SPRING FOOTBALL BEGINS
One of the last warming rays of football before the fall began last week in Jonesboro as Blake Anderson opened his fourth edition of spring football. The team begins its work towards the 2017 season with just nine returning starters but seven of those are All-Sun Belt selections from last season. The first week was filled with what you would expect from week one of spring ball, a lot of teaching, learning, and mistakes but Anderson felt like the attitude and enthusiasm was on target, “there is still a lot of work to be done, but the energy was there.”
The defense is expected again to be the workhorse of the 2017 version of ASU football and the staff felt they have showed up ready to prove they can build upon being a top 30 national unit last year. Anderson said “they wanted to play and guys were ready to hit, we’ve been holding them back for a few days. You could tell the defense was hungry to get out there and pop.” ASU will hold a 9:30 a.m. practice on April 8th which will include a live scrimmage and a chance as Anderson put it “to calm down.. and they should be able to react and play.”
ECHOLS-LUPER DONE AT ASU?
On March 13 WR Cameron Echols-Luper, the heralded speedster transfer from TCU, was pulled over by university police for speeding and was arrested for possession of marijuana and later found to be wanted on two outstanding warrants from the cities of Bryant and Newport. Head Coach Blake Anderson suspended Echols-Luper from the team indefinitely apparently awaiting some final judicial decisions before going forward but it seems unlikely he will return to the team in 2017. Anderson called it a “disappointing situation with Cam.” Echols-Luper played in all 13 games in 2016 and had 26 catches for 407 yards and a touchdown.
RED WOLVES ADD 2 COMMITS
The Red Wolves added two commits this last week to the 2018 recruiting class as in-state wide receiver Demetrice Holliday from Batesville gave his verbal to ASU as well as Georgia defensive lineman Ryan Taylor.
Holliday is a 6-3 200 pound multi-sport athlete who heads into his senior season with almost a 1,000 yards receiving on 50 catches and 11 touchdowns in his career. Coach Kyle Cefalo, who just recently returned to the staff from North Carolina, was one of the lead recruiters.
Ryan Taylor is a 6-2 280 pound noseguard/defensive end from Grayson, Georgia who seems to be a late bloomer that will get more interest as next season develops. Taylor was a key part of the Grayson 7A state championship team which featured a defense that only allowed 11 points a game and recorded three shutouts.
MOHAJIR ANNOUNCES RE-UP WITH ADIDAS
Arkansas State Athletic Director Terry Mohajir announced last week that ASU is extending its current apparel agreement with Adidas through the 2022-23 season. “We’re excited to announce an unprecedented apparel contract for Arkansas State Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Mohajir. “This renewed partnership is a great tribute to the emerging brand of the Red Wolves and the wonderful accomplishments our athletics department has achieved. This agreement puts us in an elite partnership status with Adidas.”
SUNBELT WEIGHS IN ON GUNS AT GAMES
Last week the Arkansas legislature passed bill SB724 banning guns from athletic stadiums. The bill exempts concealed carry laws at collegiate athletic events in Arkansas and only changes, not repeals, House Bill 1429, meaning individuals with concealed carry permits can still bring legally-possessed weapons onto college campuses if they take the additional training hours. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson got involved in the national debate after SEC commissioner Greg Sankey had thrown his seeming political heft in on the discussion of guns in stadiums at SEC events. "I too support the Arkansas State Senate's exemption in Senate Bill 724 that would prevent firearms from being allowed inside publicly funded stadiums and arenas in the state of Arkansas," Benson said in a statement.