Big Pack Weekend: Looking Back

A week ago there was a lot shaking in northeast Arkansas. No it was not the New Madrid stirring things up but the results of the first Big Pack Weekend did send notice in the world of college football. And it was a weekend that thrilled the coaching staff.

“We are beyond pleased,’’ said coach Blake Anderson. “It went great. The guys did a great job of getting everybody there that we wanted. We knew with travel plans, and summer it would not be possible to get them all here. We made some relationships that are going to last for years.”

With a most of their commits on campus and several of their top prospects, the Red Wolves received seven commits over four days. A-State now has 18 commits on the season, a total that is most likely a program best before the season begins.

On Friday, defensive lineman Fred Brown (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) of Hahnville, La., who was actually not part of the Big Pack Weekend, visited the campus for the first time and by the time he left he made a pledge to the Red Wolves.

On Saturday, offensive linemen Branquavious Bussey (6-2, 283) of Lanett, Ala., and Christian Castleberry (6-2, 270) of Mesquite, Texas, linebacker Kirk Louis, Jr., (6-2, 235) of Baton Rouge McKinley and running back Devante Williams (5-10, 185) of Moody, Ala., committed to the A-State. On Sunday, T.J. Harris (6-2, 225) of Tulsa Booker T. Washington made it six weekend commits.

On Monday, linebacker-safety Justin Clifton (6-0, 207) of Tupelo, Miss., came on board.

“Obviously, the results were even more, way above what we expected,’’ said Anderson.

“We don’t really have a time frame to be where we are. We identify guys who we think can help us win, play at a high level and we did that. We wanted to add people who we think are a fit for our family, the way we do things and who we think are serious about football and getting a degree. After we ID those guys then we start recruiting and it doesn’t really matter who else is recruiting them, we don’t ask who has offered them. Occasionally, it might come up but it is not really part of the process. We just start the process and recruit kids who we think can help us win.”

Anderson said he expects the 2015 class to have 25 signees.

“When it starts rolling, it starts and at no point do we put a time frame on when we need to be at a certain number. We could have five commits or all 25 as long as they are the right guys. We are pleased with the guys we have.

“Now we have to keep this class together.”

Having most of the class committed, the Red Wolves now focus on finishing.

“We have a couple of offensive line spots we need to fill,’’ he said. “With our depth and OL situation and attrition we are still a few behind where we need to be overall. … Other than that is really more of a best guy available. We need guys who are going to be able to get the ball in the end zone and we need guys who can get to the quarterback. We are not going to be pigeon-holed there and say we need to get this or that. We are looking to see who is going to be the most dynamic and be very selective with who those guys are going to be.”