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 prospects get kick out of specialists camp
Rhett Thurman, Colby Steed
FAYETTEVILLE Specialists from over 14 states got a chance to display their talents in front of Razorback coaches last weekend, including several 2020 prospects from Arkansas.
Glen Rose’s Colby Steed, Cabot’s Rhett Thurman and Conway’s Will Hogue were among some of the top in-state prospects at the event.
Hogue won the field goal competition, Thurman was second in kickoffs and Steed's consistency got him honored as one of the day’s best overall performers.
Thurman was pleased with the event that was headed up this season by Daniel Da Prato, the Razorbacks’ Special Teams Quality Control Coach.
“It was amazing,” Thurman said. “There were a lot of good guys here and competition here. It was just as if you were at one of the nationally-ranked camps with the amount of great competition here.
“The new guys are amazing. Coach Da Prato made it a lot of fun and there was a lot of great competition. They also really get to know you as a person.”
Steed was also pleased about this year’s camp and felt it was much improved.
“It was a lot better than last year,” Steed said. “There was a lot of hands-on instruction from coaches and players coming out and teaching us stuff. It was great.”
Hogue was 11-of-15 on field goals with a long of 46, 52-of-53 on his PATs while 16 of his 70 kickoffs were touchbacks.
Steed was 8-of-11 on field goals, 31-of-33 PATs and had a 33.8 punt average.
His standout game was against Mayflower where he was perfect on four field goals from 42, 47, 48 and 49.
“I worked on kickoffs and thanks to one of the players that helped me with my steps, I am now bombing them,” Steed said.
Steed, who also had 22 rushes for over 100 yards and a catch last season, knows that a small percentage of kickers gets scholarships.
“As of right now, I am open to any school and would like to get an offer, which would be the best thing, but I am open to getting a shot any way it comes about,” Steed said. “Arkansas is obviously tops on my list. I was actually born up here and just want to come back.”
Thurman felt good about his overall day except for one boot.
“Kickoffs today were really good for me and I finished second and was just out of the final in punting,” Thurman said. “I had just one bad ball and that was at the wrong time.
“Transitioning to the ground has gone pretty good for me with field goals. I am a lot more reliable there.
“I didn’t get to kick field goals last year because we had a great guy (Mason Martin) ahead of me that is going to Ouachita Baptist. He kicked the extra points and field goals and I kicked off and punted.”
Thurman, who averaged 38 yards a punt, is traveling a lot to get exposure.
“In the next two weeks, I will be going to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis and Mississippi State because those are the ones that I really like," Thurman said. "But obviously Arkansas is up at the top because it is my home state.””
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