Hogs re­cruit sees light, starts to shine

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - RICHARD DAVEN­PORT

Coaches of­ten talk about the light com­ing on for a player when the ath­lete starts flour­ish­ing af­ter not fully reach­ing their po­ten­tial.

That could be said about the Arkansas’ foot­ball team’s new­est com­mit­ment, Mau­reese Wren of Mesquite (Texas) Horn.

Coach Mike Over­ton said Wren made him­self into a ma­jor-col­lege prospect when he be­came more ded­i­cated, and schol­ar­ship of­fers came from schools like Colorado, Bay­lor, Mis­souri, Wash­ing­ton and Utah.

“He was gifted, but he didn’t al­ways work hard,” Over­ton said. “I think this last year and a half the light kind of came on for him and the im­por­tance of com­mit­ting to work­ing hard and be­ing the best player and ath­lete you can be.”

Wren is slated to play out­side line­backer and pos­si­bly some re­ceiver in Fayet­teville. Over­ton said one of the joys is see­ing play­ers such as Wren ful­fill their po­ten­tial.

“I think for me to watch him go from be­ing so-so, not as com­mit­ted as you would like, to a guy re­ally com­mit­ted and work­ing hard and want­ing to be the best he can be, that’s a neat thing to see,” Over­ton said.

Over­ton said Wren, 6-4, 216 pounds, is a lik­able young man.

“He has a very easy dis­po­si­tion, good per­son­al­ity,” Over­ton said. “He’s never too up or too down. He usu­ally al­ways has a smile on his face.”


Arkansas Ra­zor­backs of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and quar­ter­back coach Dan Enos usu­ally only con­cerns him­self with Hog foot­ball re­cruit­ing. On Mon­day, he also be­came a St. Louis Univer­sity women’s bas­ket­ball fan af­ter his daugh­ter, Lia, com­mit­ted to play bas­ket­ball for the Bil­likens.

Enos, 5-10, chose the Bil­likens over schol­ar­ship of­fers from Western Michi­gan, Cen­tral Michi­gan, and Ten­nessee-Martin while draw­ing in­ter­est from Arkansas.

“’It was the best fit for me over­all aca­dem­i­cally, ath­let­i­cally, and so­cially,” Lia Enos said. “St. Louis Univer­sity has great academics, great coach­ing staff, and has an un­be­liev­able pro­gram.”

Lia Enos av­er­aged 20 points a game for Shiloh Chris­tian as a sopho­more and about 8 points a game for the Arkansas Ban­shees in spring and sum­mer bas­ket­ball. Be­cause her fa­ther is in the mid­dle of pre­sea­son camp, any cel­e­bra­tion of her pledge will have to wait.

“As soon as my dad gets time, we will def­i­nitely cel­e­brate,” Enos said.

Enos, who can play power for­ward or shoot­ing guard, said her fa­ther’s back­ground of be­ing a DI ath­lete and coach helped her know the im­por­tance of be­ing ded­i­cated and tough.

“He has helped me so much through the process,” said Enos, whose mother, Jane, played golf at South­ern Illi­nois. “He helped me work out, and al­ways en­cour­aged me to get out and have an ex­cel­lent work ethic. He’s a very tough guy and he has def­i­nitely in­stilled that in me as well. And fi­nally, he’s sup­port­ive, yet very hon­est with his crit­i­cism.”


Arkansas Hawks chair­man Bill In­gram has been coach­ing youth bas­ket­ball since 1998 and this year was the first time he moved a player up two age groups.

Guard Khalen Robin­son, 15, started off the spring with the 16-un­der Hawks, then moved up to the 17-un­der squad

“That’s pretty un­usual, but that’s af­ter we watched him work and watched his progress,” In­gram said. “He got a chance to prac­tice with those guys all the time. It was ob­vi­ous we needed to move him up.”

In­gram said he has no doubts Robin­son, 6-0, 160 pounds, is a ma­jor-col­lege prospect.

“When he played with our 16-year-old team, he dom­i­nated, but we needed him on our 17 team.” In­gram said. “It’s ob­vi­ous we think he’s a Power 5 player.”

Robin­son led Epis­co­pal Col­le­giate to the Class 3A state ti­tle as a fresh­man and was named the cham­pi­onship game’s Most Valu­able Player.

Be­cause the 17-un­der Hawks had three Arkansas Ra­zor­backs com­mit­ments, a Mis­sis­sippi State com­mit­ment and highly re­garded T.J. Moss, a guard with of­fers from the Hogs and oth­ers, Robin­son wasn’t asked to score much.

He av­er­aged 2.3 points, 1.8 re­bounds and an as­sist for the Hawks at the Adi­das Sum­mer Cham­pi­onships in Las Ve­gas last week. He had 6 points, 2 re­bounds and 2 steals in a 63-61 vic­tory over Exum Elite Utah in the event’s first game.

Arkansas, In­di­ana and Alabama are show­ing in­ter­est in Robin­son.

“It’s go­ing to help him big time next year,” In­gram said of mov­ing Robin­son up. “We talked to him and his par­ents, and that’s what they wanted.”

Email Richard Daven­port at rdav­en­port@arkansason­line.com


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