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Three Hornets sign to play football

February 8, 2012

Bryant senior cornerback/receiver Dillion Winfrey signed with Central Arkansas. Winfrey had trouble fighting back the tears, as he gave an emotional speech following the signing. NATE OLSON/Special to the Courier

BRYANT – Three Bryant football players signed college letters of intent Wednesday on National Signing Day, but delayed their party until Friday.
“These guys are smart,” Bryant coach Paul Calley said. “They came to me and asked if they could have their party on Friday, so all of the media would come out.”

Receiver/defensive back Dillion Winfrey signed with Central Arkansas, linebacker Marshall Everett inked with Arkansas-Monticello and running back Karon Dismuke signed with Southern Arkansas.

Winfrey, an all-stater and VYPE All-Arkansas selection, couldn’t contain his emotions. As he sat down on the auditorium stage to be recognized, tears flowed down his cheeks. Calley talked about how UCA Coach Clint Conque saw the 5-foot-7, 145-pounder play against his son, Catholic quarterback Zach Conque and was impressed. Later in the fall, UCA offered a scholarship.

The news was a relief to Winfrey, who desperately wanted to play at the Division I level. Winfrey took a visit to Arkansas State, and former coach Hugh Freeze and his staff determined he was too small. That was a crushing blow to Winfrey, who also had offers from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Harding and Henderson State.

“I told God if he could help me get a Division I scholarship, I’d put it on ‘Tebow Status’ and give Him all of the glory and make him look good,” he told the crowd assembled.

Winfrey barely composed himself, and had to pause briefly during his short speech. He was the only one of the three players who spoke. Calley said Winfrey had asked for the time, and he granted it.

Winfrey proved he was a top-flight player on the field starting at receiver and defensive back for the Hornets, who finished 8-3. Winfrey, a Landers Award finalist, had 68 tackles and three interceptions last fall.

“[Conque] said he could play right away in the return game. When he gets there they might have him playing both ways like he did for us.”
Everett, a transfer from Pulaski Robinson, proved to be a valuable addition to the Hornets defense, as he racked up nearly 90 tackles from his middle linebacker spot last fall. Everett also filled in at defensive end for a game.

“He was a leader for us in the weight room and on the field,” Calley said. “He called the plays for us on defense and did a good job.

UAM started showing heavy interest in the 6-0, 220-pounder after he attended camp there last summer. Ouachita Baptist also showed interest, and UCA invited him to walk on,  Everett chose the Boll Weevils.

“(UAM) was recruiting me from the beginning, and they stuck with me,” said Everett, who was an all-conference two-way player at Robison.” They told me I was their top linebacker, and I think it was a good fit.

“It is unbelievable, I didn’t know if I would make it here, so I just want to give God all the glory.”

Dismuke may have been one of the more underrated running backs in the state. SAU coach Bill Keopple told Calley he watched film of  running backs from four states and was the most impressed with Dismuke.

The former Texarkana High coach said Dismuke reminded him of his former star player Dennis Johnson, who is a University of Arkansas starter.
“That’s a big honor for [Keopple] to say something like that,” Dismuke said. “Im just happy to have the opportunity.”

Calley said Dismuke could be as good as former Bryant running back Chris Rycraw, now at Ouachita Baptist, if he applies himself.

“If he is focused, works hard in the classroom and on the field he could be one of the best running backs in Division II,” Calley said.

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