Trio of Freshmen Reporting Early to Arkansas Caught Attention of Coordinators

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Photo by Otis Kirk.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas had seven scholarship players enroll at midterm including four from the high school ranks.

Much has been said and written about Hazen’s Blayne Toll. But Arkansas also added Broken Arrow (Okla.) safety Myles Slusher, Harvey (La.) Helen Cox linebacker Kelin Burrle and Memphis (Tenn.) Central wide receiver Darin Turner.

On Friday during a teleconference with Barry Odom, defensive coordinator, and Kendal Briles, offensive coordinator, the trio drew praise. Odom coaches the safeties and is pleased to have Slusher back there.

“He developed his skillset,” Odom said of Slusher. “He also is mature. He’s got a great competitive spirit. His football IQ, I’m really impressed with that. He had really great coaching at Broken Arrow High School. You can tell that. He’s very advanced in his thoughts and understanding of coverage.

“He’s done a tremendous job in the classroom academically and that’s hard to do. Midyear guys, a lot of times, their buddies are talking about going to the prom and they’re in the middle of a biology exam and morning conditioning. Both of those guys have done a really good job. I’ve been more direct with Myles just because he plays the position I coach. He’s worked extremely hard in the weight room. He’s added weight, really good weight, and I’ve been so excited about having him in the program.”

Odom also talked about Burrle and added some more about Slusher.

“Kelin is continuing to develop in a number of things, the adjustment phase of going from high school to a midyear grad and living on your own, living in the dorms,” Odom said. “Some of those things, it’s an adjustment phase for everybody. But I’m so happy that we got both of them and they’re going to be a step ahead whenever they give us the word.

“They’re going to be a step ahead and I challenged Myles that I’m not going to look at you like a freshman. It doesn’t matter because one they’re ours, we coach them and teach them and it’s our job to get them in position no matter what their age is, get them in position to understand what we’re trying to get done with the play calls and their responsible and accountable to our football team to playing its best.”

Briles feels like Justin Stepp has done an excellent job with Turner.

“Darin’s a big, skilled guy,” Briles said. “Coach Stepp did a tremendous job with him. I was not really involved with that recruiting process. Coach Stepp had that pretty much licked by the time I got here. Darin and his family are great people. I got a chance to be around them. Darin’s worked hard. He’s one of those kids that I think this is the first time he’s ever worked in a strength and conditioning environment like the one that we have, which I think is second to none. 

“You can ask him, I think it got after him a little bit early. But I think he was really starting to change his body. You could tell he was losing a little bit of that baby fat. He was starting to look like a man. I think he’s got a tremendous future. He’s got a lot of bounce in his legs. I was really please with how hard he’s been working. Just talking with Coach Stepp, he’s done a really nice job with all these meetings where he’s retaining information as well.”

Arkansas is scheduled to host Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 5, in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

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