The Cajuns garnered national respect after beating Iowa State in the season opener, as UL was ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1943.
Senior linebacker Ferrod Gardner also earned national recognition, being named the Walter Camp FBS Defensive Player of the Week last week.
Gardner is just the second Cajun to earn the honor since 2004.
“I’m just blessed to be in this position,” Gardner says. “Lord knows the amount of time and work I’ve put in to be in this position and to have these rewards come.”
It’s a position Gardner didn’t know if he’d be in until his sixth year of eligibilty was approved during the offseason.
Now in his final year as a Ragin’ Cajun, he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity.
“I just felt like it was another opportunity for me to go ahead and better my game and better myself as a person,” Gardner says. “So I just definitely wanted to do it.”
His impressive start to the season becomes even more impressive considering he had shoulder surgery in late April.
Gardner, motivated by his goals, pushed through the rehab process to be prepared to play in the season-opener with the team.
And even though he recorded nine tackles and a sack against the Cyclones offense, he was a bit suprised when Coach Nico Johnson told him he was named the Walter Camp Player of the Week.
“He showed me on his Apple Watch, and I was like ‘stop playing,'” Gardner says. “Me and him joke around a lot. We kind of have that close relationship. So I was like stop playing. And he was like ‘no, this is real.'”
The success doesn’t surprise him team though.
“Ferrod is a great leader,” senior linebacker Joe Dillon says. “He always makes sure that we get lined up properly every play.”
“Ferrod’s always been a guy that we felt like could be an exceptional player,” head coach Billy Napier says. “Ferrod is very articulate. He’s a great communicator. He’s got a little charisma about him. Good team defense, and Ferrod was a huge piece of that puzzle Saturday.”
Gardner and the Cajuns look to continue the success this Saturday when they face Georgia Southern at home.