Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas pledge Montaric Brown, Ashdown hoping for special season
FAYETTEVILLE In large part because of safety Montaric Brown being tabbed the state’s top 2017 player and getting offers from Arkansas, Alabama, LSU and host of others, Ashdown has been one of the more talked about Arkansas high school teams of the off-season.
Brown, who committed to the Razorbacks on July 28th, and the Panthers will finally get the 2016 season underway Friday night when they visit Monticello.
“It’s finally time to play football,” Ashdown head coach Matt Richardson said. “There’s been a lot of excitement around here, especially with everything going on with Montaric, but now it is about actually playing football and we are all excited about that.”
Brown (6-1, 180, 4.4) is coming off a junior season in which he had 122 tackles and 5 interceptions, the first three of which he took back for touchdowns.
“He may not have those same type stats this season because I don’t think anyone is going to try and throw his way and they are going to run away from his side.
“But we have some other good defensive players like (junior) LaDarius Bishop and (senior) Tajhnick Bishop so it is not going to be easy to go to that side either.
“But he will still have a lot of opportunities to impact games because he is also going to play wide receiver and is going to return both punts and kickoffs.
“I know he is ready to get the season going. We all are.”
Richardson, who was on the junior college staff at Blinn, Texas, College when current NFL quarterback Cam Newton was there, noted that Brown is the same young man despite all the attention he has received in the past few months.
“I think it was very exciting for him, exciting for our team and our community to have that attention, but he has remained the same old Montaric,” Richardson said. “He is a great kid, someone who wants to do the right thing all the time, whether it is or off the field.”
Ashdown also has a talented junior quarterback in Jaden Hill (6-3, 200), who already has an offer from the Arkansas basketball program.
The Panthers were 9-4 last season with those four losses coming to teams that were 45-9 last season.
With six returning starters on both sides of the ball, Ashdown has one big goal this season.
“We want to win the 15th game of the year and the state championship,” Richardson said. “I don’t care if that makes us 15-0 or 8-7. We want to win the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th game of the season.
“That’s our goal and it is one that I think we can accomplish if we continue to work and play together.”
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