Who Was The First UL Football Player To Get Drafted?
Who was the first Louisiana Ragin' Cajun football player to ever get drafted by the NFL?
Well, of course, long before they became the Ragin' Cajuns, they were known as the Southwest Louisiana Institute Bulldogs.
In 1943, SLI went 5-0-1, and won the school's first-ever bowl game, defeating Arkansas A&M, 24-7, in the Oil Bowl.
On that team was a guard, Weldon Humble, who drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 24th-round of the 1943 NFL Draft.
The story of the 1943 SLI team, and that of Humble, is really quite interesting.
Humble played three years at Rice, before moving to SLI, to prepare for service in World War II, in a V-12 U.S. Navy training program.
And Humble wasn't alone, as over 175 two-year starters from various colleges around the country came to SLI for the Naval officer training program.
Because of this, the State Board of Education issued an intercollegiate football playing ban on SLI.
Midway through the season, the ban was lifted, and SLI went on to play five games, against other V-12 schools, compiling 4 wins and a tie, prior to their bowl win.
SLI's head coach in 1943 was Louis Whitman, while Humble was his team captain.
Whitman's assistant coach was Steve Belichick, the father of current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
After the season, Humble enlisted in the U.S. Marines, and fought in the Pacific War.
Humble served for three years, before returning to Rice for the 1946 season, earning All-American honors.
Despite being drafted by the Cardinals, Humble never played for them, joining the V-12 program at SLI instead.
In 1947, Humble signed with the Baltimore Colts, before being traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he played for three AAFC championship teams (1947-1949), and one NFL title team (1950), while being named to the Pro Bowl in 1948.
Humble moved to the Dallas Texans in 1950, earning Pro Bowl honors, before joining the Marine Reserves, as he expected to be called into battle in the Korean War.
After missing the 1951 season, Humble returned to the Texans for the 1952 season, before retiring.
In 1961, Humble became the first player from Rice and SLI to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Humble passed away in Houston in 1998, after a long illness.
So there you have it. As far as we know, the first UL/USL/SLI football player to ever get drafted by an NFL team was Weldon Humble, in 1943.