It's His Forte

UA signee and former Little Rock Mills star Elston Forte hopes to come up with a couple of big hits in tonight's Arkansas High School Coaches Association Football Game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Some of the hardest hits in All-Star Week practice this week have been passed out by Little Rock Mills standout Elston Forte.

Of course, that should be the case when you are headed to Safety U.

Forte (6-2, 197, 4.4), a University of Arkansas signee, hopes to follow in the footsteps of such legendary Razorback big hitters who went on to the NFL in Steve Atwater, Kenoy Kennedy, Ken Hamlin and Tony Bua.

"I do what I can to make an impact once I get there," Forte said. "They've had a lot of great guys up here who were known for that."

Forte, who actually played all over the field on offense and defense for Mills, will open at one of the safety spots for the East squad in tonight's Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game at 7 p.m. inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

He should be familiar with the place since he has been up here for two weeks, first working out with his future Razorback teammates and then his fellow all-star squad members.

"I feel like I am really putting in the effort this summer and I thought it was important to get up here early and get in the work with the guys and learn what I could from them," Forte said. "I feel like I am doing everything I can to get better right now."

Forte, ranked as the sixth-best player in Arkansas in the class of 2005 by, played at 185 in high school, but has gained 12 pounds in this offseason.

"I'm feeling pretty pumped up," Forte said. "I've been lifting weights and eating right and have just blown up a little bit."

Forte rushed for 600 yards and 13 touchdowns, had over 300 yards in receptions with another three scores, 55 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He had six plays of over 70 yards during the 2004 season while taking kick returns to the house as well.

"I feel like if I was doing as good playing all those positions," Forte said, "that if I focus on one position and put my all into it I will really succeed."

Mills went just 3-7 this past season despite all of Forte's heroics.

"I didn't want to go out my senior season the way we did, but everything happens for a reason," Forte said. "Maybe because we did bad my senior season, I will come up here and the team will have great success. I'm not going to look back and think about the past, just ahead to a great future."

Even in the summer workouts, Forte can tell he has stepped up a level.

"They're hard - nothing like high school - but I can already see the results," Forte said, "The older guys have tried to help me out a lot. I had family tell me that my try to down you because you are coming in to get their time, but it hasn't been like that. They have all been really cool."

Little Rock Central star and fellow incoming UA freshman Kevin Thornton will join Forte in having a chance to grab some safety time if they prove they are worthy.

"I know they are expecting a lot out of me," Forte said. "Every coach that I have seen has told me they are expecting to come ready to play. I know one thing - I'm not going to back down."

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