Tiger Revival

LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas football program has added four more members to their Little Rock Central fraternity.

Former members of Central's back-to-back Class AAAAA Championship teams, cornerback Kevin Thornton, linebacker Antwain Robinson, quarterback Clark Irwin and tight end Joseph Henry all inked with the Hogs on Wednesday afternoon at a ceremony at the Central auditorium.

Henry and Irwin will walk-on, while Thornton and Robinson will be on scholarship.

The four Tigers will join former teammates Fred Bledsoe, a sophomore-to-be defensive lineman, and Fred Fairchild, a signee from Hargrave Military Academy.

Also, junior running back Dedrick Poole calls Central his alma mater and head coach Houston Nutt and his running backs coach and brother, Danny, also starred for the Tiger football and basketball teams.

"It's real special," said Thornton, who had 23 career interceptions. "Two of my teammates Fred Bledsoe and Freddie Fairchild are already there, and we have Dedrick Pool -- then you have four more coming with all of us. Hopefully, we can all reunite again."

For three years, Henry has been constantly reminded of the tradition at Central. The Tigers are among the winningest programs in the nation. Henry, the son of former Razorback player Cliff Henry, said being a Hog allows him once again be in elite company.

"I don't think you can get any tighter bond than we have here at Central, but from what I hear that Razorback family is pretty tight, also," Henry said. "It's special being in both."

Longtime Central coach Bernie Cox said this is the biggest group he has sent to Fayetteville in 25 years. He credits the popularity of the Razorbacks and Nutts in the recent resurgence of interest in UA among Central alums.

"I think first of all, a lot of our kids grow up wanting to be Razorbacks, and I think having the Nutts up there has an influence on that," Cox said. "They picked the school they wanted to attend, and all four of them were excited about going to Arkansas.

Of the four, Thornton is the most highly regarded. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder with 4.6 40-yard dash speed. He finished with 23 career interceptions in his high school career.

"He is going to be a 200-pounder or more before he gets through, and he is going to be strong," Cox said. "He has great awareness. He breaks on the ball extremely well, and he'll come up and pop someone."

Thornton had no other scholarship offers, but he didn't show interest in other schools and didn't try to schedule any visits other than Arkansas he said.

Robinson, a 6-foot-235 pounder with 4.7 speed, will be trying to make up for lost time. Robinson missed the 2004 season after having surgery on his leg in July.

Cox said Robinson, who had 12 sacks and 50 total tackles as a junior, was to undergo routine arthroscopic surgery on his knee when doctors determined Robinson had a bone disorder.

Robinson was on crutches for three months and despite an exhaustive rehabilitation program never did get to suit up for the Tigers last season.

However, Robinson's rehab continues to progress, and he is planning on being healthy enough to play next season.

Cox predicts Robinson will bounce back and be an impact player for the Hogs before his four years is through.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories