By DAVID MCCOLLUM
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
Among the 20 new freshmen recruits for the University of Central Arkansas, six were team captains and 11 are honor students.
Using a digital presentation, head coach Clint Conque announced a group that included players from such large, high-profile programs as Allen, Texas; Bastrop, La.; Duncanville, Texas; and Lake Charles, La., LaGrange.
On the first day of the national signing period Wednesday, UCA signed six offensive linemen, four defensive backs, four wide receivers, three defensive tackles; two running backs; one punter; one quarterback, a defensive end and one player classified as an athlete who could be plugged in to several positions.
Seven of the recruits are from Texas, four each from Louisiana and Mississippi; three each from Arkansas and Tennessee and one from Alabama and Missouri.
The state recruits are Jeff Anderson, a running back from Conway; Gilberto Garcia, an offensive lineman from Morrilton; and Stockton Mallett, an offensive lineman from Yellville Summit.
“We did not recruit some great football players who didn’t fit our academic profile,” Conque said. “Reading, writing and arithmetic are important as well as guys who can run, jump, catch and throw. We also want young men who can be leaders and team captains and honor students certainly meet the leadership profile.”
Conque also noted that his coaches expanded the university’s recruiting footprint and made major connections in larger schools.
“Success leads to success and the visibility of us as a Division I football program has helped throughout the Mid-South and beyond,” he said. “It’s pretty impressive for recruits to look and film and see us playing Ole Miss, Tulsa and Hawaii and eventually Colorado, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Young people want to have that experience.
“That leads to a better quality of athletes who are bigger, stronger and fast. We got into some battles with some bigger folks.”
One of the most visible recruiting battles was when Osceola running back Korliss Marshall flipped on his longstanding commitment to UCA and signed with the University of Arkansas, which projected him as a defensive back.
“UCA losing a commitment to the University of Arkansas; when was the last time that happened?” said Conque.
Conque said the class was the result of 1,000 of hours of work, much of it in automobile travel and hundreds of hour of reviewing tape.
“That’s not unique,” he said. “It happens all over.”
Conque, beginning his 14th season, continued, “I really like this class; it overall may be our best. We got size, length, speed and athleticism. We met immediate and future needs.”
(David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)