LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball head coach Kristi Gray announced on Thursday (Nov. 9, 2023) the signing of four student-athletes, as the national signing period for the 2024-25 academic year is now officially underway.
The Class of 2024 recruits Inking with the Ragin’ Cajuns at the onset of the signing period are: setter Megan Hawkins (New Braunfels, Texas/Canyon HS), defensive specialist/libero Sophia Armstrong (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall HS), outside hitter Jazmine Gaston (Austin, Texas/Anderson HS) and opposite hitter Jaylynn McNeill (Houston, Texas/Klein Cain HS).
Hawkins is an early enrollee who will be joining the Ragin’ Cajuns for the spring semester in January 2024. The remainder of the group is set to arrive on campus in August 2024.
S | New Braunfels, Texas | Canyon High School
Travel Team: Tri-County Volleyball Association and Alamo Volleyball Association
A four-year varsity starter at setter for Canyon (Texas) High School, Hawkins accumulated 3,643 assists during her prep career. Her career stat line also included 1,410 digs, 272 aces, 537 kills and 135 total blocks.
A 2023 AVCA Best and Brightest honoree, Hawkins has been awarded AVCA All-Region and first team All-American honors this fall. She is also a two-time TGCA All-State performer and was twice named the District 26-5A MVP. Hawkins helped guide Canyon HS to four consecutive district titles and back-to-back area championships (2022, 2023).
Hawkins has played club volleyball for Tri-County Volleyball Association and Alamo Volleyball Association.
“Megan is a natural when it comes to running an offense and is one of the most competitive players I have watched,” Gray said. “On top of that she has trained with one of the best coaches in Texas that I have a huge amount of respect for. She will be graduating early, and we can’t wait to get her leadership and competitive nature in the gym with us this spring.”
DS/L | Rockwall, Texas | Rockwall High School
Travel Team: Texas Advantage Volleyball
Armstrong has collected 1,200-plus career digs from her defensive specialist/libero position for Rockwall (Texas) High School, and surpassed 500 digs in the fall 2023 season (senior campaign) in helping lead the Yellowjackets to the regional quarterfinal round of the UIL Texas Volleyball State Championships.
The District 10-6A leader in digs, Armstrong is a three-time first team all-district selection earning the honor in both volleyball and soccer. She scooped double figures in digs 30 times during her final volleyball season with Rockwall, leading her to receiving the District 10-6A Defender of the Year award.
Armstrong competed on the club level with Texas Advantage Volleyball.
“Sophia is one of those players who is going to compete her hardest no matter the circumstances,” Gray said. “She has played with and against some of the top players in Texas, and never backs down. Her abilities will immediately help elevate both our defensive and serving game. We are thrilled to get the type of player she is in our gym.”
OH | Austin, Texas | Anderson High School
Travel Team: Texas Fury Volleyball Club
Gaston turned in a 1,000-1,000 career of kills and digs for Anderson (Texas) High School in the Austin area. She stockpiled 1,205 kills on a career .321 hitting percentage, and added 1,111 digs to her resume.
A four-time academic all-district selection, on the court Gaston was named District 26-6A MVP in 2021 and followed up with back-to-back first team all-district performances in 2022 and 2023. She’s also starred in basketball (2021 Newcomer of the Year) and track competing in long jump and sprints.
Gaston spent her time on the club volleyball circuit with the Texas Fury Volleyball Club. She was part of the UJGN Championship team for 15-Freedom and was named tournament MVP.
“Jaz is the type of player every coach dreams of having in their program – one who will do everything you ask of her, plus more, and won’t complain about any of it,” Gray said. ”She’s extremely athletic, competitive and will run through a wall for her team to win. We can’t wait to get her in our gym next fall as she will help elevate every aspect of our program.”
OPP | Houston, Texas | Klein Cain High School
Travel Team: Houston Juniors
McNeill, who competed at middle blocker as a sophomore and junior prior to moving to opposite hitter as a senior for Klein Cain (Texas) High School, was named to the 2023 AVCA Girls High School All-American Watch List.
In each of the past three seasons, McNeill has increased her kills per set average up to a career-best 2.3 per set in fall 2023. A two-time all-district selection, the Houston-area based talent has produced 410 kills, 111 digs and 195 total blocks (41 BS, 154 BA) in her prep career.
McNeill has been competing at the club level for Houston Juniors.
“Jaylynn is someone who wants the ball in crunch time and is going to get the job done,” Gray said. “She is also going to bring size into our gym with how big her block is. She is a versatile player who is going to help elevate our defense at the net, which is going to make our gym better on both sides of the ball. We have watched Jaylynn grow tremendously over these last two years – she has a high ceiling – and we can’t wait to get her in our gym.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns (16-12, 7-7 Sun Belt) have clinched a winning record for the third straight season under Gray’s leadership, having set a new benchmark in wins, and are concluding their regular season this weekend (Nov. 10-11) hosting App State at E.K. Long Gym on Friday (6:00 p.m.) and Saturday (12:00 p.m.)
Following the App State series, Louisiana travels to Foley, Alabama to compete for the Sun Belt Conference championship beginning on Thursday, November 16.
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