Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
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Dad’s drive helps DeWitt TE pick up UA offer
The latest 2022 in-state prospect to receive a scholarship offer from University of Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman has a special relationship with his coach.
DeWitt junior tight end Dax Courtney, who received an offer from the Hogs on Tuesday, is the son of DeWitt head Coach Mark Courtney. His oldest son, Seth, was the starting quarterback for the Dragons last season and will join Arkansas State University as a preferred walk-on this summer.
“It’s a very good experience,” Mark Courtney said of coaching his sons. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I have to hold them to a higher standard. With parents nowadays, you don’t want them to think you’re showing any favoritism.”
Dax and Seth have been raised around football since an early age.
“There’s people in the world that think they’re getting this … because it’s the coach’s kid,” Mark Courtney said. “They don’t understand that Seth and Dax, since the time they were 3 years old, have been at the fieldhouse with me every day. They’ve been working out with 17-, 18-year-old kids since they were 5 and 6.
“At 10 o’clock at night, they want to throw, we go throw. These kids are different. I mean, they’ve worked their butts off and a few people can’t see that.”
Dax had 36 receptions for 623 yards and 7 touchdowns, and 3 rushes for 16 yards as a sophomore. Seth completed 177 of 332 passes for 2,682 yards and 25 touchdowns, and rushed 107 times for 639 yards and 9 touchdowns last year.
The brothers were sponges while growing up around the game, which helped maximize their potential.
“I’m blessed to have kids that took all that in and never asked why, but they sit there and listen to it and basically said, ‘Look, we’re not going to waste any of our talent, we’re going to get everything out of our body that we can get out of it,’ ” Mark Courtney said.
Courtney and his staff have seen players fall short of their potential because they didn’t take to coaching. His sons witnessed those cases and have used it to their advantage.
“They always wanted to get better,” Courtney said. “A lot of that is because they’ve been in the coaches’ office for 17 years, and they’ve seen a lot of wasted talent over the years.”
Teammates notice Courtney is hard on his sons and hold them accountable.
“My oldest one said his buddies feel bad for him at times,” Courtney said. “If I expect my entire team to act a certain way and conduct themselves a certain way, then my kids are … going to do it, almost to an extreme.”
Courtney chuckled when recalling a game last season when he had to play peacemaker between Seth and Dax.
“Seth was mad at Dax because he busted a route or something, and I tried to smooth it out,” Courtney said. “Then I get mad, so all three of us are sitting there looking like fools, and then I finally have to end up giving them the business and calm them down. Then those two look at each other and say, ‘Why is dad so mad?’ It was like the three stooges.”
Dax Courtney, 6-6, 210 pounds, also has offers from TCU, Kansas, Baylor, Memphis, North Texas, Arkansas State, Kansas State and Tulane.
The elder Courtney came away impressed with Pittman during their conversation Tuesday.
“They weren’t the first obviously, but they’ve done their homework the last week or so, basically trying to find flaws,” Courtney said. “As a coach, that’s what you have to do. He said what they came up with on Dax was that he was light. He said we can always put weight on people.”
Living in Arkansas makes the offer that much more special for the family.
“When Dax and Seth were 3 and 4, they could sing the Arkansas fight song, and can still sing it,” Courtney said. “It’s an honor to get offered in state. That’s what every Arkansas kid that plays football wants.”
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