Dollarway senior Joshua Liddell signed his national letter of intent with the University of Arkansas on Wednesday inside the Dollarway Fieldhouse, marking the first time a player under head coach Cortez Lee has signed with the Razorbacks.
“It is huge,” Lee said. “It gives all the other young men who play sports here to see a model of a young man that exemplifies leadership.
“Josh works hard and has a great attitude. He is just a great example for all student-athletes here at Dollarway to strive for.”
As a senior, Liddell led Dollarway to an undefeated regular season and to the semifinals of the 4A state playoffs.
“I’m going to represent my school, my football team and my coaches,” Liddell said. “It means a lot to me and it is very special to me.”
Liddell said signing with Arkansas is a huge honor.
“I will be very humble about it and I will work hard to try to represent our school the best way I can,” Liddell said.
As quarterback for the Cardinals, Liddell rushed for 1,202 yards on 100 attempts with 21 touchdowns. He was also 44 of 58 passing for 1,237 yards with 15 touchdowns and one interception.
He was named The Commercial’s Southeast Arkansas Offensive Player of the Year and was a Landers Award Nominee.
Liddell said he chose Arkansas because of head coach Bret Bielema and his coaching staff.
“It is very big for me,” Liddell said. “… I loved the campus and I loved the atmosphere.
“I loved everything about it. It was truly an amazing thing. It made pretty good sense to me.”
Liddell had originally verbally committed to Arkansas State but changed his mind after receiving the scholarship offer from the Razorbacks. He had also received late interest from Boise State.
“It has been wild; been kind of crazy,” Liddell said referring to the process. “I picked up a few others late. I’m glad it is finally over with it. It has been crazy.”
After leading Arkansas State to its third straight Sun Belt conference championship, first-year coach Bryan Harsin left to take the head job at Boise State.
“I was happy for him and his family and it is a great opportunity for him,” Liddell said. “I was glad for him but at the same time, I was sad to see him leave.
“I was looking forward to going up there with him and him being my head coach.”
Liddell said Arkansas will start him off at the safety position.
“Once I get that under control, they might move me to offense,” Liddell said. “Maybe running back or a receiver.”
As a free safety for Dollarway, Liddell had 24 solo tackles, 21 assists and 11 pass break ups and three interceptions this past season.
Ento, Woodfork sign with Arkansas Tech
Also on Wednesday, Kabion Ento and Nicholas Woodfork signed their national letters of intent to play football at Arkansas Tech under head coach Raymond Monica.
“For these young men, they have accomplished a lot at Dollarway,” Lee said. “They have built a lot of friends and friendships and that is something that they will be able to carry on throughout their life.
“These are some special young men.”
Ento, who was named The Commercial’s Southeast Arkansas Defensive Player of the Year, led Dollarway’s defensive backfield with 32 solo tackles, 27 assists, six tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also had nine interceptions with three returned for touchdowns.
“When I went on my visit, I really enjoyed the campus and the coaches,” Ento said. “I believe it will be a good fit for me.”
Ento said being able to join Woodfork, his cousin, made the decision a little easier as well.
As a defensive tackle for the Cardinals, Woodfork had 70 solo tackles with 59 assists and 11 sacks. He also had 31 tackles for loss, a force fumble, a fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
“Knowing I’m going to a school where I’m going to get a good education,” Woodfork said. “That kind of factored into the decision, as well.”
Woodfork’s ultimate goal is to return to Dollarway and coach alongside Lee.
“I want to come back and lead them to a state championship,” Woodfork said.
Lee told Woodfork that if he didn’t have a program of his own, he would welcome him back with open arms.
“Nic works hard,” Lee said. “His effort and his energy shows up on film. He is just really a delight to coach.”
Cross assigned JUCO college
Fordyce senior Gary Cross signed with Hutchinson Community College in Kansas on Wednesday after being assigned the school by the University of Arkansas.
Last fall, Cross was all-state and was named the outstanding back for the 6-3A Conference. According to head coach Tim Rodgers, he would have played in the All-Star game if he hadn’t hurt his knee.
Cross had 52 tackles, two tackles for a loss, three interceptions, six pass deflections, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two defensive tackles.
He caught 27 passes for 604 yards with nine touchdowns. He also returned 12 punts for 310 yards with two touchdowns.
Fordyce made it to the second round of the 3A football playoffs before losing to eventual state runner-up Earle.