The city of Springdale has produced several division-one football recruits in the last five years with the class of 2011 being no different. The city, located in the northwest corner of the natural state, is home to three high schools. Each one of these schools boasts quality football programs with none of them having distinct bragging rights at the moment. That is due to the fact t hat each school proudly has an All-American on their roster.
Smothers is Springdale’s New Star
Springdale High School is likely most famous for the “Springdale Five”, a group of seniors who became the state’s most highly recruited teammates of all time. That group, coached by current Auburn offensive-coordinator Gus Malzahn, sent four recruits to Arkansas and one to Notre Dame. Two of the Razorbacks transferred to Southern Cal after their freshman season. That group was followed by players signing with Arkansas (Alex Tejada), North Carolina (Zach Pianalto), and Mississippi State (Jamie Jones). The school has no doubt been a consistent producer of talent and this year, recruiters are headed to the Bulldog campus to see offensive lineman Mitch Smothers.
The 6-foot-4, 290 pounder is hearing from schools across the country. Arkansas, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State are among the ten offers that the offensive lineman has accumulated. Smothers will be spending his New Year’s in Florida, taking part in the 2011 Under Armour All-American game. The game, which will air live on ESPN, is quickly becoming the elite all-star event in the country.
“At first I was really surprised about being selected.” Smothers said. “As for my recruitment, I think being an all-American may open the eyes of a few schools who were not recruiting me before.”
Smother’s has a solid list of options, but is in no hurry at this time to make his decision.
“I am interested in any school that is interested in me.” Smothers said. “I’ll probably start narrowing things down sometime during the summer.”
Frazier Making His Case
Shiloh Christian Academy (Springdale, Ark.) has been producing record setting quarterbacks for over a decade. However, none of them may have been as talented as junior Kiehl Frazier. The Saint’s have won six state championships since 1998 and some are considering the Saints to be the top team in the state for the 2010 season. Shiloh Christian may not have the alum that Springdale High does, but no doubt has produced quality talent, sending players to Arkansas, Auburn, and Kansas State among others in the last five years. The Saints finished last season ranked #23 in the final USA Today Top 25 poll.
Frazier, 6-foot-3/210 pounds, will be joining Smothers in the Sunshine State as he to has been selected to compete in the Under Armour game. The Saint’s signal caller is sitting at 26 offers and when all said and done may be the state’s most highly recruited player ever. Frazier is one of six quarterbacks to be selected for the all-star game taking place in Saint Petersburg, Fla.
“It’s a real honor to be selected for the game.” Frazier said. “I’ve spoken with a few guys that were down there last year and they really enjoyed it.”
Accompanying Kiehl Frazier will be his head coach Josh Floyd, who has been selected an assistant coach for the game. Both are looking forward to getting that one last chance to work together.
“That’s really big for me, not only is he my coach but he’s a real mentor to me.”
Cook is Har-Ber’s Big Leader
Springdale Har-Ber High School was formed in 2006 and offensive lineman Brey Cook is giving college coaches a reason to check out the new campus in town. Last year the Wildcats star player was safety Houston Pruitt. Despite picking up offers in football, Pruitt ended up signing with the University of Arkansas to play baseball. Razorback fans are hoping that Cook decides to follow his former teammate.
The 6-foot-7,310 pounder is widely considered to be the state’s top prospect. The offensive tackle is closing in on 20 offers and will likely be considered for honors as the nation’s top offensive lineman. Cook too, will be participating in the Under Armour game. Cook is the first All-American selection for Har-Ber High School.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Cook said. “I can not wait to make the trip and see some of the top players from around country. I’m excited to compete with those guys.”
Cook believes the students in Springdale really make the rivalry between the three schools intense. He also believes the three selections to the Under Armour game can benefit Springdale’s future athletes.
“It’s awesome to have this much in talent in Northwest Arkansas. Hopefully, this group will show colleges that this city has players who are ready to compete at the next level.”
Springdale Making a Case
In general, the state of Arkansas is not a normal hotbed for college recruiters. There are always capable players in the state, but not the depth for college coaches to put a great emphasis such as the case with other states across the south. Cities across the Natural State, such as Little Rock and Pine Bluff, have always put out quality athletes. Springdale, however, is quickly becoming an All-American city. With the selections official, no doubt that Mitch Smothers, Kiehl Frazier and Brey Cook are all All-American talents.
Photo courtesy of Natasha Tucker