Arkansas’ long, hot summer is longer and hotter than most, which makes waiting for Red Wolves sports to heat up in Autumn mental and spiritual torture. What can sustain us? ESPN’s gooey coverage of Aaron Judge? Or tennis? TENNIS?!
Of course not tennis. We’re not cretins. Until the Red Wolves report for football, volleyball and soccer this summer, we’re consigned to daydreaming on what could be – and identifying the athletes who could be leading A-State to victory in 2022-23.
Derrian Ford, Guard, M Basketball
A four-star recruit and a two-time McDonald’s All-American nominee, Ford arrives to Jonesboro after spending a freshman year at uOFa. The native of Magnolia is the crown jewel of new head coach Bryan Hodgson’s efforts to build A-State men’s basketball into a Sun Belt contender.
Wynter Rogers, Guard, W Basketball
Wynter, the sister of head women’s basketball coach Destinee Rogers, didn’t see any minutes at West Virginia (she redshirted), but she was rated as a four-star prospect by Prospects Nation and averaged 19 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game during her three-year career at Little Rock Christian Academy. Put her on a starting five with SBC Newcomer of the Year Izzy Higginbottom and Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Lauryn Pendleton and you have a team that makes noise in the SBC.
Jacob Bayer, C, Football
It’s not often with a football center becomes a reason for excitement, but the mullet-bearing Jacob Bayer, a 6’3″, 3-5 pound junior transfer from Lamar, has reportedly become the anchor of the offensive line – and the key to developing a unit finally adroit at providing pass protection and run lanes.
Miles Thomas and Danarrian Ard, Sprinters, Track & Field
As freshman, Thomas and Ard dazzled at the Sun Belt Track & Field Championship, finishing gold and silver in Men’s 100 by delivering top-ten all time school speeds. The medals are just gonna pile up for these incoming sophomores.
Freddy Hicks Jr., F/G, M Basketball
After averaging 16 points a six rebounds for Tarleton last year, Red Wolves legacy Freddy Hicks Junior arrives to Jonesboro as another coup transfer for new head coach Bryan Hodgson. Fans will remember that Freddy’s father played for the 1999 A-State team that made the program’s first and only NCAA tournament appearance. Does Junior have the talent to lead the Red Wolves back to the Dance?
Brooklyn Buchanan, Bowling
The 2022 NCAA National Bowling Championship game was disappointing for Arkansas State, but also a classic display of bowling, highlighted by sophomore Brooklyn Buchanan, a strike given human form. Much of the 2023 runners-up team returns in 2024, with Buchanan leading the lanes.
Corey Rucker, WR, Football
Before transferring to South Carolina, Rucker was headed for a legendary career at Arkansas State with 14 receiving TDs and 1,200 receiving yards in two seasons. Now Rucker is back in Jonesboro, and he looks to be all business, feeding off fellow receiver Jeff Foreman in the Spring Game. Let’s hope he picks up where he left off.
Rahel Broemmel, Distance Runner, Track & Field
Every season, Coach Jim Patchell delivers another dominating track star to watch – seemingly in a new event. This upcoming season, keep an eye on Broemmel, who competes in the 1500 and 800 meters and came second to A-State legend Pauline Meyers in the 1500M at the 2023 Sun Belt Tournament – as a freshman.
Keyron Crawford, DE, Football
The Red Wolves have a solid history for producing outstanding Sun Belt defensive ends – William Bradley-King, Chris Stone, Ronheen Bingham, and JaVon Rolland-Jones are a few who have terrorized SBC quarterbacks. Keyron Crawford, the 6’4″ 240 pound sophomore from Memphis may be the program’s next Sack Monster. Measuring nearly identical to Bradley-King (drafted by the Commanders in 2021) but taller than Bingham and Rolland-Jones Crawford bears the look of a great A-State defensive end. Also, dude looked like a cyclone this Spring.
Colby Eddowes, Multi-Events, Track & Field
Eddowes was named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year after scoring a conference-record and school-record 5,805 points in the heptathlon, ranking 17th nationally and the top freshman in the NCAA. During the SBC Outdoor Championships, the gifted Australian won the decathlon and set both meet and facility records in the process, tallying 7,349 points.
Dominick Zvada, K, Football
The only Red Wolf named to the Athlon’s Preseason All Sun Belt First Team, Dominick Zvada projects to be a key weapon in Butch Jones’ armory. In his freshman season, Zvada’s only miss was a 56-yarder into the wind. He nailed his next attempt – also a 56-yarder. The 6’3″ sophomore from Arizona had plenty of opportunity to take is leg to a bigger program, but Jonesboro is Dom’s home.
PHOTO CREDITS: A little bit of me, a little bit of Arkansas State Athletics