The Recruiting Guy:

Last games at Greenwood impacting Noland

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Greenwood quarterback Connor Noland throws a pass during a game against Alma on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Alma.
Photo by Mark Stallings
Greenwood quarterback Connor Noland throws a pass during a game against Alma on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Alma.

The realization that his high school career is coming to an end is starting to affect Arkansas quarterback commit Connor Noland.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Noland said. “I looked at it yesterday and was like, ‘Dang we’ve already played six games,’ and it’s kind of hit me hard, but we’re playing each game like it’s our last and having fun.”

With his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents being graduates of Greenwood, it was only natural Noland and his older brother, Peyton, would attend school there, too. In order to do so, both moved to Greenwood from Bishop Manogue Catholic in Reno, Nev., in December 2014 to live with their grandparents.

Noland split time with Luke Hales as a sophomore before becoming the starter as a junior. Greenwood has seven state titles and Noland hopes to add an eighth this season.

“There’s a lot of tradition at Greenwood, and obviously I just want to carry on that tradition,” Noland said. “There’s a lot of state championships and a lot of stuff going on, so I’m just trying to do my part and leave a legacy for some other guys that are younger.”

Coach Rick Jones has led the Bulldogs to six of the seven state titles since arriving in Greenwood in 2004. During that time he has produced six Division I quarterbacks, including former Arkansas starter Tyler Wilson.

Jones said Noland has "a little bit of all" of his past quarterbacks.

“He can make any throw sideline-to-sideline and he can make people miss," Jones said. "He can really run. That’s the thing that’s really exciting about him. He can really run.”

Jones gives Noland a lot of freedom with an offense that features a run-pass option on most plays.

“We tell him if we call something you don’t like, look over at the sideline and we’ll change it,” Jones said. “We’re good with that.”

Noland has completed 98 of 146 passes for 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns for the 7-0 Bulldogs, while throwing only 4 interceptions. He’s also has rushed 42 times for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He calls Jones a “perfectionist."

“I think that’s what makes him great,” Noland said. “He’s a grinder. Sometimes I’ll come back, and it’s 12 at night, and he’s still there watching film. He’s always there.”

Jones pushes Noland on and off the field.

“He’s made me into the person I am,” Noland said. “He’s obviously taught me football, but off the field a lot, too.”

Noland and the other Arkansas commitments often communicate through a group texts. While Arkansas’ record of 2-4 isn’t what the commitments and fans expected, Noland said he and the other pledges are staying positive.

“It’s going good,” Noland said. “We’re just saying, ‘Hey, we’re the change, and we’re going to come in here and we’re going to try and make a difference and be positive.'"

Being the first commitment of the 2018 class, Noland sees himself as the leader of the class and takes the role seriously.

“You want to be that strong person," Noland said, "and I’m just doing my best to lead those guys and be like, ‘Hey it’s a tough year. Obviously, it’s not going the way they want, but we’re going to stay strong and we’re going to be that change.'"

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