The second running back the team has selected in as many days, Calais adds speed and special teams ability to Tampa Bay’s roster. He should be an intriguing guy to watch whenever the Bucs can finally come back together and practice as a team for the first time in 2020. Here, we have three things you need to know about the speedster.
He has track star speed
Calais is just 5-foot-8, 188 pounds, so he’s fairly undersized for a running back. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for with pure speed. The former Ragin’ Cajun ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, clocking in at 4.42 seconds:
It’s no wonder he was a track star at Cecilia High School. He won two individual championships at the Class 4A state meet in his senior year and helped his team to a state title. He won the 100-meter dash—clocking in at 10.59 seconds—and the 200-meter—posting a time of 21.21 seconds. His relay teams also relied on him as well, as he was ran the final legs when his team won both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. As a result of his success, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association selected him as the state’s top track performer, plus he was named the Gatorade Louisiana Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
This all came on top of Calais’ record-breaking football career with the Bulldogs, too. He left as the school’s all-time leading rusher. His University of Louisiana profile notes that he totaled over 5,000 yards in his final two high school seasons and was named the 4A All-State Offensive MVP as a senior. He chose to play his college ball with the Ragin’ Cajuns, choosing them over the likes of Southern Miss and McNeese State.
Unsurprisingly, he is a very good kick returner
With a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and legitimate track experience, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Calais is an effective kick returner. During his career with Louisiana, he returned 99 kicks for 2,493 yards, averaging 25.2 yards per return and scoring two kick return touchdowns. In his senior season, he averaged 28.5 yards per return, which was good enough to earn him All-Sun Belt Conference First Team honors as a return man. He also made the 2019 All-Louisiana Second Team as a returner.
Then, in his appearance in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, he returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown:
So, it’s safe to say the Bucs might view Calais as a potential standout on special teams. Right now, T.J. Logan would seem to be the man to beat for the kick return specialist job, but it could be an interesting battle to watch later this year.
However, Calais’ kick return prowess shouldn’t distract too much from his ability as a running back. He was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Third Team as a running back last year after posting 886 yards and six touchdowns on just 117 carries. He averaged a whopping 7.8 yards per carry, with his longest run being an 83-yarder. His production was pretty sizable given his lack of a full workload. But that came after a junior season in 2018 in which he ran for 754 yards and seven touchdowns on 81 carries, averaging 9.3 yards per attempt. His longest run in that season was 92 yards, so it’s clear that he has home run ability. With that speed, of course he does.
The only RBs with 100+ carries and 7.8+ yards per carry:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 25, 2020
Travis Etienne pic.twitter.com/KMMvW9u0qn
Calais helped Louisiana tie a program record for players selected in a single draft
When Calais was selected by the Bucs in Saturday’s seventh-round, it was cause for celebration not only in his household but across the University of Louisiana community. Any time a guy gets drafted, the school, program and surrounding community are going to be ecstatic. But Calais getting the call from Tampa Bay was even more special, as it made him the third Ragin’ Cajun to be selected in this year’s draft, which ties a program record that was set back in 1989.
According to The Daily Iberian, the program has had multiple players selected in a single draft just five times since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. So, the 2020 draft was a big one. When offensive lineman Robert Hunt was selected in the second round by the Miami Dolphins and fellow offensive lineman Kevin Dotson was taken in the sixth by the Pittsburgh Steelers, that made it a sixth time since the merger that multiple Ragin’ Cajuns were selected in one draft.
Then came Calais, whose selection tied the record and capped off what was a great year for Louisiana. Hunt, Dotson and Calais were a part of the first team in program history to win 10 games, going 10-2 in the regular season before losing the Sun Belt Championship Game. A bounceback win over Miami of Ohio in the LendingTree Bowl made it 11 wins, extending the school’s single-season record. So, to see such a season followed up by a big NFL Draft weekend for some key members of that team must be pretty special for the folks in Lafayette.
"We are excited for ' opportunity to continue his football career. His competitive spirit and work ethic will continue to take him places in life."— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Football (@RaginCajunsFB) April 25, 2020
@coach_bnapier on @Buccaneers draft pick @king_calais#NFLDraft | #cULture pic.twitter.com/6HSDG67eni
So, that’ll do it, Bucs fans. Raymond Calais is the final member of Tampa Bay’s 2020 draft class. You can find him on Twitter at @king_calais. Be sure to take some time to congratulate him and welcome him to Tampa Bay!
If you missed any of the other “Three Things to Know” features on this year’s Bucs draft class, you can find them below: