UCA spreads out to bring in 8 more

Posted: February 8, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Nathan Brown's new coaching staff spent a lot of time on the road to sign eight more players to the University of Central Arkansas football team, seven of which were out of state.

The Bears' recruiting class for 2018 expanded to 19 players on Wednesday's national signing day, and UCA's first-year head coach said he was "very excited" about the additions to the Conway campus.

Central Arkansas signees

PLAYER POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN/SCHOOL

Abbott Ashiofu DE 6-4 230 Sugar Land, Texas (Kempner High)

Alex Bridges OL 6-5 310 Tyler, Texas (Cisco [Texas] Community College)

Will Burgess OL 6-4 220 Hot Springs (Lake Hamilton)

Jon Campbell DT 6-1 285 Spring, Texas (Klein)

Dylan Desper OL 6-4 290 Madison, Miss. (Jones County [Miss.] Community College)

Austin Eldridge TE 6-3 240 Plant City, Fla. (Plant City)

Cameron Godfrey DB 6-0 175 Spring, Texas (Klein Collins High)

Jeremiah Gray DE 6-3 225 Dallas, Texas (Skyline High)

Demauryon Holmes OLB 6-2 200 Mansfield, Texas (Mansfield High)

Jaylin Hendrix OL 6-4 320 Everman, Texas (Everman High)

Jacob Ingram OL 6-3 305 West Monroe, La. (West Monroe)

Logan Jessup DL 6-3 270 Wynne (Wynne High)

Cameron Myers RB 6-1 200 Plant City, Fla. (Durant)

Imani Partlow CB 5-11 185 Orlando, Fla. (Jones High)

Alejandro Ramirez DL 6-2 300 Springdale (Har-Ber)

Bernie Smith WR 5-8 170 Spring, Texas (Klein Oak)

Duke Upshaw CB 6-0 180 Baldwyn, Miss. (East Mississippi Community College)

Taylor Wallace P 6-1 200 Jackson, Miss. (Jones County [Miss.] Community College)

Raleigh Wood LS 6-2 205 Grenada, Miss. (East Mississippi Community College)

BOLD represents Feb. signings

Brown, 31, a former UCA quarterback who served as an offensive assistant since 2009, was named head coach Dec. 9 -- two days after former coach Steve Campbell left for the head job at South Alabama.

Brown called the 11 signees on the Dec. 20 early signing deadline "a good starting point," and that group had just one defensive player.

Seven of the eight players on Wednesday's list were defensive players, including Wynne defensive end Logan Jessup, who chose the Bears over other offers such as Air Force, Louisiana-Monroe and Stephen F. Austin.

"We're fortunate enough to get [Jessup] to campus," Brown said. "We expect big things out of him early."

UCA also signed Damauryon Holmes, an outside linebacker from Mansfield, Texas, who Brown said was committed to Baylor four months ago.

Holmes had 163 tackles, 11 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 8 blocked punts and 2 blocked field goals for Mansfield High during the 2017 season, and he chose UCA over schools such as Tulane, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin.

"I hate pointing one [player] out over another," Brown said. "I'm excited about the whole class."

UCA is coming off a 10-2 season in which the Bears won their first Southland Conference championship since 2012. UCA lost 21-15 to New Hampshire in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Brown had 11 days to prepare a staff by December's early signing day, and afterward he and his coaching staff traveled from Texas to Florida to fill out the rest of the class.

Six of the eight new additions were from Texas, and one -- cornerback Imani Partlow -- was from Florida.

Partlow was the 124th-ranked cornerback in the nation, according to 247 Sports.

"Our recruiting footprint is probably as wide as anyone in our conference," Brown said.

Sports on 02/08/2018