Smoke Show named CUSA Specialist of the Year

Smoke Harris was named the CUSA Special Teams Player of the Year on the league’s preseason team. (Photo courtesy of LA Tech)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech senior return specialist and wide receiver Smoke Harris was named the 2023 Conference USA Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year as chosen in a vote among the league’s nine head coaches, the conference announced on Monday.

Harris enters the 2023 season with one of the most accomplished careers among all FBS players. The senior is one of two returning FBS players with 500+ kickoff return yards and 200+ punt return yards in 2022. Harris enters the 2023 season among NCAA active career leaders in punt return average (3rd, 11.2), and punt return yards (4th, 605). As a kick returner, he has accumulated 867 yards on 35 returns during his five seasons in Ruston.

Additionally, as a receiver, he ranks among the active career leaders in receptions (3rd, 224), receptions per game (6th, 4.57), and receiving touchdowns (6th, 19). The St. Francisville product has tallied a reception in 32 consecutive games, the seventh-longest active streak nationally.

The other specialty award winners were the Western Kentucky duo of quarterback Austin Reed and linebacker JaQues Evans who were selected as the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.

Louisiana Tech will be represented by Head Coach Sonny Cumbie, Harris and defensive lineman Deshon Hall tomorrow at the Conference USA Kickoff at Globe Life Field. All representatives will participate in a live ESPN+ show hosted by ESPN’s John Schriffen. LA Tech is slated to appear on the show at 11 a.m. for a 20-minute segment.

Louisiana Tech will play a fast, exciting brand of football when Head Coach Sonny Cumbie‘s Bulldogs open the 2023 season with an 8 p.m. CUSA showdown against FIU on August 26 inside Joe Aillet Stadium.

LA Tech has six home games at Joe Aillet Stadium during the 2023 season. After the week zero conference matchup with FIU (August 26), LA Tech will host non-conference foes Northwestern State (September 9) and North Texas (September 16). Tech closes out the home slate in conference play with Western Kentucky (October 5), New Mexico State (October 24), and a homecoming bout with Sam Houston (November 11).

Season tickets for the 2023 Louisiana Tech football season are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets online at or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631.