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InsideUCA.com Blog

ENTRY: Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 11:25 p.m. CST

BLOCKED FIELD GOAL DOOMS UCA AGAINST TENN-MARTIN

MARTIN, Tenn. (AP) -- J'vontez Blackmon blocked Eddie Camara's 42-yard field goal attempt as time expired to preserve Tennessee-Martin's 24-23 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday night.

UTM (2-1) extended its lead to 24-14 when Dylan Favre hit Jeremy Butler for a 24-yard touchdown with 6:53 to play but Central Arkansas responded just 1:20 later, as Wynrick Smothers found Damien Watts on a 42-yard touchdown to pull within 3.

Following a three-and-out by the Skyhawks' offense, Central Arkansas (1-2) drove to the UTM 37 before Leon Carlton III intercepted a pass from Smothers at the 8. A personal foul moved the Skyhawks back to their 4.

Three plays later, UTM took an intentional safety in an effort to kill the clock.

The Bears, however, took just 28 seconds to move the ball to the UTM 25 where they lined up for the field goal.

Favre threw for three touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards.

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ENTRY: Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 1:15 a.m. CST

UCA FALLS LATE TO COLORADO

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Paul Richardson isn't wasting any time making up for lost time.

Six days after his 10-catch, 208-yard performance against Colorado State, Richardson topped that by catching 11 passes for 209 yards and two more long scores in helping the Buffaloes outlast FCS power Central Arkansas 38-24.

That's 417 yards and four TDs for the junior who missed all of last season with a torn left ACL.

So eager was he to play at Folsom Field again that Richardson led the Buffaloes onto the field before their real, live buffalo mascot, ''Ralphie V,'' could race around the field in one of college football's coolest pregame traditions.

With smoke billowing out of the players' tunnel, things got confusing and Ralphie got spooked. Richardson broke free down the sideline, his teammates trailing in a frenzy while the big beast's handlers calmed her down and corralled her back to her trailer to wait for her halftime romp instead.

''I was so caught up in the moment,'' Richardson said. ''I wanted to race Ralphie. We were standing under our tunnel and I'm like, 'Let's go! Let's go! I see the fans going crazy, I'm like, 'Where's Ralphie?' I thought Ralphie went already, Ralphie hadn't gone yet.

''I think Ralphie is good with the outcome, though.''

Under new coach Mike MacIntyre, Colorado has already doubled last year's win total even though this victory was witnessed by the smallest crowd at Folsom Field in 25 years - 35,168.

''You couldn't tell it was the smallest,'' said Richardson, whose exploits had the place rocking like it was as sellout.

In their first game against a Pac-12 school, the Bears (1-1) of the Southland Conference were in line for their second win over a FCS opponent to go with their victory against Western Kentucky in 2009 when things fell apart in the fourth quarter.

The Bears were leading 24-17 and driving deep into Buffs territory when Jered Bell picked off Wynrick Smothers' pass and returned it 79 yards, diving over the goal line just as Smothers was bringing him down, tying the game and snatching momentum.

''What a run,'' MacIntyre said. ''What a run to the end zone. To me, that's when it turned.''

After Colorado freshman cornerback Chidobe Awuzie ripped the ball from Jatavious Wilson's arms, Connor Wood overcame a four-turnover night by finding Richardson weaving free over the middle for a 30-yard go-ahead touchdown with 9:16 left.

Nelson Spruce capped the comeback when he turned Wood's short screen pass into a 39-yard TD that made it 38-24 and Kenneth Crawley sealed it with an interception in the end zone at the two-minute mark.

''We played with those guys the whole game but we shot ourselves in the foot,'' said Smothers, who finished 33 of 55 for 280 yards, two TDs and three interceptions, two of which were returned for scores.

The Buffs matched the Bears' four turnovers.

''We're pretty fun to watch, either way,'' MacIntyre said after the Buffaloes snapped a six-game skid at Folsom Field and improved to 2-2 against lower-tier schools with their first 2-0 start since 2008.

Richardson also had a 55-yard catch to start the scoring on a pass that Wood was sure the speedy receiver would never reach.

''I was holding my helmet, saying 'Oh, I overthrew him,''' Wood said. ''And he just - whoosh! - got it.''

''Just flat out ran by us,'' Bears coach Clint Conque said.

The Buffs have had five 200-yard receiving games in school history, three now by Richardson, the junior who had a school record 284 yards against Cal in 2011 before missing all of last year.

Wood finished 23 of 36 for 341 yards and three TDs. He threw two interceptions and fumbled twice on sack-strips by Markeith Gaines, both of which led to Bears touchdowns.

Gaines' first sack-strip was recovered by Derek Floyd and Smothers capitalized with a 22-yard TD toss to Dezmin Lewis to get the Bears on the board. His second sack-strip came at the Colorado 16 and Smothers' sneak on fourth-and-1 put the Bears on top 24-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Colorado cornerback Greg Henderson stepped in front of Courtney Whitehead to intercept Smothers' pass and then raced 46 yards for the TD that put Colorado on top 14-0. It was the Buffs' first interception since Sept. 22, 2012, ending a streak of 267 pass attempts by opponents without a pick-off.

''When you play a Pac-12 school that's deeper, you can't turn the ball over four times. That ultimately did us in,'' Conque said.

Notes: The Bears lost defender Aum'Arie Wallace to a dislocated left ankle in the second half.

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ENTRY: Saturday, August 29, 2013 at 11:15 p.m. CST

UCA DOMINATES INCARNATE WORD 58-7

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) -- Jatavious Wilson caught two touchdown passes and returned a kickoff 93 yards as Central Arkansas beat Incarnate Word 58-7 during a sweltering season opener Thursday night.

It was 97 degrees at game time

Incarnate Word was playing its first-ever game of Division I football. It was quite the welcome from Central Arkansas' Bears, who have reached the FCS playoffs the previous two seasons. Blake Veasley scored the game's first two touchdowns - rushing from 11 and 18 yards - three minutes apart. Danzel Williams also scored two TDs for the Bears (1-0), who scored at least twice in every quarter and piled up 523 yards of total offense.

Incarnate Word, a San Antonio school that didn't begin playing football until 2009, scored on Trent Brittain's 38-yard run with four minutes remaining.

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ENTRY: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 9:15 p.m. CST

TEAM TO REPORT FRIDAY; PRACTICE BEGINS SATURDAY

The UCA Bear football team is scheduled to report this Friday in preparations for fall camp which begins Saturday at Estes Stadium.

The public is invited to attend the first practice of the year, which will begin at 3:45 p.m.

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ENTRY: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. CST

LOVE & WODDARD NAMED PHIL STEELE ALL-AMERICANS

COURTESY UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

CONWAY, Ark. _ Two University of Central Arkansas football players were named to Phil Steele's FCS All-American preseason team on Tuesday, while nine were named to Steele's All-Southland Conference preseason team.

Senior safety Jestin Love of West Memphis was a second-team All-America selection, while sophomore defensive end Jonathan Woodard of Brentwood, Tenn., was a fourth-team All-American.

Love was the SLC Freshman of the Year in 2010 and was a first-team All-SLC selection in 2012. Woodard was the SLC Freshman of the Year last fall.

Love and Woodard were both first-team All-SLC selections by the magazine, along with senior quarterback Wynrick Smothers, junior offensive lineman Cole Caruthers, senior defensive lineman Matt Hornbuckle and junior placekicker Eddie Camara.

Second-team selections were junior wide receiver Dezmin Lewis, senior offensive lineman Dominique Allen and senior linebacker Justin Heard.

Smothers, a senior quarterback from Destrehan, La., was named the preseason SLC Offensive Player of the Year.

The Bears open the 2013 season at home against Incarnate Word on Thursday, Aug. 29 at First Security Field at Estes Stadium.

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ENTRY: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. CST

UCA AND ADIDAS ENTER FIVE YEAR DEAL

COURTESY UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

CONWAY, Ark. - The University of Central Arkansas has reached a five-year partnership with adidas to be the official supplier of uniforms, footwear, apparel and accessories for the school's 17 NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics teams through the 2017-2018 season.

Adidas will be the exclusive outfitter for the Bears and Sugar Bears beginning this fall, supplying all game and practice uniforms, footwear, travel apparel and accessories - marking the first time all University of Central Arkansas athletics teams will benefit from a single, globally-recognized sporting goods leader.

"We are pleased to have a prominent and respected national brand such as Adidas as a sponsor of UCA Athletics," said Dr. Brad Teague, Central Arkansas' Director of Athletics. "This opportunity is due only to our quick success in Division I athletics. Adidas is an excellent partner to many major athletics programs across the country, and is a brand that carries great name recognition not only throughout our country, but internationally as well. Their interest in our athletics programs demonstrates the appeal of the Central Arkansas brand, and we look forward to the many benefits this partnership will afford our university."

Adidas - the primary brand of the adidas Group - is the official uniform, footwear and apparel provider for more than 70 Division I collegiate programs, including 2013 Division I men's basketball national champion Louisville, BCS runner-up Notre Dame, College World Series participants UCLA and Mississippi State, along with Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin.

"Our goal at Adidas is to help athletes perform better and we look forward to introducing the best in performance footwear, apparel and accessories to the University of Central Arkansas and their fans," said Mark Daniels, Director of Team Sports for adidas America. "We're excited to begin our partnership with UCA and help the Bears and Sugar Bears become stronger, lighter and faster."

"Adidas is paired with some of the biggest names in collegiate athletics, and understands the importance of producing products that are not only high in quality, but appealing to the student-athlete and consumer as well," Teague said. "This partnership will help our programs with a consistent quality apparel across all sports, and we will also realize a savings in uniform and apparel costs which is another tremendous benefit to our department."

The University of Central Arkansas, founded in 1907, is an NCAA Division I institution competing in the Southland Conference. The University - located in Conway, Ark., a town of nearly 60,000 - offers 136 degrees ranging from undergraduate to doctoral degrees and has an enrollment of more than 11,000. The University of Central Arkansas aspires to be a premiere learner-focused public comprehensive university, a nationally recognized leader for its continuous record of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, scholarly and creative endeavors, and engagement with local, national, and global communities.

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ENTRY: Monday, July 8, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. CST

SMOTHERS NAMED TO PAYTON AWARD WATCH LIST

COURTESY UCA SPORTS INFORMATION

CONWAY, Ark. _ University of Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers was named to the 2013 Walter Payton Award Watch List for the second time on Monday.

Smothers, a senior from Destrehan, La., was a finalist for the award last fall. He is one of just seven quarterbacks and 20 players in all named to the preseason watch list for the award that goes to the outstanding player at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

"Wynrick had a fantastic year in 2012 statistically and in a leadership capacity,' said UCA head football coach Clint Conque. "This announcement should provide additional motivation to Wynrick. Preparation and accountability have been key elements in his development.

"We have high expectations for Wynrick in 2013 and more importantly he has an even higher expectations of himself. These type of individual recognitions bring a spotlight to our entire football team and program.'

Smothers was the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season after throwing for 3,103 yards and 31 touchdowns as the Bears won an SLC co-championship. Smothers, who also rushed for 449 yards and scored four more touchdowns, was a first-team All-SLC selection last season and finished in the top 11 in the Payton Award voting.

Smothers set school records in single-season total offense (3,552 yards), season completions (277), season pass attempts (451) and total offense per game (296.0). He was second in passing touchdowns.

The 27th annual Payton Award will be presented to the winner at The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation on Dec. 16. Past recipients include Tony Romo, Steve McNair and Brian Westbrook. The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards at the end of the season. Conque is a three-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award.

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ENTRY: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. CST

IN-STATE ATHLETES LAND OFFERS

UCA has sent out offers to a pair of in-state athletes for the Class of 2014.

Three-star linebacker Jarvis Cooper from West Memphis and Tight End Aaron Hamaker from Little Rock Catholic are currently the only in-state prospects with offers from the Bears.

Cooper, (6-1, 255) also holds offers from Arkansas State and Memphis, while Hamaker (6-3, 272) holds additional offers from Troy and Wyoming.

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ENTRY: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 12:35 p.m. CST

PURPLE DEFEATS GRAY 17-7 IN SPRING GAME

CONWAY - The Purple team earned a 17-7 victory over the Gray team Saturday night in the 2013 Purple vs. Gray game at Estes Stadium. It was a game with a few bright spots, in addition to a few not so bright spots for some of the seasoned veterans of the team.

Head coach Clint Conque was disappointed with several critical mistakes made by his teams during the scrimmage, but was also proud of the effort put together by the defenses over the course of the game.

"There were only four scores in the game," said Conque. "So I thought the defense had the better day today. Certainly I believe anytime you split the teams up the continuity and the consistency is going to be challenged. With that said, I thought some of the older guys who have played a lot of football for us made a lot of critical mistakes in some critical situations. It's just not acceptable, and we've got to get that fixed."

Fumbles are most likely some of the critical mistakes Conque spoke of, and the Gray team lost two to the purple team.

Running back Willie Matthews and quarterback Wynrick Smothers both lost fumbles for the Gray team, while DeAndre Taylor fumbled for the Purple team. Taylor was able to retain possession of his dropped ball.

Despite the mistakes, the Gray team was able to take an early lead with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter as Smothers connected with Dezmin Lewis for a 24-yard touchdown. Eddie Camara's kick would give the Gray team an early 7-0 advantage. The five play 45 yard drive took 2:09 off the clock.

However, it didn't take long for the Purple team to answer.

One the ensuing drive, the Purple team took just two plays to score, as running back Blake Veasley found a hole on the right side of the line, and burst through it untouched for a 55-yard touchdown.

Camara's kick tied the game at seven all with 2:56 to play in the first quarter.

The Purple team would force a three-and-out, then strike again almost immediately as Ryan Howard connected with a wide open Courtney Whitehead for a 55-yard touchdown.

Jace Denker's PAT gave the Purple the 14-7 advantage with 11:53 remaining in the first half. The five play, 75-yard drive took just 2:08 off of the clock.

The final score of the game came on the last play of the first half as Eddie Camara connected on a 44-yard field goal to give the Purple team the 17-7 advantage.

The second half saw a defensive struggle, with several defensive players showing the coaching staff some things that they wanted to see.

"Bailey [McIver] made some plays today, said Conque. "Jonathan Woddard, Derrick Floyd. I like the way the defense ran to the ball all night. I thought Aum'Arie Wallace made some real nice plays out there tonight, and that was encouraging. We've got some good, young athletic nickel safety type guys, and I thought they flew around and tackled well."

Conque also spoke about the play of his quarterbacks. Ryan Howard led the Purple team with 13 completions on 19 attempts for 125 yards and a touchdown, while Smothers led the Gray team with 19 completions on 28 attempts for 165 yards, two interceptions, and a touchdown.

"I thought Ryan Howard had an excellent game," said Conque. "He just continues to improve throwing the football, and certainly we will look at the tape and evaluate, but I liked the way Ryan played. I didn't think Wynrick played as sharp. I think he was working with some different receivers and some different things, but he made some mistakes that you don't need to make in the red zone. We will look at the tape and evaluate it, and set a depth chart, then go into the next phase of our program."

As a team, the Purple team picked up nine first downs, and 105 yards rushing on 22 attempts. They went 13 of 21 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown, for a total of 230 yards of offense. They were penalized six times for 58 yards.

The Gray team picked up 11 first downs, and ran the ball 20 times for 42 yards. They were 22 of 32 passing for 188 yards, with two interceptions, and a touchdown. They were penalized four times for 35 yards.

The Gray team won the time of possession, as they held onto the ball for 27:12, while the Purple team had the ball for 20:03.

Purple Team Stat Leaders

  • Passing: Ryan Howard 13 of 19 for 125 yards and a touchdown.
  • Rushing: Blake Veasley six carries for 72 yards and a touchdown.
  • Receiving: Courtney Whitehead four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.

    Gray Team Stat Leaders

  • Passing: Wynrick Smothers 19 of 28 for 165 yards, two interceptions, and a touchdown.
  • Rushing: Willie Matthews 15 carries for 36 yards.
  • Receiving: Dezmin Lewis four receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.

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    ENTRY: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 1:35 a.m. CST

    CONQUE DISCUSSES 2013 UCA SIGNING CLASS

    UCA signed 23 players to include six offensive linemen, four defensive backs, four wide receivers, three defensive tackles, two running backs, one punter, one defensive end, one athlete, and one quarterback.

    UCA head coach Clint Conque took a few minutes following his press conference Wednesday to discuss his 2013 signing class.

    $$$$ CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CLINT CONQUE. $$$$

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    ENTRY: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. CST

    DB GEORGE ODUM COMMITS

    InsideUCA.com has learned that Millington, TN. defensive back George Odum has committed to the Bears.

    Odum previously played linebacker before moving to safety for his senior season. He is 6-2, 185, and runs a 4.45 forty-yard-dash. Some reports have him listed in the 4.3 range, but I haven't been able to verify that.

    His senior stats are below. I couldn't find a highlight video on him on Hudl or Youtube.

    73.5 tackles
    5 tackles for loss
    5 breakups
    3 FF
    4 FR
    3 INT (2 returned for TD)
    20.6 yds per punt return (1 returned for TD)
    2 receptions for 72 yds (1 TD)

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    ENTRY: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. CST

    RB KELTON WARREN COMMITS

    InsideUCA.com has learned that Arlington, TX. running back Kelton Warren has given his commitment to the Bears.

    Warren is 5-10, 185, and runs a 4.5 forty-yard-dash.

    I will attempt to contact Warren later this evening. Until then, his junior highlight video is below.

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    ENTRY: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:15 a.m. CST

    COUNTDOWN TO NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

    Tomorrow is the big day! By this time in the morning, we should be hearing about athletes who have faxed in their National Letters of Intent to the Bears.

    I do have a couple of updates for you this morning though.

    It was reported elsewhere that Conway Christian quarterback Tanner Stevenson had committed to UCA. In a sense that is true, but he has committed to play for the Bears as a walk on. He will be a non-scholarship player at this time.

    Also, after trying all weekend to get in touch with him, Hayden Hildebrand sent me a text this morning and stated that he is 100% solid to UCA despite other schools coming onto him very hard in this past week.

    I'll have more throughout the day as I get it. Expect a couple of late commitments!

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    ENTRY: Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 9:15 a.m. CST

    SUNDAY MORNING RECRUITING UPDATE

    Here are a few tidbits to start your morning. I will have more after church services.

    Osceola running back Korliss Marshall has decommitted from UCA and committed to the Arkansas Razorbacks. His offer there is as a safety, and he is expected to have to red shirt a year to learn the position.

    UCA did pick up a couple of commitments since last night's update though.

    St. Louis Riverview ATH Darrien Daniels and Southaven, MS wide receiver Jose Moore have given their commitments to the Bears.

    Daniels held offers from Middle Tennessee and Tennessee Martin in addition to UCA, while Moore held significant interest from Marshall.

    CLICK HERE for Daniels' highlights, and CLICK HERE for Moore's highlights.

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    ENTRY: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:35 p.m. CST

    WELLMAKER SOLID TO UCA

    Lake Charles, LA safety Tirell Wellmaker committed to UCA several weeks ago, but McNeese State has really turned up the pressure on the two-star prospect who is in their own back yard.

    How does Wellmaker feel about that?

    "McNeese is coming on hard," said Wellmaker. "But I am solid to UCA. I feel like I made a good decision when I picked them."

    He spoke about some of the things that sold him on UCA.

    "I had a great time on my visit," said Wellmaker. "There was a great family atmosphere, and they have a winning program. I enjoyed the campus when I was there, and saw that they have a great football program and great academics."

    "I've heard the game day atmosphere is great also," he added. "A few people have told me it can really get insane."

    He also spoke about his goals after National Signing Day.

    "I'm just going to work hard to stay in shape," said Wellmaker. "I'm going to do a lot of lifting, and do really good in school and keep my grades up. I'm just going to do everything I can do to be a good student the rest of the year."

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    ENTRY: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. CST

    FINAL PUSH BEFORE NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

    UCA head coach Clint Conque and his staff are making a push on the final weekend before National Signing Day for several athletes in order to fill the 2013 recruiting class.

    St. Louis athlete Darrien Daniels (5-9, 170, 4.5) is one of the main athletes being targeted this weekend. CLICK HERE for his highlights.

    Southaven, MS wide receiver Jose Moore is taking an official visit to UCA this weekend in addition to Little Rock McClellan ATH Akee Johnson. Be sure to CLICK HERE for Moore's highlights.

    With former commit L.J. Wallace deciding to pursue baseball for UCA, the Bears need another wide receiver commit, and Moore and/or Johnson could fit the bill.

    UCA fans could potentially hear about a new running back commit very soon as well.

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    ENTRY: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 1:20 p.m. CST

    2013 RECRUITING CLASS SHAPING UP NICELY

    In the first installment of the InsideUCA.com blog, we take a look at the 2013 recruiting class for the Bears. Coach Clint Conque and his staff have done a tremendous job reeling in some quality athletes to add to an already impressive team.

    Two young men, Jordan Kersh an offensive lineman from Hinds community college and Jonathan Harrison a kicked from Northeast Mississippi community college, have already signed National Letters of Intent with the Bears.

    At this time, 15 other athletes are expected to sign on National Signing Day, while two are in limbo at this point.

    The two in limbo include Osceola running back Korliss Marshall who has been offered by the Arkansas Razorbacks, and Pulaski Academy wide receiver L.J. Wallace who has been offered by the Bears baseball team.

    Wallace is expected to be a draft pick, so baseball is where he is leaning at this time, while Marshall has a decision to make between Arkansas and UCA. Does he want to play immediately as a running back for UCA, or does he want to redshirt a year and learn how to play defensive back for Arkansas? Look for that decision to be made soon, as he is visiting both campuses this weekend.

    Several other in-state athletes are committed to the Bears and all are expected to sign.

    Those players include Conway running back Jeff Anderson, Morrilton offensive lineman Gilberto Garcia, and Yellville-Summit offensive lineman Stockton Mallett.

    Garcia was recently offered by New Mexico State on a recent visit, but told them thanks but no thanks. He will sign with the Bears.

    Additionally, UCA has commitments from Haltom City, TX wide receiver Roman Gordon, Bossie City, LA quarterback Hayden Hildebrand, Springtown, TX defensive end Thomas Loving, Stephenville, TX offensive lineman Bryan Manley, Lewisville, TX defensive back Jordan Meyers, Memphis, TN defensive tackles Michael Moore and Terrence Partee, Duncanville, TX defensive tackle Jordan Tolliver, Lake Charles, LA defensive back Tirell Wellmaker, and Bastrop, LA wide receiver Jatavious Wilson.

    Fernando Van Hook from Senetobia, MS is also committed. He is listed as a running back on Rivals.com, but was recruited as a defensive back. Additionally, Allen, TX offensive lineman Cade Camp gave his commitment to the Bears earlier this week.

    There may also be a late surprise or two for this class, or, perhaps, a silent commitment. We will just have to wait and see!

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