Coach Steve Campbell presented his first recruiting class at the University of Central Arkansas on Wednesday and pronounced it exciting.
“We’ve got guys on offense who can score touchdowns and we’ve got guys on defense who can keep guys from scoring touchdowns. We got length and size in the offensive line and size and speed in the defensive line,” said Campbell during a news conference, complete with video highlights, at Wingo Hall. “We filled some holes we needed to fill because of graduation. We upgraded our size and strength on both sides of the ball and we got guys with speed and playmaking ability at the skill positions.
“For a first class, it couldn’t have worked out better.”
Campbell and his staff signed 26 players and were pretty much finished by mid-morning. Ten states (Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, California, Florida and Tennessee) were represented.
Included in the group are six defensive backs, five offensive lineman, five defensive line, two wide receivers, two tight ends, one quarterback, a punter, a long snapper, a running back and one multi-position player who was recruited as an “athlete.”:
Four players were mid-year transfers.
Campbell, who took over for Clint Conque in December, had to quickly move to evaluate and put together the class while assembling a new coaching staff but several who had college experience in other states. He began with the list of the previous staff and was aided by input of Nathan Brown, Dan Augustine and Robert Cunningham, who had served on Conque’s staff.
“We put the people that had already been recruited on our board and evaluated them,” Campbell said. “After that, we have coaches who have coached in several different areas and it developed into, ‘I know so and so. Let me check here.’
“We got everybody on the board and evaluated the players, physically and academically, at each position. It was kind of like a church potluck where everybody brings something to the table.”
Brown, one of the outstanding quarterbacks in UCA history and who then coached quarterbacks under Conque, said, “Most of the players on our board ended up coming out of previous relationships with the new staff,” Brown said. “It was a high-energy process.”
The new class includes five players from Arkansas and seven from Mississippi. Campbell, who came to UCA from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College after coaching at Delta State, said intends to base his recruiting out of Arkansas.
“I have been impressed with the players I’ve seen in Arkansas and we’re right in the middle of a lot of pockets of good players,” he said. “We got some talented in-state folks in this class. This spring, I want to have a coach visit every high school in Arkansas.”
He said the Bears will begin spring drills March 6 with the spring game set for Saturday, April 12.
But he said National Signing Day is not the end of his recruiting.
“Recruiiting never ends,” he said. “You never know where the next great player will come from. A coach once told me that recruiting was like shaving. If you don’t do it every day, you end up looking like a bum.”