Arkansas Eyeing Charleston's Carmona

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson profiles Charleston kicker Eduardo Carmona, a young man who has kicked a 52-yarder in a game and a 62-yarder in practice.

Despite going through some three-plus hours of drills in which he ran and jumped at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes combine on Saturday, Charleston's Eduardo Carmona knows it was the last few minutes of the event that were the most important for him.

That's when Carmona, a 5-9, 175-pound senior-to-be kicker from Charleston who was one of 190-plus prospects on hand, wound up his strong left leg and booted several through the uprights before University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, several other college coaches and a couple of recruiting writers.

"I don't think they really care how fast I can run or how high I can jump," Carmona said. "They just want to know if I can make the kicks."

Carmona and Springdale junior-to-be Alex Tejada are regarded as the two best kickers in the state and certainly that has the attention of those who follow Razorback football recruiting.

Born in Monterey, Mexico, Carmona drilled a 52-yarder in a game last season for a Charleston team that went 12-1-1 and made it to the Class AA championship game and has actually converted a 63-yarder in practice.

"I started kicking when I started playing soccer when I was four years old," Carmona said. "I switched to football and I think my soccer background has really helped me. I think I am pretty good, but am working to get better.

"I had some pretty good field goals, but I don't think I did nearly as good as I should have," Carmona said. "I hit that 52-yarder, but should have been more accurate. I was happy with my kickoffs. I hit 85 percent of them into the end zone, but my goal for next year is going to be somewhere between 95 and 100 percent."

Carmona is 18-of-34 in his career on field goal attempts -- including 9 of 18 last season. He also has made 119-of-122 extra point tries in his career and was 35-of-36 last season.

"I focus on where I am supposed to kick the ball and kicking it in the same spot everytime," Carmona said. "I don't play any other positions so I just kick."

Carmona is receiving interest from 12 schools right now with Arkansas his favorite among the group.

"I have been to Razorback games these past few years. Charleston is an hour and a half from Fayetteville. I like the Razorback program and hope I get a chance to be a part of it."

Arkansas, LSU, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Michigan, Arkansas State, Ouachita and some of the other schools that Carmona has been contacted by.

"I don't have any offers yet, but I think I will have some before too long," Carmona said. "I hope one of them is from Arkansas."

Carmona, who worked with former Dallas Cowboys kicker Chris Boniol at a camp in Fort Smith on Sunday, will have a busy summer.

"I'm going to come up to Arkansas camps and also am going down to LSU," Carmona said. "I'm also going to several other kicking camps to give myself a chance to be the best I can be."

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One of the other top prospects on hand for the FCA combine was North Little Rock linebacker Van Stumon (6-2, 230), who got scholarship offers from both Arkansas and Purdue last week.

"I was real excited about both of them," Stumon said. "I really wasn't expecting them and didn't know what to say. I just said 'thanks.'"

Stumon -- who was born in Louisiana -- says his top four schools right now are Arkansas, LSU, Texas and Purdue and also noted he will be coming to two camps in Fayetteville and one in Baton Rouge.

"I really like Mr. Nutt (UA head coach Houston Nutt) and love their program," Stumon said. "I love the fan support. It's crazy up there. There is also a lot of players from Pulaski County already up there that I have played with and played against and I wouldn't mind playing with them again."

• • •

Springdale began spring practice on Monday with a host of Arkansas coaches on hand, no doubt the first of many groups who will come in and see the Red Bulldogs practice.

Quarterback Mitch Mustain -- who participated in the Nike Combine in Oxford, Miss., on Sunday -- said his team is happy for practice to arrive.

"I think we are all very excited about finally getting to spring practice and starting what will be a great year," Mustain said. "It kind of wears on you not being able to get back out there."

Springdale will no doubt be a consensus No. 1 pick this season after a 2004 campaign that ended with Mustain getting hurt in the second quarter of a semifinal round loss to eventual champion Little Rock Central.

"I think that gave us a little extra motivation and our team has really worked hard this offseason getting ready, getting better and working toward having a great year," Mustain said. "That is the main thing on everyone's minds."

Springdale tight end Ben Cleveland became the fifth Red Bulldog and seventh in-state prospect to get an offer from Arkansas when he got one on Monday.


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