McCollum’s Column: UCA football expanding connections in Florida

With a University of Central Arkansas focus, here is a fresh batch of “Davids Appetizers,” assorted musings from the sports scene:

 

The University of Central Arkansas football team has begun to establish a recruiting front in Florida.

“We are making recuiting in Florida a priority; we are spending time in Florida,” said coach Steve Campbell.

Currently, seven players on the UCA roster have hometowns listed in Florida, mostly from the Panhandle, where Campbell hails. The UCA roster is dotted with players from the Gulf Coast are, a natural since Campbell’s last job was a highly successful run at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Biloxi, Miss.

One of the impact players is defensive lineman Eric Jackson from Apopka, deeper in Florida than the Gulf who was in Campbell’s first signing class. Another starter is defensive end Chris Terrell from the Panhandle.

“We’ve started making Florida a halfway priority.” said Campbell. “Early on, it was mostly connections on Twitter and Hudl and social media. After my first year I began thinking we could get those Florida kids and not just from the area I’m from. “So, I sent (assistant) Ryan Howard to Florida, told him to get a hotel and spend a week visiting schools. We had success, so I told him this year to go down there and spend two weeks.”

One of the freshmen who should make an immediate impact this seson is Brandon Myers from Plant City in the Tampa area.

“If we can get those kids from Florida up here for a visit, they tend to like it here,” Campbell said.

Houston

The Houston metropolitan area is one of the richest in the country as far as high school football recruiting.

Like every school in the Southland Conference and most in the South and Southwest, UCA has several players from the Houston area, most from perimeter cities and communities.

None has been directly affected but several have extended family who have. One is quarterback Kolt Harfield, whose aunt has experienced damage to her home from her neighborhood being flooded and lost a boat.

“We’ve touched base with all of our players from the area and are doing what we can to help them,” Campbell said. “We’ve made our team aware of that and they are in our thoughts and prayers.”

UCA volleyball

The UCA volleyball team, which now has back-to-back weeks of home tournaments, began the season sweeping three matchees in a tourney in Buffalo, N.Y.

During some down time, several of the players took a boat ride at Niagara Falls.

“The main reason I scheduled this tournament is we have two Canadians on our team (Megan Nash and Savanah Allen, both from Ontario) and I wanted to play close to where their friends and family could see them play,” said UCA coach Jeni Jones Chatman.

Estes Stadium policy

Because of the new concealed carry law that affects Arkansas college campuses, Brad Teague, UCA athletic director, has announced a new policy mandated by the UCA police.

Teague said no bags will be allowed in the stadium except for medical needs or child care. That will begin with UCA’s home opener on Sept. 16 against Southeastern Louisiana.

 

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