FAYETTEVILLE — Little Rock Parkview head football coach Brad Bolding is rebuilding a program that once was considered among the state’s elite.
Bolding took over a Parkview program that was reeling, but it appears they are now on the verge of returning to among the elite teams in Arkansas. The Patriots were 4-6 last fall, but four of the losses could have easily gone the other way. They lost to Springdale 24-21, Maumelle 35-28, Watson Chapel 44-40 and White Hall 28-27. The only two teams to beat them handily were Little Rock Christian 56-28 and Pulaski Academy 68-34. That pair of schools beat most teams handily.
Parkview has four players who hold an offer from Arkansas. They are 2021 quarterback Landon Rogers, 6-5, 215 (Committed); 2021 tight end Erin Outley, 6-4, 237; 2022 running back James Jointer, 6-0, 201; and 2023 running back Darien Bennett, 6-1, 215. All but Bennett have multiple offers and those will come for him since he’s just going into his sophomore season.
Others at Parkview who appear to be on the verge of gaining plenty of college attention are 2021 center Jared Summons, 6-4, 290 (brother of Bobby Portis), 2022 athlete Trent Bennett, 6-1 1/2, 205; and 2022 safety Jaylon “Trip” White, 6-4, 195. White also serves as the backup quarterback to Rogers.
Rogers committed to the Razorbacks on April 16 which was also the day he was offered. As a junior, Rogers completed 99 of 182 passes for 1,661 yards, 19 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 93 times for 584 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“The biggest thing for Landon is he’s a student of the game,” Bolding said. “Coach (Clay) Bemberg, my offensive coordinator, has done a great job with him. Then of course Clint Stoerner has been working with him since the start of the ninth grade. All of those different folks that have really been able to work with the mechanic part of the game have really, really helped him. He has a ceiling that is way up there.
“I coached against Matt Jones. Matt Jones was a tremendous athlete. Landon has got a lot of those same skills and ability. He can run and jump. The thing about Landon is I think he’s farther along is just his throwing mechanics. Matt had some elite speed. Landon is in the 4.5 range and gonna get faster, but I think where he makes up ground is he’s able to throw the ball so well. He has great arm. The biggest thing is, and I have told Arkansas, as long he’s going into a system where they will continue to coach him his future I think he can even beyond college.”
As a junior, Outley caught 48 passes for 721 yards and eight touchdowns. He holds over 20 offers, but on May 31 narrowed his list down to 10 schools. The 10 are Arkansas, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
“I think he fits that mold of a lot of previous tight ends Arkansas has had,” Bolding said. “The thing with him is he’s a tremendous blocker. Obviously if you are an elite tight end you’ve got to be able to catch the ball and do something with it after you catch it. But I think the thing that sets him apart from many of them is he can block. He can put his hand down on the ground and block. He can get out in space and block little defensive back. He’s just really good on that part of it.
“He reminds me a lot of D.J. Williams when it comes to working to get open. Working areas, working routes, working zones, getting off of man coverage, being physical and using your body, positioning your body to catch the football. When you look at his highlights you see a lot of that. Those are some of the biggest pluses for him. He’s gonna flourish on the next level too just getting into good nutrition program. Just what they do with those little bars and stuff they’ve got in the weight room where they know what they need to put in their body to get the best results. Those are things that will help all my kids and really anybody that goes in there. I think that goes without saying. He will just continue to get better. His ceiling may not be as high as Landon’s, but I think he has got a lot of room for improvement.”
Jointer saw his sophomore season cut short with a knee injury. But he’s back and healthy and ready to go. Jointer is capable of playing on either side of the ball in college and has said he’s open to that, but Bolding thinks he has a great future on offense.
“Here’s my take on it,” Bolding said. “I’ve coached some really good running backs. I’ve been fortunate. I think he is a legit SEC running back. I think one of the things that sets him apart is Altee Tenpenny was a phenomenal running back, but he didn’t have as good a hands as a lot of colleges would like. Alabama wasn’t really throwing to running backs, but a lot of people do. That’s one that sets Jointer apart.
“We have played him some on defense and he can play it, but obviously when you are a great athlete it doesn’t matter where they put you. I still think personally from the backs I’ve coached and backs I’ve been around over the years, I think he is in that elite group of players. I think he would benefit tremendously, but you never want to turn off the other side of the ball. There may be two or three backs that come in that may be better than you. You don’t know what the future holds. I think that’s a great attitude to have. ‘I just want to play’ is the type of attitude you want from your players.”
Darien Bennett carried 34 times for 256 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman before giving way to an injury. He and Jointer will share running back duties this fall.
“I think that’s the biggest point,” Bolding said. “We use that example of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Backs take a beating. That’s why they don’t have a very long shelf life in the NFL. To be able to rotate those guys and keep fresh legs out there.”
Bolding points out though it may turnout that he has both in the game at the same time.
“When you think about it there’s been some discussion with us with Landon at quarterback with us splitting the backs on either side,” Bolding said. “You would have Darien Bennett and James Jointer so you would be talking three SEC caliber players since our quarterback can run the ball really well. I think the thing about those two guys is they aren’t selfish. They will block and they are really good blockers.
“DB (Darien Bennett) is 6-1, 215 going into the 10th grade. Has a great frame and both of them bring a little bit different things to the table. But both of them kinda feed off each other.
“What I tell them is I like competition. I think it’s really important most Division-I players never really get challenged in high school. So they don’t understand when they get to college they have to start back at the bottom and prove themselves again. They are so used to being the top dog. When you can create that environment in high school level it puts your guys way farther along. I think it helps them when they go to college they just hit the ground running. They know their expectations and they know they’ve got to show up to work and compete every day if they want to be able to play.”
Summons holds offers from Northeastern State University, Austin Peay, Tennessee-Martin, Henderson State and Arkansas Tech. But he is switching from the defensive line to center this season and could have a chance to see his offers continue to climb.
“You live and learn as coaches sometimes you make mistakes putting people in the wrong positions,” Bolding said. “We just felt that in the spring before the virus hit we were looking at him at center because of his size we felt that might help him at the next level. Plus, it’s gonna help us. Center is such a valuable position. If you can’t snap the football it doesn’t matter what kind of backs you’ve got back there. He really did a good job. We will be anxious to see what he does when he gets the shoulder pads and all the gear on.
“He has a Division-I center body. That’s the kinda guy size wise you want. When they move out to guard and center they get a lot bigger, but you can get by with that height and size at center. I’m really anxious to see. It’s a position I think he will do really well at. Not something he has to do a whole lot of thinking. Anytime you can get a player, I don’t care the position, where’s less thinking and more reacting I think they are better football players. This should help him a lot.”
Trent Bennett moved to West Plano (Texas) after last season started, but is back at Parkview now.
“He just moved back,” Bolding said. “He is gonna be another big-time player.
“The other and I just want to stick this in your head because he might end up being one of the best we’ve had here is Jaylon White. he’s a free safety and is also our backup quarterback. He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal athlete. We call him Trip.”