Rasyshawn Pleasant’s recruiting profile garnered its fair share of attention this past summer, even during a pandemic.
In a fashion similar to Pleasant emerging from a wall of defenders on a kickoff before racing toward the end zone untouched, the West Monroe junior has seemingly come out of nowhere on the recruiting trail.
Pleasant has a simple explanation for it.
“Well, I was talking to Memphis before I dropped my highlight tape,” Pleasant said. “After I dropped it, they offered me.”
That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. Pop on the tape and Pleasant will wow spectators and coaches alike with big-time plays made all over the football field. Pleasant has carved out a name for himself as a cornerback on the team, but he also has a knack for making plays on special teams too. Still, as talented as Pleasant is, he was thrilled to get that first offer.
“It was a relief,” Pleasant said. “That’s something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. The offers are finally starting to come.”
The Class of ’22 prospect now has three offers. Pleasant, along with fellow Rebel corner Ja’dais Richard, were offered by Memphis, UL-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech this offseason.
Pleasant and Richard return experience to a secondary that has been somewhat of a weak link for West Monroe, excluding last season. Good luck calling the back-end weak in the near future.
“We have two tremendously talented cornerbacks,” West Monroe head coach Jerry Arledge said. “It’s possible that (Pleasant) could return for us, but it just depends on the week. He is certainly capable of any of those kickoff/punt return roles.”
Pleasant said he might even push for some offensive snaps this season, but his main focus is continuing to get better on defense. Between Pleasant and Richard, and last year’s senior safeties Brooks Miller and Bradley Williams, the Rebels allowed 121 yards per contest in 2019.
That’s a stingy number, Pleasant admitted, but he’s hoping to build off of that this fall.
“I think we can be even better this year,” Pleasant said. “I feel like I’ve gotten so much smarter at the position. Last year I was more playing off of my athletic ability. Now I just know the game more.”
If you’re unsure about Pleasant’s impact on special teams, all you have to do is revisit the 2019 Ruston game. After Bearcats’ back Jordan Williams rushed for a 7-yard score to put Ruston on top, 14-7, late in the second quarter, Pleasant fielded the ball around the 1-yard line and raced 99 yards for the score to tie the contest. West Monroe quarterback Lane Little scored the only touchdown of the second half, as the Rebels edged Ruston, 21-14, at home.
So to say Pleasant’s score on special teams was pivotal would be putting it lightly.
“I just remember getting the ball and fielding the kick before seeing that hole open up,” Pleasant said. “I hit it hard and ended up scoring.”
Pleasant recorded four pass breakups and an interception in 2019, and right now he’s just hoping he gets the opportunity to try and top those numbers in 2020.
“I keep hearing everybody say we won’t have a season, but you just have to keep the faith.”
Because ultimately Pleasant’s high bar is still within reach. After bowing out of the playoffs to Destrehan in the quarterfinals of the 2019 playoffs, West Monroe has unfinished business. And Pleasant doesn’t want to stop after winning a title in 2020 either.
“The optimum goal is to get that state championship,” Pleasant said. “My class, we’re trying to go back-to-back. We have to finish our business this year.”