UCA’s Graves to play in FCS Bowl

University of Central Arkansas linebacker James Graves has been chosen to play in the 2017 FCS Bowl on Saturday.

The FCS Bowl, an annual postseason college football All-Star Game, will be played at noon Saturday at Daytona Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla.. The FCS Bowl features the best NCAA FCS and HBCU college seniors and is heavily scouted by the NFL and CFL. Last year saw 14 NFL Teams, 5 CFL Teams, and over 30 scouts present. All 32 NFL teams receive and review the FCS Bowl game and NFL Films distributes the film to all NFL Teams.

Former NFL coach Mike Stock will return for the fourth consecutive year as head coach of the National team, which will feature Graves, while current AFL Albany Director of Football Operation Chris Thompson will return as head coach of the American squad in the 4th Annual FCS Bowl.

Graves, a senior linebacker from Bassfield, Miss., who transferred to UCA from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was a two-year starter at linebacker for the Bears. Graves finished his two-year career at UCA with 119 total tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Graves was UCA’s No. 3 tackles in 2017 when the Bears finished 10-2 overall, won the Southland Conference title with a perfect 9-0 record and won a Division-I school record 10 consecutive games. Graves had 70 tackles and played on a defense that ranked second in the league in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense.

Holmes named academic All-American

University Central Arkansas junior Chris Holmes of Conway has been named to the Academic All-America Third Team.

Holmes, who carries a perfect 4.00 GPA in pursuit of a Health Services Administration degree, is one of an NCAA-high six Missouri Valley Conference players to be named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Teams, widely regarded as the most prestigious academic honor in the nation.

He becomes the third Bear to earn Academic All-America honors, and the first to earn them at the Division I level, joining Blake Barlow (2004) and Shawn Marvin (1999). On the field, Holmes was a key piece of a Central Arkansas attack that tied for second in the Valley with an average of 1.62 goals per game and led the league with 1.67 assists per game. Holmes tied for the team lead and tied for fourth in the Valley with five assists on the year while also scoring a pair of goals to finish third on the Bears with nine points.

"Chris is in elite company as a student-athlete and I couldn’t be more proud of him," said UCA coach Ross Duncan. "Dedication is a word that gets thrown around a lot in athletics, but Chris takes it to another level. You can’t perform on the field and in the classroom without an incredible work ethic and a focus on what really matters."

Three from UCA honored for academics

A trio of Central Arkansas women’s soccer players, have been named to the Southland Conference All-Academic Teams,.

Senior Stacia Carroll earned First Team honors, while senior Alex Moore and junior Ashley Smith were each named to the Second Team.

Carroll, from South Jordan, Utah, carries a 3.71 GPA and will graduate with a degree in Health Science/Physical Therapy. A three-time All-Southland Conference honoree, she played a key role for a Central Arkansas defense that ranked third in the SLC in goals allowed per game with an average of 1.10.

Moore, from Yukon, Oklahoma, has a 3.40 GPA in pursuit of a degree in Nursing. A two-time All-SLC honoree, she led the Bears with 13 points on the year, tying four fourth in the Southland with seven assists and adding three goals, all of which were game-winners.

Smith, from Plano, Texas, has a 3.81 GPA and will graduate after just three seasons with a degree in Management. She tied for the team lead with four goals and added three assists to tie for second on the team with 11 points on the season. She is a two-time All-SLC selection.