Eight Conway Wampus Cats committed to further their football careers in college at a ceremony Wednesday on National Signing Day.
“We usually have four or five guys sign,” Coach Clint Ashcraft said. “You can see this is a huge class.”
Ashcraft said more seniors are currently awaiting test score results, and could sign with colleges in the near future.
“This is a huge testament to our senior class,” he said.
Conway’s 2013 season ended with its first trip to the state semifinals since 2003. The football team finished 9-3, and lost 21-14 to eventual 7A state champion Bentonville on the road.
“I know that wasn’t the goal we had, but it was still a great year,” Ashcraft said.
While their time in a Conway uniform is finished for the seniors of 2013, Ashcraft was quick to remind them they still represent the Wampus Cats.
“Your job as a Wampus Cat is not over,” he told the eight seniors. “I think you can tell by the way these [college] coaches keep coming back to our school that our guys that leave our program have a pretty good name and pretty good reputation. Now it’s on you guys to carry that forward.”
The eight Conway seniors to commit to a college football program Wednesday were as follows:
•Malik Clemons, University of Arkansas at Monticello
“We have never seen a kid grow as much as Malik has grown, and I use the word kid loosely. Last year he was 5-10, 5-11 and falling around. This year he’s up to about 6-3, and has really grown on the field and off.”
•Jagger Barnett, Faulkner University (Ala.)
“He wants to please his coaches. He did a great job for us this year, and we’re very proud to have had Jagger as a starter on the offensive line for us.”
•Arbnor Prevulkaj, Southwest Minnesota State University
“He’s always got a smile on his face. I can tell you something about this guy that only the coaches would probably know, and that’s at midnight, 1 a.m., when we get in from a road trip and the guys rush out of there, the field house is usually a mess. This guy stayed every time stacking boxes, picking up various things, and no on ever asked him to do that.”
•Anthony Tufu, Hendrix College
“We’re in our first conference game against Russellville, they would not throw at A.J. [Burton], they kept challenging Tufu, and he earned his stripes that night. He really proved himself that night, and I think it helped him the rest of the year.”
•Sidney Moore, Southern Arkansas University
“Sidney was a great performer for us on the field, but he was also a lot of fun in the locker room and weight room. This was a guy that would stay after and have a 30-minute conversation with him.”
•Beau Walter, University of Northwestern at St. Paul
“Very intelligent young man, and very easy to coach. When you’d tell him something, he’d nod his head and when he said he got it, he got it.”
•A.J. Burton, Ouachita Baptist University
“A.J. walked in as a sophomore and he didn’t have to announce himself or run his mouth, he just went to work. We opened his sophomore year at Fort Smith Southside, and by the end of the game Coach Kennedy put him in and he never let go of that spot.”
•Cortez Akins, Ouachita Baptist University
“He brought it everyday. He’s exactly the guy coaches are looking for, and I’m sure his attitude will be the same at Ouachita, and I’m sure the coaches are glad to have him.”
Quotes on each player from coach Clint Ashcraft.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)