HAMMOND, Louisiana – The No. 16/17 University of Southeastern Louisiana football team heads into the 2022 season with a talented secondary ready to battle a passing-happy Southland Conference.
SLC has been the top FCS conference nationally in yards per game for the past four seasons, including a league-high 275.5 yards per game in 2021. Armed with three All-Americans and of four All-Southland Conference, the Lion defensive backs are equipped to deal with the high-powered aerial attacks they will face during their league roster.
“We have a lot of talent and experience within our secondary,” said the South East head coach. Frank Scelfo said. “We feel like we have five cornerbacks that we can put on the pitch at any time. Our safety position is improving all the time. Markell Linzer, Brenden’s Flowers, Donniel Ward-Magee, Robert Buquoi and Kunta Hester are all guys who have played well for us in the safety post.”
The Southeast cornerback group has as many accolades as the positional group in FCS. Buck Buchanan Award Nominee Fernando Jordanone of 12 multiple-time All-Americans in program history and Southland’s career leader with five picks of six, is back for his senior year after an injury-shortened 2021 campaign.
With Jordan out, Alexandre Zy had to take on a bigger role. In his first year as a starter, the Loreauville, Louisiana native led Southland with six interceptions on the way to All-America, First-Team All-SLC and First-Team All recognition. -Louisiana. Brandon Barbee is also returning for Southeastern after injuries marred his first season at Hammond after being traded from Morehead State, where he was a 2020 AFCA FCS All-American.
“We have a lot of experience and depth among our cornerbacks,” said SLU’s defensive coordinator. Bill d’Ottavio commented. “These guys are always pulling each other and pushing each other to improve.”
Ward-Magee is the most experienced Lion at safety, having earned All-Southland Conference honors each of the past two seasons. Ward-Magee’s Teammate Jack Henderson also claimed All-SLC recognition twice from his star position.
“We are making progress at the security post,” commented D’Ottavio. “We have new guys learning the ropes. Our safeties have a lot of responsibility in our system, so it’s a work in progress. Our offense gives us multiple looks to try and stop each day, so that helps our learning process as you see so many different things.”
D’Ottavio praised the leadership of the high school veterans during the first two weeks of fall camp.
“Our secondary group is communicating well and learning every day,” D’Ottavio said. “We have veterans there – Ferlando, Donniel and Zy – who have done a great job helping to bring in some of our new guys. We like where we are as a secondary group so far, but we have still a lot of work to do.”
Southeastern will practice Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m. until the first day of fall classes, scheduled for Wednesday. Beginning with the start of the fall semester, SLU will practice Monday through Thursday at 3:45 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. through the season opener week of Sept. 3 at UL Lafayette.
Southeastern opens the 2022 season for the Ragin’ Cajuns in a 6 p.m. contest. The home opener is scheduled for Sept. 17 against Central Connecticut State.
South East Football Pre-Season Training Schedule
August 17 – 3:45 p.m. (First day of classes)
August 18 – 3:45 p.m.
August 19 – 9 a.m.
August 20 – 9 a.m.
August 22 – 3:45 p.m.
August 23 – 3:45 p.m.
August 24 – 3:45 p.m.
August 25 – 3:45 p.m.
August 26 – 9 a.m.
August 27 – 9 a.m.
For more ticket information, contact the Southeastern Athletics box office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net. Southeastern will continue to offer mobile ticketing as the primary source for obtaining tickets for the 2022-23 season. All tickets will be available via email or SMS in PDF format for fans to download to their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded from Apple Wallet.
For more South East soccer news, follow @LionUpFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
TOUCHDOWN CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alumni are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is reserved for South East sports letter winners.
All Touchdown Club and S Club (football) membership fees and donations are available for the exclusive use of the South East Football Program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at [email protected] or (985) 549-5091 or by visiting www.LionUp.com.
CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective at the start of the 2018 football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear .