photo by GEORGE “CLAY” MITCHELL
Van Buren’s defensive lineman Dillon Kinsey (second from left) signs his national letter of intent to join the Wonder Boys football team and attend Arkansas Tech. Dillon Kinsey is joined by Melinda Chisolm (left), Daniel Chisolm (second from right), Ryan Chisolm (right), Emily Chisolm (standing) and Summer Kinsey (not pictured).
Crawford County had a couple of football players sign letters of intent on National Signing Day (Wednesday) to join the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys football program.
Alex Burris (Alma) and Dillon Kinsey (Van Buren) both inked letters in separate ceremonies at their respective schools on Wednesday.
Burris was already a two-time all-state selection when coach Doug Loughridge arrived back in December 2012 as the Airedales head coach.
“Having Alex made all the difference for us on defense,” said Loughridge. “When you’re building a 4-3 defense you have to have a hammer. Knowing that Alex was one of the best linebackers in the state, it was no-brainer to put him out there as our leader on defense.”
“The thing I’m most excited about Dillon is how far he has come along since he was a sophomore,” said Van Buren coach Brooks Coatney. “His leadership has been fantastic this year. He’s a team player and if he keeps that attitude, he’ll be successful at the college level.”
Both players join a class of 40 signees to join the football program which included 20 from Arkansas for head coach Raymond Monica, who will begin his second season in 2014. The Wonder Boys finished 5-6 overall and 5-5 in the GAC. Other notable signees for Tech include Jimmie Jackson (WR, Bentonville), Jace Pitchford (QB, Poteau) and Josh Qualls (QB, Rogers).
Burris is a three-year starter and now three time all-state selection and was named the 5A West’s outstanding lineman and he has picked up an automatic bid to the all-star game.
Burris had his best season on defense as he made 144 tackles (93 solo). He led Alma the past two seasons and finished with 368 tackles in his career. Burris added two tackles for loss, created four fumbles, recovered two fumbles, picked off three passes and had 2.5 sacks.
Burris also added 22 catches for 286 yards on offense.
“Alex is not just a great player and a great guy, but he’s also a great communicator and a great leader on the field,” Loughridge said.
Burris said while he intended to play at the college level, he just wanted to have a good season.
“I just wanted to be the best that I could be this season, and I ended up having a great year,” said Burris. “I can’t express how happy I am about that.”
Burris said that he may be utilized on special teams as a freshman, but he plans to work his way into the linebacker corps as a sophomore.
Kinsey earned 7A West Second Team All-Conference this past season. He had 71 tackles with 24 solos, but lead the team with seven sacks and had 12 tackles for a loss. Kinsey was also recognized with the Pointer Pride award.
Kinsey said that he made his decision to go to Tech after visiting the campus.
“Everything about it impressed me,” said Kinsey. “I was really impressed with the coaches and how they presented the team.”
Kinsey is also the returning state champion in wrestling for Van Buren, and that’s something he hopes to continue as well.
“I really tried to find some place that would allow me to do both, but I couldn’t find a way to get it work,” said Kinsey. “I’m hoping that Arkansas Tech explores that and maybe get a wrestling program by the time I leave.”
Kinsey plans to major in kinesiology.
Burris is planning to major in physical education and work his way to become a college coach.
“I think that’s the best level to coach at, and I just want to try for the best,” Burris said.