In the short time that he has been head football coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves, Hugh Freeze is already creating quite a bit of excitement around the program.
That excitement began on December 2, 2010 when Freeze took over the program, and started laying out some of his goals.
"We're competing for a conference championship, and it starts tomorrow," Freeze said. "We must capture the hearts of our players . We do that by love and coaching hard and helping them prepare to be their best."
Freeze also alluded to his excitement of being on the recruiting trail, and bringing in quality talent.
"I can't wait to hit the recruiting trail and get us some players." He said. "We're going to climb the trees and shake some branches. We are going to go full steam ahead and make the Arkansas State Red Wolves the Sun Belt champions."
While we are currently eight months away from football season, Freeze has already began shaking the trees on the recruiting trail, and is beginning to accomplish his goals there, by shaking a few trees.
In fact, Freeze landed the first commitment of his tenure Tuesday night when Phenix City, Alabama linebacker Bronterrious Jakes gave his verbal pledge. On Wednesday, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College corner back Don Jones signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Red Wolves.
Freeze has also been able to retain the commitments of wide receiver Stephen Hogan from Greenwood, Arkansas, and defensive back Quitin Sparkmon from West Memphis, Arkansas. El Dorado quarterback Taylor Reed may be close to giving his verbal pledge as well.
When Freeze was announced as head coach, one of the first things he said after stepping to the podium was that he wanted to "continue building on the foundation Coach Roberts has set."
Freeze has also continued to keep his word there by retaining several of Coach Roberts assistants. Wide receivers coach Tyler Siskey, running backs coach David Gunn, offensive line coach Darren Hiller, and tight ends coach Maurice Harris have all been retained.
It makes sense that Freeze would retain a majority of the offensive staff. The Red Wolves set eight school records on offense in the 2010 football season, and a good majority of the players who made that happen will return.
The Red Wolves also had 11 players named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Conference list. Five of those players will return next season.
Despite the fact that Freeze has only been head coach for less than a month, it appears that he is already being a man of his word. He and his staff are currently out on the recruiting trail, he is making a conscious effort to excite the fan base, and he is working on filling the open positions in his staff, namely on defense.
Coach Freeze served notice on the Sun Belt Conference the day he was hired by saying the Red Wolves were coming to win a conference championship. Given how he has kept his word thus-far and how he is already exciting the fan base and the team, you can bet that is a very achievable goal with the team he has coming back this year.
If he can add a solid recruiting class this year and next year, he will build the depth to continue his winning ways for years to come.
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