Louisiana football OC: 'We got the state's best player at quarterback,' over Arch Manning
Louisiana football stamped its 2023 recruiting class on National Signing Day and what better way to close it than believing you landed the state's best player at the 11th hour.
Quarterback D'Wayne' Winfield, or "Lunch" as he's affectionately known, signed with the Ragin' Cajuns Wednesday out of Lutcher, just two months removed from guiding his team to a state championship.
And he did so after piling up astronomical numbers, 4,657 total yards (2,187 passing yards and 2,477 rushing yards) and 70 total touchdowns (32 passing and 38 rushing). Against North DeSoto in the Class 4A state title game, Winfield accounted for 429 total yards and four touchdowns.
"We feel like we got the state's best player at quarterback," Louisiana offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Tim Leger said Wednesday. "If this guy had a different last name, he'd be Gatorade Player of the Year in this state.
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"I'm not taking a shot here at anyone but the production and the numbers and a state championship, that guy is the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year. Period."
Isidore Newman quarterback and Texas signee Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana. For his senior season, Manning threw for 2,270 yards and 34 touchdowns and had one rushing score and Newman was bounced in the quarterfinals of the LHSAA Division III playoffs.
Manning is the top-rated player in the nation for the Class of 2023 in the 247Sports Composite. Winfield is unrated.
How Winfield ending up signing with UL is serendipitous. Now coach Michael Desormeaux started recruiting the Lutcher standout as an assistant coach under former coach Billy Napier while Winfield was a freshman.
Initial projections suggested the Cajuns wouldn't be taking a quarterback in the 2023 class but after Hunter Herring and Zy McDonald transferred out following the 2022 season, a spot for a quarterback in the class opened up.
Winfield had Power Five offers from Louisville, Central Florida and Virginia but chose the Ragin' Cajuns behind a well-established relationship.
"I think everyone is looking for transfer quarterbacks, looking for guys that can come in right now and play," Desormeaux said of how UL ended up landing Lunch. "We were fortunate that we've got three quarterbacks on our roster that can win games. We had the luxury of taking a high school kid. Lunch is way more advanced in his development. (Lutcher coach Dwain) Jenkins does a phenomenal job. I know the knowledge base that Lunch is going to come in with. I don't think he's your typical freshman.
"This guy is a heck of a player. Phenomenal character, all those things. I know for us it worked out in our favor for sure."
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at email@example.com.