A new look Louisiana Tech Bulldogs team hopes to rise to the top of a new look Conference USA. Head coach Sonny Cumbie brought in new talent to elevate his program, and we’ll take a look at the Louisiana Tech Top 10 returning players that can get the Bulldogs back to a title game.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Top 10 Returners in 2023
Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes that were included on each team’s roster page to open fall camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.
1) Hank Bachmeier, QB
Easily the toughest quarterback in college football, Hank Bachmeier has taken more hits than most. He’s hoping to take fewer hits in Cumbie’s system, and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs should boast an explosive offense if he’s given time.
When Bachmeier gets a clean pocket,he can make nearly any throw. Even if he gets hit, the poise he displays allows him to still make those throws under duress. It will come down to his offensive line giving him time, but this remains one of the most underrated additions from the transfer portal by any team in college football.
2) Marquis Crosby, RB
Marquis Crosby nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing last year, and he’s hoping to achieve that goal in 2023. He returns to a crowded backfield, but he still commands the RB1 shares in the offense. With the talent Cumbie brought in to help, this offense should be even more explosive than it was last year.
Crosby can also help in finding consistency, which will help. Last year, we saw a roller coaster of results. He posted four games over 100 yards (including 197 on just 16 carries against Stephen F. Austin), but also saw him rush for less than 50 yards in five games. If he can level that out more, he’s in store for a huge season.
3) Smoke Harris, WR
Losing Tre Harris hurts, but Louisiana Tech wants and has all that Smoke; Harris, that is, and he’s back to terrorize Conference USA defensive and special teams coordinators. He caught 65 passes last year for 635 yards and five touchdowns, but he also returned 19 punts for 236 yards (12.4 yards per return) and 19 kicks for 517 yards (27.2 ypr).
4) Cyrus Allen, WR
If you’re looking for a player who’s flying under the radar, Cyrus Allen’s your guy. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs’ star receiver should play a much bigger role in the offense this year, and that should terrify everyone. He only caught 22 passes last year but turned that into 500 yards (27.7 yards per catch).
Allen can take the top off any defense; just ask Missouri and Clemson. He started the season by burning Missouri for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 5 catches. Keeping him on the field more this year only helps this team, and an expanded role means defensive backs will be pulling more hamstrings this year.
5) Willie Roberts, CB
An underrated perk of having talented wide receivers is that the defensive backs get quality competition in practice. Louisiana Tech’s secondary returns a number of key players in this group, but the Bulldogs know they have a star in Willie Roberts.
Roberts led the team in interceptions last year, and he also gives the aforementioned wide receivers someone to elevate their game as well. While the front seven figures out how to stop the run more efficiently this year, the secondary will do its part to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.
6) Charvis Thornton, RB
Depth at the running back position gives the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs’ offense some peace of mind in case injuries arise. Charvis Thornton gets a chance to showcase his talent early, and he’s hoping to build upon a year in which he rushed for 464 yards and 3 touchdowns as a backup.
7) Cecil Singleton, S
Another underrated defensive back for this team, Cecil Singleton provides help at every level for this defense. He’s a versatile weapon who can cover deep but also help in run support. He posted 56 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 5 pass deflections, and 1 interception last year, and he’s hoping to build upon those numbers in 2023.
8) Carson Bruno, OT
It doesn’t matter which offensive lineman is the best on this team. They need to protect Hank Bachmeier. Carson Bruno and Dakota White headline the tackle positions, and their ability to keep their new quarterback upright will go a long way in determining how well the offense performs.
Louisiana Tech finished 33rd in passing last year, so this group proved it can pass protect well, but this offense finished 99th in rushing. So it’s safe to say there’s room for growth. Bruno is a good player with a solid frame and an anchor to move defenders and keep them away from his teammates.
9) Jeslord Boateng, LB
Louisiana Tech is in the running for the team with the best names on their roster, and Jeslord Boateng adds to that resume. The former Michigan State and Akron transfer has gone down quite the journey, and it feels like this is a great place for him to finish his career.
He turned heads in 2021 with the Zips but took a step back last year. He now joins a team that has championship aspirations and joins a front seven that can use a talent like himself. He’s not just a great name, and the Bulldogs staff is excited to see what he can do to help elevate the defense.
MORE: Transfer Portal Tracker
10) Decoldest Crawford, WR
Easily one of the best names in college football history, Decoldest Crawford made waves by joining Nebraska but ultimately decided to return to his home state. With Smoke Harris and Cyrus Allen on the roster, Crawford enters a situation where he will see plenty of favorable matchups. It’s up to him to give the Bulldogs a third weapon in the passing attack.