Big presence : Matthew Langlois making his mark as a recruit, leader for 1A Catholic-PC

Despite producing many Division I prospects and college stars, Class 1A football in Louisiana gets scrutinized because of what it is not. Namely, either Class 5A or 4A.

That makes the story of Catholic-Pointe Coupee’s Matthew Langlois notable. Three years ago, he was a 155-pound kid with a dream of playing college football. Now Langlois is on the wish list of multiple Division I schools.

Being in the right place at the right time is a factor. Langlois earned Class 1A all-state and Class 3A and below All-Metro honors after helping the Hornets advance to the Division IV select title game.

Langlois then attended a New Orleans-based rivals.com camp in early 2020. He emerged as a three-star prospect and Louisiana’s No. 30 player as an athlete for 2021, according to 247sports. Langlois is the school’s highest-rated recruit since wide receiver Toddrick Bajoie, who played for CHSPC 14 years ago.

“During the (novel coronavirus) pandemic, I got maybe 10 scholarship offers,” Langlois explained. “I went to the camp in New Orleans and showed pretty well. My first (Division I) offer after that was from Louisiana Tech and it took off from there. I have always wanted to play college football. Things really came together for and my team.”

At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Langlois is projected as a safety on the college level. He says the chance to play multiple positions for the 1A Hornets is the basis for his success. Arizona, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Colorado and Vanderbilt are among the 18 schools who have offered Langlois a scholarship.

Langlois was already a four-year starter as a junior. Things clicked a year ago when he led CHSPC in rushing with 1,343 yards, an average of 11.5 yards per carry and 27 touchdowns. He also played all three defensive back positions and two linebacker spots.

“The only position he didn’t play for us was the defensive line,” Catholic-PC head coach David Simoneaux said. “He started as an eighth-grader and even last year he probably weighed around 175 pounds and was coming off shoulder surgery. He’s a quiet kid, but on the field he turned it up a notch.”

As notable as his play at running back was, Langlois’ play on defense was perhaps the most pivotal. He drew the assignment of covering Opelousas Catholic receiver Keon Coleman in the regular season and quarterfinals. Langlois also covered Southern Lab star Reginald Johnson in a semifinal win. On defense, Langlois had 68 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups, nine quarterback hurries and four sacks.

“When Matthew was a sophomore, you could see he had the ability to take over a game, but he wasn’t quite there yet,” CHSPC offensive coordinator Vinnie Bullara said. “Last year, he took over games. The two Opelousas Catholic games come to mind first.

“Now it’s not like he shut down Coleman (or Johnson) on every play. He got beat a couple of times. Matthew liked the challenge. I think he wanted to see how he matched up against those other players.”

Langlois also realizes things could have been much different for him. He made a family-related move to New Roads and enrolled at Catholic-PC as a sixth-grader. Before that, he attended Sacred Heart in Baton Rouge.

“If we stayed in Baton Rouge, I probably would have ended up at Catholic or maybe U-High, I guess,” Langlois said. “At a bigger school, you usually play on one side of the ball. By playing on both sides of the play, I got to play a lot more — like twice as many plays. I like that and I think that helped me.”

He is not committed to a college yet, but Langlois has met the NCAA’s academic qualifying standards.

“With recruiting in a dead period until the end of August, I am not sure what will happen,” Langlois said. “Depending on how it goes, I may commit in the next couple of months. I’ll see how it plays out.”

Meanwhile, Simoneaux and Bullara see Langlois emerging as a senior leader — another big play for the Hornets.

“This year he has dedicated himself to getting bigger and stronger even though we did not have a normal spring (because of COVID-19),” Simoneaux said. “He borrowed weight equipment from school and had other guys lift at his house.”

Bullara watched with pride as Langlois encouraged a freshman who struggled during a workout last week.

“He put his arm around the kid and told him to keep working and that we need him. It’s another way he has grown,” Bullara said.

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