How Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns homecoming king T.J. Wisham plans to juggle game, court duties
UL football coach Billy Napier has never had a player spend halftime being crowned homecoming king.
Reserve running back T.J. Wisham, a special teams player in his fourth season at UL after spending his 2017 freshman season at Army, was nominated by the Black Student-Athlete Association.
He’ll escort homecoming queen Brianna Franklin, a volleyball team captain.
“I can’t think of a better person to do it,” Napier said.
“It’s no surprise to me that someone asked him to submit his name. … It’s a huge honor, and one that is a little bit historic.”
Wisham is the first UL football player known to be selected as homecoming king, a school spokesman said.
A team leadership council member, Wisham has served on UL’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and traveled to Puerto Rico for Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship missionary work.
He also helped organize an August 2020 march in Lafayette by about 150 UL athletes to raise awareness about police brutality and social injustice.
“He’s gonna have success in life," Napier said. "He’s gonna make a difference in peoples’ lives. He’s made me better, and certainly has been a steady voice amongst our players and on our team.”
Wisham, however, was hesitant when asked to become a homecoming court candidate.
“At first it was a kind of question about it was in the middle of the season, do I want to go through with that?” he said. “But then it was a no-brainer after those initial thoughts, because of how big of an honor it is to just be nominated.”
Wisham has five kickoff team tackles after missing much of last year with a career-threatening wrist injury that required two surgeries.
The product of Episcopal High in Baton Rouge also had five carries for 18 yards in a Oct. 12 win over Appalachian State.
On Saturday, he plans to run to the locker room as soon as halftime ceremonies conclude.
“It’s really an honor to be able to represent our school, everything it entails – our team, myself and alumni – as homecoming king,” said Wisham, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in systems technology.
“So I’m just trying to cherish every day and just have fun with it, but when it comes down to the game just flip that switch and let it be a game and just play, do what I always do.”