The University of Central Arkansas Bears picked up three junior college football players Wednesday on the first day of the national junior college signing period.
UCA signed wide receiver Brett Soft, center Arturo Hernandez and defensive end Devin Hawkins to national letters of intent.
Soft, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder, comes to UCA from Butler Community College, where he was a wide receiver and free safety. He totaled 59 receptions for 771 yards (13.1-yard average) and seven touchdowns as a sophomore on a team that lost in the juco national championship game. He was an All-Jayhawk Conference selection.
Soft is from Wichita, Kan., where he starred at Maize High School. As a junior, Soft set Kansas high school records with 81 receptions for 1,422 yards and was named all-state. He missed five games as a senior with a broken leg but was still an honorable mention all-state selection. Soft was a three-year letterman in football, basketball and baseball.
Hernandez is a 6-3, 290-pound center from Olive Branch (Miss.) High School, who is transferring from Itawamba Community College. He was a three-year letterman at Olive Branch and played on two state runnerup teams. Hernandez was a two-time all-conference selection and a honorable mention All-State pick as a senior.
Hernandez, a member of the national honor society and a B.J. Crain Academic Award winner, was a 2010 Mississippi Junior College All-State second-team selection.
Hawkins is a 6-5, 242-pound end from Caledonia (Miss.) High School, transferring from East Mississippi Community College. He was a two-time selection as the district’s Outstanding Defensive Lineman and averaged 10 tackles a game in high school. He recorded 33 tackles and four sacks despite missing the last four games of his sophomore season at EMCC due to injury. His teams were the 2009 Mississippi Bowl Champions and Mississippi junior college champions. Hawkins comes from the same school that produced former UCA Bears Derrick Boyd and Marquez Branson (Atlanta Falcons), and current UCA players Jermayne Lett and Derrick Steele.
"We’re extremely excited about the addition of these very fine student-athletes," UCA coach Clint Conque said. "Each player addresses a specific need for us and will add maturity and depth to our football program. All three of these young men made official visits and held multiple scholarship offers.
"Our assistant coaches continue to do a terrific job recruiting and developing relationships with our recruits. I have certainly enjoyed meeting each young man and their families and all will be welcome additions to the Central Arkansas football family."