Heber Springs linebacker Braylon Mitchell was one of four University of Arkansas signees on the…
Just Kick It
One of the most watched players in Friday night's Arkansas Coaches Association All Star football game will likely only see a few plays in the contest.
But Russellville kicker/punter Zach Hocker (5-11, 170) is a young man who could have a significant impact next season for the University of Arkansas as a true freshman.
"Arkansas has told me that they are expecting me to come in next season and win the punting job and really make an impact," Hocker said. "I am working hard to make sure that happens."
Hocker is getting to live out a dream, but it was one that didn't look like it was going to happen.
"I'll be honest," Hocker said. "I was really disappointed that I didn't get an offer. I ended up committing to Arkansas State and I am sure I would have been very happy there. But it was a dream to play for the Razorbacks."
But when Shreveport Evangel punter Will Russ flipped from Arkansas to Texas, an offer came from the Razorbacks.
He actually learned about it while flying back from an official visit to Hawaii.
"It didn't look like it was going to work out for me and then all of a sudden it does," Hocker said. "It was hard to tell Arkansas State, but I had to follow that dream.
"I guess in the end it all worked out," Hocker said. "I got to visit some great schools, got a trip to Hawaii and most importantly, I am getting to be a Razorback."
Hocker was actually named the state's defensive player of the year by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette because of his kickoffs and punts forcing Russellville's foes into long fields.
He averaged 45 yards per punt as a senior with a long boot of 65 and also downing14 punts inside the 20 yard line.
He had 61 kickoff with 58 of them being touchbacks, was 32-of-33 on extra points and 15 of 23 on field goals with a long of 52.
Arkansas signed both Hocker and Cedar Hill (Texas) High kicker Eddie Camara.
"Eddie is a great kicker," Hocker said. "Right now Arkansas is telling me I would come in and concentrate on punting and also maybe work on kicking off and he is going to work on field goals and extra points. That way we both can focus on just a couple of things."
Hocker is slated to punt in tonight's game.
"I have been working out and kicking and just trying to get ready for this game and the season," Hocker said. "I want to make the most of it. I want to get up there, work hard, listen to the coaches and just be very prepared."