Hewitt: Give Me One Week

Arkansas has yet to don full pads, but junior college transfer Matt Hewitt is making an early statement in fall camp. Hewitt is working with the first team at free safety and coaches like what they see so far.

Arkansas coaches put juco transfer Matt Hewitt at strong safety to open fall camp, but defensive coordinator Reggie Herring wanted to move him to a spot where he might get on the field a little quicker.

"Randy Kelly at strong, he's doing so well, we just thought Matt might get a better chance to win a spot at free," Herring said. "So we put him there and with the first team."

Hewitt is working with the first group, but Herring still lists him as just even with Michael Grant, the first teamer after spring, partly out of default.

"We just didn't have anyone else but Mike," Herring said. "Now we'll let them compete for a couple of weeks and see what will happen."

Grant is fine with that. He said he'll only need one week.

"I played free in high school and two years in junior college," he said. "I ought to know it by now. That's been my position.

"I just want a chance to battle with Mike Grant. If he does something, I have to do it better. I have to outdo him. No grudges, just good hard competition. He's doing the same thing to me.

"I just want one week to prove I am the free safety and that I belong here. I know about Kenoy Kennedy. I know about Steve Atwater. I know about Kenny Hamlin. Those are some great ones who have played free safety here. All those guys, I want a chance, just one week to prove I belong with those guys.

"I want to show Arkansas fans that they have another one like them. I'm here. They've been without for a few years. I want a chance, one week, to show that they don't have to worry about this spot any more."

Hewitt looks like an Atwater back in center field. He's 6-3 and 208 and looks bigger. Arkansas got a chance to sign him out of Alfred, N.Y., State when Purdue let him out of a commitment when he couldn't finish his JC work at midterm.

"That's what the Big Ten schools wanted, a mid-term transfer who could have been there in the spring, like John West was here," Hewitt said. "I had five Big Ten offers before they found out I wouldn't be a mid-term transfer. I'm just glad Arkansas brought me in on a visit and looked at my film. I'm so happy to be here."

Herring liked what he saw the first time he watched him work in the summer.

"I saw him jump to the front of our lines in our summer program, lead our team in running," Herring said. "He had a great work ethic when he got here. Sometimes you try to fake it. You hide in summer workouts. He didn't. He wanted to be in the front of the line and finish first. That's what our conditioning coaches told us.

"He's still working hard. I'm excited about the way he's competing. I'm telling you, we were desparate at safety. We were scratching and scratching to look at every recruiting list. One of our GAs found him on a list and he just fell in our laps, what a blessing. He's been a great blessing so far."

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