2013 UL-Lafayette football's 10 things to know: Year of the Ragin' Cajun

Chris Graythen

Schedule, projections, roster and more for 2013 UL-Lafayette football. Who'll be this year's upset victim?

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. We see you, Hud

In 2002, 33-year-old Mark Hudspeth, most recently an offensive coordinator at Delta State and Navy, took over at North Alabama, a once-proud program (41-1 from 1993'-95, with three Division II national titles) that had fallen on hard times (three straight losing seasons). His Lions went 4-7 in his first year, then went 13-1 in 2003, 11-3 in 2005, 11-1 in 2006, 10-2 in 2007 and 12-2 in 2008. After two years as Dan Mullen's receivers coach at Mississippi State, he took over as UL-Lafayette's head coach in 2011.

The Ragin' Cajuns had won 18 games in the previous four years and had won more than eight games in a season just once since 1976, when they were Southwestern Louisiana. In two years, Hud's Cajuns have won 18 games. His teams have been exciting, athletic, fiery and exceedingly competent, making you wonder how this wasn't a nine-wins-a-year program all along.

In his last six years as a head football coach, Hudspeth has won 60 games. That he hasn't been a more serious candidate for one of the recent SEC openings is baffling, but it's great news for UL-Lafayette fans who have watched their program go from something of an afterthought to a genuinely interesting, exciting squad seemingly overnight.

2. Hud can recruit

Granted, his best player is a four-star transfer (and he has another four-star transfer in the secondary), but Hudspeth has brought an impressive amount of talent to Lafayette in a short amount of time.

In 2013, UL-Lafayette will probably start a four-star quarterback, a three-star running back, at least one three-star receiver, a three-star defensive tackle (with a four-star backup), two three-star defensive backs and a four-star defensive back. His most recent recruiting class was ranked 77th by Rivals.com, higher than those of both major-conference teams like Georgia Tech, Temple and Boston College and in-state schools like Louisiana Tech, Tulane and UL-Monroe. At this point, really, the offensive line is the only unit without a decent number of three- and four-star recruits ... and it was one of the best mid-major lines in the country last year.

I said yesterday that an extremely experienced UL-Monroe squad could conceivably be the Sun Belt favorite heading into 2013. If they aren't, UL-Lafayette probably is. Arkansas State must replace quite a few difference makers and is undergoing yet another coaching transition, and while Bobby Petrino could find personnel to his liking at Western Kentucky, one should probably assume it takes him a year to get fully rolling.

The upper half of the Sun Belt is quite impressive and interesting, and UL-Lafayette might be at the top of the pack.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 9-4 | Adj. Record: 9-4 | Final F/+ Rk: 59
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep Lamar 40-0 W 18.6 - 23.9 L
8-Sep at Troy 37-24 W 26.3 - 24.0 W
15-Sep at Oklahoma State 24-65 L 30.5 - 35.5 L
29-Sep Florida International 48-20 W 38.7 - 20.0 W
6-Oct Tulane 41-13 W 25.4 - 16.7 W
16-Oct at North Texas 23-30 L 23.3 - 32.5 L
23-Oct Arkansas State 27-50 L 37.6 - 29.3 W
3-Nov at UL-Monroe 40-24 W 36.5 - 32.8 W
10-Nov at Florida 20-27 L 34.2 - 27.1 W
17-Nov Western Kentucky 31-27 W 51.5 - 32.2 W
24-Nov South Alabama 52-30 W 44.8 - 37.2 W
1-Dec at Florida Atlantic 35-21 W 30.4 - 48.7 L
22-Dec vs. East Carolina 43-34 W 39.1 - 28.1 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 35.5 24 28.1 63
Adj. Points Per Game 33.6 31 29.8 80

3. That Florida loss was pretty stupid

The 2012 season was another fantastic one for the Ragin' Cajuns, but it could have been even better. Not only did they drop a Tuesday night ESPN game to North Texas (UNT completed a 78-yard swing pass for a touchdown with under two minutes left), but they also allowed two touchdowns in the final two minutes to Florida to go from pulling a stunner against a Top 5 team to ... losing a stunner to a Top 5 team. Tough to do. Florida blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown with just two seconds left, and UL-Lafayette was denied a resume-defining win.

The Florida game was also the last time UL-Lafayette played particularly well on defense in the season's stretch run. Somewhere in October, the Cajuns went from playing good defense and solid offense to playing great offense and bad defense. Injuries wrecked the linebacking corps, while injuries and suspensions caused instability at safety, and the Cajuns' D faded down the stretch.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 3 games): Opponent 27.8, UL-Lafayette 25.1 (minus-2.7)
Adj. Points Per Game (next 3 games): UL-Lafayette 29.1, Opponent 23.1 (plus-6.0)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 7 games): UL-Lafayette 39.2, Opponent 33.6 (plus-5.6)

Actually, if not for the emergence of Terrance Broadway at quarterback and a steady offensive line, the offense could have been in dire straits as well after a series of injuries to running backs and receivers. But as we always say, injuries hurt in the present tense and help in the future tense. Last year's injury problems have created pretty impressive depth for 2013.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 29 28 40 24
RUSHING 34 28 45 21
PASSING 41 26 30 23
Standard Downs 24 36 20
Passing Downs 37 42 34
Redzone 28 23 36
Q1 Rk 71 1st Down Rk 45
Q2 Rk 29 2nd Down Rk 41
Q3 Rk 29 3rd Down Rk 27
Q4 Rk 50

4. Big plays abound

According to Off. S&P+, here were the best mid-major offenses in the country last year:

22. Arkansas State
27. Louisiana Tech
30. Utah State
31. San Jose State
32. Fresno State
34. UL-Lafayette
39. UCF
40. Boise State
43. Northern Illinois
45. San Diego State

The Cajuns were reasonably efficient, especially through the air, but they made their bones with explosiveness. They averaged 14 yards per completion, Terrance Broadway was one of the most explosive rushing quarterbacks in the country (7.3 highlight yards per carry), and despite injuries and depth chart shuffling, the top three UL-Lafayette running backs at year's end had averaged 5.1 yards per carry; each averaged at least 5.4 highlight yards (the yards you gain after the line has done its job, basically) per opportunity. The top four receivers each averaged at least 9.0 yards per target, and the line opened all sorts of holes. And the team was at its best on third downs, alternating between converting third-and-manageable and pulling rabbits out of hats on passing downs. The loss of the top two receivers -- Harry Peoples and Javone Lawson -- to exhausted eligibility might hurt a little, but the next two targets on the list were just as good, on a per-target basis, in 2012, and the Cajuns add Tulsa transfer Ricky Johnson (9.0 yards per target in 2011) to the depth chart this spring.

One interesting aspect of UL-Lafayette's attack, by the way? A complete lack of pace. We think of spread attacks as up-tempo most of the time, but UL-Lafayette took what is actually a pretty underdog-friendly approach, took its time between plays, and shrank the game down. And they were still Top 30 in yards per game.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Terrance Broadway 6'2, 205 Jr. **** (5.8) 206 315 2,842 65.4% 17 9 12 3.7% 8.5
Blaine Gautier


35 73 532 47.9% 5 0 1 1.4% 7.1
Brady Thomas


1 1 25 100.0% 0 0 0 0.0% 25.0
Brooks Haack 6'1, 190 RSFr. *** (5.6)








5. Terrance Broadway is really, really good

Blaine Gautier was UL-Lafayette's first bowl-winning quarterback. In said bowl win, he completed 24 of 40 passes for 470 yards and three touchdowns, took about 17 killer hits, and kept working his Cajuns down the field. He was not incredibly efficient (career completion rate: 58.5%), but he was good enough to start the season at No. 1 on the depth chart, ahead of Broadway, the exciting Houston transfer. But one-quarter of the way through his season, he was Wally Pipped. He missed the FIU game with injury, Broadway came in and completed 15 of 19 passes for 228 yards, and that was that.

In the end, if Broadway had started all 13 games, he'd have almost certainly reached 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. He is "hold your breath when he leaves the pocket" good, and in players like big running back Alonzo Harris and his aforementioned receiving corps, he has a lot of toys to play with in 2013. And I haven't even mentioned three-star freshmen like running back Elijah McGuire, tight end Nick Byrne or receiver Scott Austin yet.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Alonzo Harris RB 6'1, 220 Jr. *** (5.6) 170 881 5.2 6.2 10 +3.0
Terrance Broadway QB 6'2, 205 Jr. **** (5.8) 107 829 7.7 7.3 9 +25.7
Effrem Reed RB 5'8, 180 So. ** (5.4) 87 418 4.8 5.7 5 +0.3
Torrey Pierce RB 5'9, 180 So. NR 48 259 5.4 5.4 3 +1.1
Blaine Gautier QB 16 101 6.3 4.1 3 +3.5
Harry Peoples WR 14 72 5.1 4.6 1 +1.3
Montrel Carter RB 5'11, 180 So. ** (5.4) 6 27 4.5 1.8 0 -0.5
Yobes Walker RB 6 0 0.0 N/A 1 -2.4
Elijah McGuire RB 5'11, 185 Fr. *** (5.7)





Darius Hoggins RB 5'7, 165 Fr. ** (5.4)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Harry Peoples WR 82 64 817 78.0% 10.0 22.0% 63.4% 10.0 121.7
Javone Lawson WR 67 40 611 59.7% 9.1 18.0% 61.2% 9.1 91.0
Darryl Surgent WR 6'0, 195 Sr. ** (5.3) 58 34 569 58.6% 9.8 15.6% 62.1% 9.9 84.7
Jamal Robinson WR 6'4, 205 Jr. *** (5.5) 45 26 630 57.8% 14.0 12.1% 62.2% 13.9 93.8
Bradley Brown WR 5'10, 180 Sr. ** (5.3) 24 15 187 62.5% 7.8 6.5% 37.5% 7.8 27.8
Jacob Maxwell TE 6'4, 230 Sr. ** (4.9) 22 19 185 86.4% 8.4 5.9% 77.3% 7.9 27.6
Ricky Johnson (2011 Tulsa) WR 6'2, 217 Sr. *** (5.6) 22 14 197 63.6% 9.0 5.7% 63.6% 9.1 N/A
Ian Thompson TE 6'4, 234 Sr. ** (5.2) 21 16 119 76.2% 5.7 5.6% 76.2% 5.9 17.7
Effrem Reed RB 5'8, 180 So. ** (5.4) 16 8 82 50.0% 5.1 4.3% 56.3% 5.1 12.2
James Butler WR 6'2, 205 Jr. ** (5.2) 14 9 97 64.3% 6.9 3.8% 50.0% 7.1 14.4
Larry Pettis TE 6'4, 250 Jr. ** (5.4) 7 1 4 14.3% 0.6 1.9% 0.0% 0.4 0.6
Alonzo Harris RB 6'1, 220 Jr. *** (5.6) 6 4 27 66.7% 4.5 1.6% 66.7% 4.5 4.0
Devin Figaro WR 6'3, 205 Jr. *** (5.5) 5 3 24 60.0% 4.8 1.3% 80.0% 6.6 3.6
Nick Byrne TE 6'3, 225 Fr. *** (5.5)








Scott Austin WR 6'4, 180 Fr. *** (5.5)








Devin Scott WR 5'11, 180 Fr. ** (5.4)








Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 108.9 3.14 3.31 39.1% 72.5% 19.7% 131.4 1.6% 6.4%
Rank 28 31 57 63 36 77 35 10 64
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Leonardo Bates LT 36 career starts, 2012 2nd All-Sun Belt
Andre Huval C 6'1, 290 Sr. ** (5.2) 27 career starts, 2012 2nd All-Sun Belt
Jaron Odom RT 36 career starts
Daniel Quave RG 6'3, 324 Jr. ** (5.2) 26 career starts
Mykhael Quave LG 6'5, 300 So. ** (5.4) 13 career starts
Daniel Lemelle LG 6'2, 282 Sr. ** (5.1)
Jarad Martin LT 6'5, 288 Jr. ** (5.2)
Terry Johnson C 6'2, 285 Jr. ** (5.2)
Greg Siener RG 6'4, 280 So. ** (5.4)
Octravian Anderson RT 6'4, 280 So. ** (5.4)
Jeremy Sparks OL 6'5, 280 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Johnny Kight OL 6'6, 285 Jr. ** (5.3)

6. This was one of the best mid-major lines in the country in 2012

UL-Lafayette found a level of explosiveness you rarely see in a low-risk, no-sacks offense. But it also got help from a line that was Top 40 in both Adj. Line Yards and Adj. Sack Rate. The line, which featured two second-team all-conference performers and, unlike other units, did not see any starter time lost to injury, opened big holes on standard downs, then stood up well on third-and-short. They did this despite a mobile quarterback (mobile QBs tend to run into trouble at times) and a rotating series of running backs, at least one of which was a true freshman originally recruited as a defensive back.

The line was a silent strength last year, and it could be again -- three of five starters return, two of which are two-year starters now -- but the loss of tackles Leonardo Bates and Jaron Odom, who combined for 72 career starts, could hurt. We shouldn't assume quite the same level of proficiency in 2013, but if the line can just maintain competence, good things should happen.

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 86 98 92 100
RUSHING 42 95 97 96
PASSING 112 96 82 100
Standard Downs 107 105 107
Passing Downs 78 65 84
Redzone 78 43 99
Q1 Rk 80 1st Down Rk 97
Q2 Rk 115 2nd Down Rk 86
Q3 Rk 86 3rd Down Rk 100
Q4 Rk 61

7. Raw stats give the defense a little too much credit

The UL-Lafayette offense's slow pace actually helped its faltering defense out a bit, too. The Cajuns were by no means great when it came to raw stats -- 428 yards per game, 283 through the air -- but they graded out even worse after opponent and pace adjustments. Their line was able to stand up to the run reasonably well and generate solid pressure on standard downs -- but with a mix-and-match linebacking corps just didn't get the job done, especially after Qyen Griffin was dismissed. UL-Lafayette linebackers recorded just 2.5 sacks all year, and without any threat of a blitz, the Cajuns' best option on passing downs was to form a cloud and swarm to the ball short of the chains. It worked pretty well, but the Cajuns didn't actually force enough passing downs for this to be particularly effective.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 90.9 2.85 3.18 42.4% 69.7% 22.7% 79.9 4.3% 4.0%
Rank 104 52 55 104 78 20 94 71 104
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Emeka Onyenekwu BAN 13 36.0 4.8% 14 6.5 1 0 1 0
Cordian Hagans DE 13 30.0 4.0% 8.5 5 0 0 0 2
Christian Ringo DT 6'1, 285 Jr. ** (5.3) 13 23.5 3.1% 10.5 7 0 0 2 1
Justin Hamilton NT 6'3, 330 Jr. *** (5.5) 12 23.5 3.1% 8 3 0 0 3 0
Dominique Tovell BAN 6'3, 235 So. ** (5.2) 12 17.0 2.3% 3 1 0 1 0 0
Brandon McCray NT 6'5, 300 Sr. ** (5.2) 10 11.5 1.5% 3.5 0 0 0 0 0
Jalen Fields DT 6'5, 280 Sr. **** (5.8) 8 7.0 0.9% 1.5 1 0 0 0 0
Marvin Martin DT 6'3, 294 Jr. ** (5.2) 7 6.5 0.9% 1 0 0 0 1 0
Chris Prater DE 6'5, 260 So. ** (5.4) 5 1.0 0.1% 1 1 0 0 0 0

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Justin Anderson WILL 6'2, 235 Sr. ** (5.3) 13 87.5 11.6% 8.5 2 1 4 1 1
Le'Marcus Gibson ROV 13 43.0 5.7% 4 0 0 5 1 0
Jake Molbert SAM 6'1, 225 Jr. ** (5.3) 11 40.0 5.3% 2 0 1 2 1 0
Qyen Griffin LB 8 32.0 4.2% 4 0.5 0 4 0 1
Trae Johnson WILL 6'1, 225 Jr. ** (5.4) 13 25.5 3.4% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Chris Hill SAM 5'11, 200 So. ** (5.3) 13 19.0 2.5% 1 0 0 1 0 0
Boris Anyama ROV 6'2, 210 Jr. ** (5.2) 9 17.5 2.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tyren Alexander LB 6'1, 200 So. *** (5.6) 9 10.5 1.4% 2 0 0 0 0 0
Will Burrowes LB 6'0, 200 Sr. ** (5.4) 13 5.5 0.7% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Zach Bourque LB 6'0, 172 Jr. NR 13 3.0 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Christian Sager LB 6'0, 220 Jr. NR 13 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kevin Fouquier LB 6'4, 210 RSFr. ** (5.4)


George Williams LB 6'1, 230 Fr. *** (5.7)
James Clark LB 6'2, 210 Fr. *** (5.6)






Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Rodney Gillis FS 13 60.5 8.0% 0 0 5 5 0 1
Jermarious Moten CB 13 57.0 7.6% 3.5 0 4 8 2 1
Melvin White CB 13 53.5 7.1% 4 0 0 10 1 0
T.J. Worthy SS 6'2, 190 So. *** (5.6) 11 37.5 5.0% 1 0 0 0 0 1
Darius Barksdale FS 6'0, 200 Jr. **** (5.9) 8 24.5 3.3% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Trevence Patt SS 6'0, 185 Jr. NR 13 21.0 2.8% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Sean Thomas CB 5'10, 175 Jr. ** (5.2) 13 11.5 1.5% 0.5 0 1 0 0 0
Jevante Watson CB 5'10, 175 So. *** (5.6) 12 8.5 1.1% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Al-Damion Riles S 5'11, 215 So. NR 4 4.0 0.5% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hunter Thibodaux S 5'8, 195 Sr. NR 13 3.5 0.5% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cedrick Tillman CB 5'9, 180 Jr. ** (5.4)
Corey Trim CB 5'11, 180 Jr. ** (5.3)
Troy McCollum DB 6'0, 170 Fr. *** (5.6)

Simeon Thomas DB 6'3, 180 Fr. *** (5.5)

Tracy Walker DB 6'2, 180 Fr. ** (5.4)






8. Behold a new-look secondary

Six of the top eight linebackers return in 2013, perhaps offering a little bit of stability to an unstable position. But the secondary will look completely different this fall. Gone are both starting cornerbacks (combined: four interceptions, 18 passes broken up) and steady safety Rodney Gillis, and in are two junior college cornerbacks and three interesting freshmen. Darius "Tig" Barksdale, a former four-star recruit who landed in Lafayette after stints at Ole Miss and Jacksonville State, should expect to play a larger role, as well. The secondary was able to bail out the defense with some play-making ability, but almost all of the proven quantities are now gone -- Gillis, Jermarious Moten and Melvin White combined for 7.5 tackles for loss and 32 passes defensed; the top seven returnees combined for 2.5 and four, respectively.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Brett Baer 59 42.0 2 23 24 79.7%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Brett Baer 45 59.9 N/A N/A
Hunter Stover 6'1, 205 Jr. 40 62.7 N/A N/A
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Brett Baer 53-56 12-13 92.3% 8-10 80.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Darryl Surgent KR 6'0, 195 Sr. 39 19.1 0
Qyen Griffin KR 3 18.3 0
Darryl Surgent PR 6'0, 195 Sr. 12 1.4 0
Harry Peoples PR 4 6.3 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 56
Net Punting 42
Net Kickoffs 58
Touchback Pct 82
Field Goal Pct 7
Kick Returns Avg 114
Punt Returns Avg 90

9. Brett Baer will be missed

He knuckled in the 50-yarder that won UL-Lafayette the 2011 New Orleans Bowl, nailed another 50-yarder in the 2012 New Orleans Bowl, and made eight field goals of 40+ yards. There is comfort in knowing you only have to get to your opponent's 30-yard line to score some points.

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2012 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug at Arkansas 37
7-Sep at Kansas State 40
14-Sep Nicholls State NR
21-Sep at Akron 120
2-Nov New Mexico State 123
? Arkansas State 64
? Georgia State 125
? South Alabama 119
? Texas State 107
? Troy 102
? UL-Monroe 86
? Western Kentucky 94
Five-Year F/+ Rk 93
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 80
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -1 / +7.0
TO Luck/Game -3.1
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (7, 6)
Yds/Pt Margin** -2.4

10. The Cajuns will beat either Arkansas or Kansas State in 2013

We still await the 2013 Sun Belt schedule, so we don't know for sure where the Western Kentucky, ULM and Arkansas State games will be played. But there is a good chance that if UL-Lafayette can take out either Arkansas or Kansas State to start the 2013 season, the Cajuns will have a chance at 10-2 or 11-1 and a stint in the Top 25. That's how confident I am in Broadway and the offense, especially against a) an Arkansas defense that is working under a new coaching staff (and wasn't that amazing to begin with) and b) a Kansas State defense that will be breaking in almost an entirely new starting lineup.

I have a lot of confidence in both Mark Hudspeth and his squad, and I think this coming fall could be even more memorable than the last two were. Geaux Cajuns.

More in College Football:

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