Dan Enos Tells Signing Day Crowd, Cole Kelley Elite Thrower

Arkansas quarterbacks coach Dan Enos calls 2016 signee Cole Kelley "elite thrower." That was among the many highlights at the signing day party Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

The signing day party at Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday night was a treat if only to see high school or college pictures of each Arkansas assistant football coach.


There was Robb Smith with some hair. There was Dan Enos with thick curly hair. And there was Clay Jennings with the same look as today, virtually no hair. There were some that thought for sure that Rory Segrest's picture was really that of his teenage son James.

"I'll get even," was the common thought expressed by each coach as they joined head coach Bret Bielema and host Bo Mattingly for their time at the microphone as they described the 20 newRazorbacks.

There were plenty of nice moments, including video of each of the new signees.

Among the highlights was a catch made by wide receiver Kofi Boateng of Arlington, Texas where he reached a hand around each side of a defender to trap the ball on his opponent's back as they tumbled to the ground. It would be a highlight catch in the NFL.

It was worth the $25 admission to see the many touchdown dashes of running back Devway Whaley. Power, speed and some wiggle was evident.

Among the tidbits dropped by Bielema, the staff saw Louisiana defensive linemen Briston Guidry for the first time as a sophomore during bye week of Bielema's first season. Guidry is the first Class 5A player to make all-state three straight years. It's something Leonard Fournette didn't do in the same league.

Enos, the quarterbacks coach, is clearly excited about Cole Kelley, the 6-7 thrower from Lafayette, La. Enos said, "If there is a better passer in the country, I want to see him. He has an elite arm and has great character."

Enos said receivers coach Michael Smith "did a great job of finding Kelley. I know this about wide receivers. They like to find quarterbacks. They want to find them that can throw the ball through the wall. This guy can throw it."

Bielema said Kelley is taller than 6-7.

"He comes into the room, he's big," Bielema said. "I think he's every bit of 6-7 1/4. It's kind of freaky."

Bielema said linebacker De'Jon Harris went to his Alabama visit in the last two weeks, but cut his trip short.

When Bielema said, "He was not impressed," the  The crowd of close to 750 roared.

New line coach Kurt Anderson loved offensive tackle Paul Ramirez on tape and told Enos to make it a priority to sign him.

"Paul does things with his hands, hips and feet that are better that my two tackles at Buffalo couldn't do," Anderson said. "He wants to humiliate the man across from you. He has heavy hands. He wants to make his man quit."

Bielema told stories about his in-home visits at Hope and Star City. Both were special.

"I know the story is out now about the Hope trip," Bielema said of trip to see at McTelvin "Sosa" Agim.

There was a tiny dog in the home, a big one in the backyard and a monkey.

"We had Barry Lunney and Rob Smith with me," Bielema said. "They said there was a monkey in the back room and both Robb and Barry went nuts to see it. Me, I wasn't so crazy about that idea. Monkeys are wild jungle animals. They have fangs."

This monkey was dressed in a purple vest and cap with a diaper. It wasn't any diaper. It was a Pittsburgh Steelers monkey.

"I could tell that Sosa wasn't happy about the monkey coming out," Bielema said. "He said that the monkey gets all of the attention."

No doubt, that happened.

"It jumps five feet almost instantly. It can be everywhere," Bielema said.

Eventually, the monkey landed in Bielema's lap, to his dismay.

"It was not good," he said. "I've been around animals. I was raised on a farm. But I am not crazy about monkeys."

The trip to Star City to the home of Austin Capps was much different.

"I thought it was just going to be a family dinner," Bielema said. "Then, after we got there, his mother said, 'We are going to have a few people over.' There were 200 people in the house."

Most had stories about Austin. Bielema said he was given a note by one guest with important dates for Austin.

"His father has passed," Bielema said. "The first date was when that happened. The second date was the first day of deer season. I asked about that and was told his father always took him deer hunting on the first day of the season."

Bielema had to fight back tears as he told that story. He began it with details of his first trip to Star City High School.

"As soon as I got there, I was covered up with one teacher after another telling me what Austin could do for our program if we got him," Bielema said. "It was every one in the school.

"What I'm trying to explain is that Austin wasn't raised by a family or a high school, but by a community."

Enos told stories about the recruitment of Columbia, Mo., fullback Hayden Johnson.

"I am told that his parents had a Missouri Tigers wagon that had been used for every home football game since forever," Enos said. "It's gone now. He's all Razoback.

"We started looking at him as a defensive tackle. But he's going to play fullback. He played everything for them, including some snaps as a Wildcat quarterback. He can play fullback and we can move him to in-line tight end. He's going to be a headache as far as figuring out personnel for defensive coordinators.

"Florida State, Nebraska and Missouri offered him at the end. He never wavered. He's a 3.92 kid and will be pre-med. He believes in what we are doing here."

Robb Smith is pleased with the defensive help. He said the roster got markedly better in the front seven and at safety.

"You win with the front seven," he said. "We signed four in the defensive line, four at linebacker and we got better at safety. That's what we needed. We developed the roster, especially in the front seven"

Smith raved about the athletic ability of the defensive line signees.

"When you are athletic in the defensive line, it's very important," he said. "This group is that. I'm excited."

Segrest said the four defensive line signees "will make everyone around them better. That's what happens with competition."

As for late addition Jonathan Marshall at defensive end, Segrest said, "He's 278 but he looks like he's 240. He's physical and he can throw his weight around."


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