By John R. Schirmer
Scrapper senior Dalton Brown signed a national letter-of-intent Wednesday, Dec. 16, to play football at the University of Central Arkansas. Brown, an offensive lineman, earlier made a verbal commitment to UCA.
Athletic Director James “Bunch” Nichols said it’s one of his favorite times “when one of our own go to the next level. Dalton has a bright career ahead.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” Nichols said during the signing ceremony in the NHS cafeteria. “I wish him the best of luck.”
Nichols gave Brown a traditional Nashville pen with “Once a Scrapper” on the case and “Always a Scrapper” inscribed on the pen.
Coach Mike Volarvich spoke before Brown signed. “A bunch of guys all across the nation are doing this today. It’s a big decision. Other than your faith, it’s probably the first grown-up big decision to make on your own.”
Only five offensive linemen from Nashville have signed with a D-1 school, Volarvich said. Brown is one of only eight Scrappers ever to sign at a D-1 institution. “That’s a pretty special group to be in.”
Players must have “certain measurables” to play D-1 football, Volarvich said. Early in his high school career, Brown told Volarvich of goal to play at that level.
“At the time, he weighed 250 pounds. There are no 250-pound offensive linemen in D-1,” Volarvich said. “In one year’s time, counting the four months we weren’t up here because of Covid, he went from 256 pounds to 303. He went from benching 225 pounds to 310. That takes a lot of dedication, a lot of want-to. He had to do it on his own. There’s not somebody pushing you during a pandemic. We’re proud of you,” he told Brown.
Offensive line Coach Wade Matlock said Brown graded as the highest O-lineman every week. He said Brown scored 27 on the ACT. “He’s a very cerebral football player.”
Brown “exemplifies his family. He exemplifies his football team. He’ll leave a void that’s hard to fill,” Matlock said.