FORT SMITH — Since Fort Smith Southside will be on break for the Christmas holidays during the early signing period Dec. 20-22 a ceremony was held for future Razorback offensive lineman Kobe Branham on Wednesday afternoon in the gymnasium with many relatives, friends and members of the student body present.
While his signing today isn’t official it did allow him to have a ceremony with several present. Branham, 6-foot-6, 320-pounds, will be an interior lineman for Cody Kennedy and the Razorbacks. He committed to the Hogs June 26 and never entertained any thought of not going there even as his future team struggled some.
“I put all my faith in Coach (Sam) Pittman and Coach Kennedy,” Branham said. “I know they know what they are doing. I trust them and that’s why I’m committed up there and I’m not leaving.”
Branham, like most Arkansas fans, was watching with excitement as the Razorbacks and Kenny Guiton defeated Florida 39-36 in overtime this past Saturday in The Swamp. It was Guiton’s first game as offensive coordinator and he impressed Branham.
“He did a great job for sure,” Branham said. “To be put in that position and go down there to Gainesville and do that that’s something a lot of people can’t do.”
Branham chose Arkansas over offers from such schools as Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, UNLV, Arkansas State, Memphis and others. On Wednesday he talked about what it means to be a Razorback.
“It means a lot,” Branham said. “I grew up a Razorback fan. To be able to go up there and play means a lot.”
Branham and Southside will begin the playoffs on Friday night when they travel across the state to take on Jonesboro. Southside will take a 6-4 record into the game.
“We’ve still got a lot of games ahead of us,” Branham said. “I think we’re going to make a good playoff run for sure. I think it’s been great.
“I think I (individually) did great. All the work I put in the offseason really paid off for sure.”
Branham talked about what he feels are his strengths as puts the finishing touches on his high school career before heading to Arkansas Jan. 12.
“My run blocking,” Branham said. “I finish my blocks really well. I’m pretty physical.”
Branham talked about what it meant for the school to have a ceremony for him with several in attendance even though as noted his signing today wasn’t official.
“No one is in school (Dec. 20-22),” Branham said. “I’m glad they came out to support for sure. It means a lot. I’m glad we can do something like this to get all the family members here and actually see me do it.”
Branham is named after Kobe Bryant, the former Lakers great. His father gave him the name.
“He was a big Kobe fan,” Branham said.
Branham is excited about the signing class Pittman and his staff are putting together. .
“We have a great class,” Branham said. “I think we’re going to be pretty dangerous next year.”
Branham attends all the Razorback home games and will be there Saturday when they take on Auburn at 3 p.m. despite a long trip to and from Jonesboro on Friday. He also plans to attend the FIU and Missouri games.