LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Various athletes in Arkansas submitted their NLI last week on National Signing Day, but icy roads forced most schools to postpone their signing celebration. On Wednesday a number of schools saluted their star seniors by inviting family and teammates to watch them ceremoniously put pen to paper.
That includes three local state champions: 5A’s Little Rock Parkview which comes off their first state title in 44 years, 6A’s Pulaski Academy after wrapping up a state four-peat in a new class, and 7A’s Bryant making history with the state’s first five-peat. So which is more rewarding, state or signing?
“They’re both pretty special to me but I feel like with state it was more with my brothers,” Parkview’s Lincoln signee Isiah McKenzie said. “This is more of an individual thing so I’ll go with state.”
“Definitely the five-peat,” Bryant’s Arkansas Tech signee Tyler Mosley said. “It’s never been done in Arkansas history and I’m glad to have been part of history being made.”
“Winning a state championship is hard to beat,” Pulaski Academy’s Stanford signee Allen Thomason said. “When you’re going into a hostile environment with a group of guys who you truly count on every single day, there’s something special about that.”
Thomason signs with Stanford on a full ride while being the first ever offensive lineman to win Hooten Football’s 6A/7A Offensive Player of the Year. Other Bruins signing are wide receiver Jaylin McKinney with Ouachita Baptist and defensive lineman Romelo Bell with Appalachian State.
Six Parkview Patriots had pens in their hands today: Defensive back Chris Franklin to Tennessee-Martin, wide receiver Willie Eackles to Missouri Southern, defensive lineman Isiah McKenzie and defensive back Ramar Smith to Lincoln, DB Tavion Haney to Alcorn State, and running back Darrien Bennett to Coffeyville Junior College.
Finishing their career with Arkansas’ most prominent football dynasty, Bryant Hornets signing are defensive linemen Tyler Mosley with Arkansas Tech and Ivory Gilmore with Northeastern State, wide receiver Jordan Knox with SAU Tech to play baseball, and offensive lineman Lawson Hutchins with Southern Arkansas who follows footsteps of his grandfather and SAU hall of famer Jim Leonard.
“This is really special,” Bryant’s Northeastern State signee Ivory Gilmore said. “It was a bummer not being able to sign on actual Signing Day. But having everyone here, family and friends’ support, it’s amazing.”
See our story on the signing day at all three schools to hear from the players advancing their careers to the collegiate level.