafayette-area stars.

Nathan Holliday – K – 6-2 – 195 – Watson, Louisiana – Live Oak HS
All-District 4-5A kicker as a junior at Live Oak High School … Also handled punting duties for LOHS, where he was coached by former Lion Brett Beard … Played in the Red Stick Bowl following his senior season … Also played on the tennis team for the Eagles.

Taron Jones – RB – 5-10 – 187 – Mandeville, Louisiana – Mandeville HS
First team All-District 6-5A selection as a senior at Mandeville High School … Playmaker saw action at running back and wide receiver for the district champion Skippers … Also competed on the MHS track and field team … December signee.

Brendon Kelley – OL – 6-4 – 323 – Franklinton, Louisiana – Pine HS
Second team All-USA Louisiana Football Team selection as a senior at Pine High School … Two-time All-District 8-2A choice … December signee.

Brennan Lanclos – OL – 6-7 – 280 – Mandeville, Louisiana – Lakeshore HS
Honorable mention Class 4A All-State selection as a senior at Mandeville’s Lakeshore High School … Also earned first team All-District 8-4A and first team All-St. Tammany Parish honors for the Class 4A state championship runner-up … Helped team to a 14-1 record in 2017.


Xavier Lewis – DB – 6-0 – 200 – LaPlace, Louisiana – East St. John HS

Spent two seasons at LSU prior to coming to Hammond … Recorded 14 tackles in 15 games for the Tigers … Four-star prospect by Rivals, ESPN, Scout and 247Sports coming out of East St. John High School … Ranked No. 13 cornerback in the nation by ESPN following senior season … Versatile performer played quarterback, wide receiver, punter, kicker, punt returner and kickoff returner in addition to defensive back at ESJHS … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice.

Mike Mason – LB – 5-11 – 215 – Encino, California – El Camino College/Crespi HS
Finished with 59 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in his sophomore season at El Camino College … SCFA All-Central League first team selection in his debut season at ECC … Recorded two interceptions as a freshman at Dixie State … Prepped at Crespi High School – the alma mater of former Lion All-American quarterback Bryan Bennett … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice.

Chris Penton – QB – 6-0 – 185 – Mandeville, Louisiana – Lakeshore HS
Named Class 4A Offensive Most Valuable Player following senior season at Lakeshore High School … Led the Titans to the state championship game … Led the New Orleans metro area with 2,563 passing yards and 33 touchdowns during the regular season … Accounted for 51 touchdowns in 2017 counting the playoffs … A first-team all-state, all-district and all-metro selection.

Semaj Thomas – LB – 6-2 – 237 – Fort Worth, Texas – Jones County JC/Southwest HS
Posted five sacks and 23 tackles as a sophomore at Jones County Junior College … Originally signed with TCU as a four-star recruit out of Southwest High School, ranking second in the state of Texas and 42nd nationally at linebacker … District 7-5A MVP and All-State performer at SHS … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in

spring practice.

Chason Virgil – QB – 6-1 – 192 – Mesquite, Texas – West Mesquite HS
Started 14 games during his two seasons at Fresno State … Threw for 2,843 yards and 19 touchdowns during his time with the Bulldogs … In 2016, became the third freshman in program history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season and was seventh nationally in passing yards among FBS freshmen that season … Four-year starter at West Mesquite High School … Threw for over 6,800 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards during his Wranglers’ career … District 12-5A Co-MVP as a senior at WMHS.

Donniel Ward-Magee – DB – 6-1 – 165 – New Orleans, Louisiana – St. Augustine HS
Two-time honorable mention Class 5A All-State performer at St. Augustine High School … Member of the Clarion Herald Elite Football Team as a senior .. Picked off two passes and returned one for a 48-yard touchdown on the way being named Defensive Player of the Week by The New Orleans Advocate after a 27-0 first-round win over Jesuit.

Marquis Williams – WR – 6-0 – 180 – Daytona Beach, Florida – Palomar College/Father Lopez HS
Caught 53 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore at Palomar College … Spent freshman season at Southwestern Community College, where he caught 51 passes for 510 yards and five scores … Class 3A All-State performer as a senior at Father Lopez High School … Finished final high school campaign with 55 catches for 817 yards and seven touchdowns … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice.

Matthew Wright – DB – 5-11 – 190 – Austin, Texas – Navarro College/McNeil HS
Two-time All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection was a tackle machine at Navarro College … Ranked second nationally with 102 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown as a sophomore … Credited with 103 tackles (third nationally) and nine pass breakups during his freshman campaign … Earned All-State, All-Central Texas and All-District 13-6 accolades at McNeil High School … Multi-sport athlete was a standout in both football and baseball … Currently enrolled at Southeastern and will participate in spring practice.

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