Colquitt rewarded for his leap of faith

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Saturday, August 23, 2014
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STATON BREIDENTHAL --8/27/13-- Pulaski Academy's Tyler Colquitt runs the ball during a scrimmage against Fayetteville.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STATON BREIDENTHAL --8/27/13-- Pulaski Academy's Tyler Colquitt runs the ball during a scrimmage against Fayetteville.

The 24th and final in a series profiling newcomers on the 2014 Arkansas Razorbacks football team.

Tyler Colquitt turned down several scholarship offers to walk on at Arkansas in hopes of earning one sometime in the future.

It turns out the future is now after Arkansas gave the fullback a scholarship less than a month after he reported in June to Fayetteville.

“It was a blessing from God,” Colquitt said. “I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never been so excited in my life. It was definitely one of the biggest days of my life.”

Colquitt was a member of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps team as a senior at Pulaski Academy, where he played linebacker and running back. He recorded 74 unassisted tackles, 29 assisted tackles, 3 sacks and 2 interceptions, and rushed 38 times for 374 yards and 7 touchdowns with 9 receptions for 178 yards and 1 touchdown.

Colquitt, a four-year starter for the Bruins, was the the team’s leading tackler as a freshman with 155 and in 2011 was the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All-Metro Sophomore of the Year.

“Tyler is a kid that won’t be the fastest or biggest but has something greater. He is relentless and tough,” Pulaski Academy Coach Kevin Kelley said Colquitt, 5-11, 245 pounds, 4.6 in the 40. “He is a fantastic football player, leader and young man. He will give the Razorbacks all they want on and off the field.”

Colquitt had scholarship offers from the University of Central Arkansas and Murray State and was orally committed to UCA before he took a gamble and joined the Razorbacks.

“It was definitely difficult because people were questioning me,” he said. “Why would you give up free school and going out on a limb like that? It was definitely tough, especially with UCA, because I was committed to them. Calling them the day before signing day was definitely a rough deal.”

Arkansas was high on Colquitt and worked hard to get him to be a Razorback. Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema, tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and running backs coach Joel Thomas were all involved in his recruiting.

“It was just one of those things where I talked to Coach B and had a long conversation before I made my decision,” Colquitt said. “He just gave me a lot of hope going into it thinking I could earn a scholarship.”

Thomas has been impressed with Colquitt’s football aptitude.

“He’s done a great job of grasping the playbook,” Thomas said. “He’s not afraid to get in there and show a little physicality.”

Thomas said Colquitt reminds him of former fullback Kiero Small.

“I think he has it,” Thomas said. “He’s a heavy guy, and when I say heavy, I’m meaning he has some density to him but he’s light on his fee. That’s something Kiero was. He’s very thick, very dense, but he had quick feet. He could come very easily and position himself correctly and obviously snap on people and block.”

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Colquitt said he and Bielema were having a “normal conversation” when Bielema sprung the news that he was putting Colquitt on scholarship.

“I was just jumping up and down,” he said.

Colquitt said he called his parents and told them the news while still soaking in the reality of being on scholarship.

“They were really excited,” Colquitt said. “I didn’t know what to think, to be honest. I just came in and worked hard, did everything right, did everything I could do. I showed up early, left late, and I guess that got it done.”

Colquitt said that he is still getting used to walking into the locker room and knowing he’s a scholarship Razorback.

“Every day I come in here, I’m just, wow,” Colquitt said. “I can’t believe this is real, and it still hasn’t fully hit me yet.

“It’s every kid’s dream to grow up and play for the Razorbacks.”