About 15 minutes after the University of Arkansas' football scrimmage Saturday night, Razorback junior college transfer Matt Hewitt still had his game-face on even while doing interviews.
He was doing them with the same type intensity that he brought to the field on Saturday nigh when he had six tackles, three pass break ups and two interceptions to lead his new team in all of those categories.
Hewitt (6-3, 208), who was a star last season at Alfred State Community College and was a player that Arkansas got on late, was also making it clear that he is thinking big and wants one day to be mentioned along with the UA's great safeties of the past.
"I want to be a part of that legacy - Ken Hamlin, Steve Atwater, all those guys that came out of this program," Hewitt said. "I don't want to be good. I want to be great."
Hewitt certainly got off on the right foot with the fans on Saturday night by picking off the two passes and causing havoc as he continues to compete with fellow junior Michael Grant for the starting free safety spot.
Hewitt, whose brother Chris played four years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, likes that fact that secondary coach Louis Campbell and graduate assistant James Arthur are riding him hard.
"It feels great," Hewitt said. "I just like playing football. I step on the field and I am ready to play ball and have no excuses. At times, I have bad practice habits and I have got to get out of that way, but I am going to keep constantly working hard. I am happy that Coach Campbell and Coach Arthur are pushing on me and are real picky at what I do. I thank them a lot for what they do for me and look what happens - I had two interceptions because of the way they critiqued me."
He said those two coaches have brought him a long way in a week.
"Working on my T-step, breaking on the ball faster, working on my hips, reading the guards and the centers and how they play when it is a run or pass - those are the type situations where they have really helped me."
Hewitt led Alfred State with 87 tackles last season - an average of 10.9 per game that led the Northeast Football Conference - and says he did so by being intense on every play.
"People say I don't really smile that much, but what can I say," Hewitt said. "I am out here to take care of business and you have got to do a lot of things to make me smile. I am the type of person who has a game face every day, all day."
Ironically before new Arkansas assistant Alex Wood got on him, Hewitt knew the sum total of one Razorback.
"I didn't really follow too much about Arkansas football," Hewitt said. "I am from all way up north in Inglewood, New Jersey. As you know, I am a big Rutgers University fan and I follow them a lot.
"The only thing I heard about Arkansas was quarterback Matt Jones when he ran in the NFL combine," Hewitt said. "I saw how fast he was and said whoever is training him to be fast like that, I need to work with him. And look where I ended up - at Arkansas."
UA defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, who bumped Hewitt ahead of first-teamer Michael Grant earlier this week, likes what he has seen.
"...What you saw tonight with Matt Hewitt is a taste of what we have been looking at during two-a-days and what he does is give us depth and he will play and he gives us a competitive chance there," Herring said.
"That is what you are always working for - depth and competition," Herring said. "That is what you need at every program. What was a weak and suspect position going into it is shaping up as a pretty solid position now because they are playing their dues and concentrating and they are committed to getting better each day."
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