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UCA loses Smith, adds ex-Hog WR

by Adam Cole | January 20, 2022 at 2:53 a.m.

The University of Central Arkansas football team had two important roster developments Wednesday, as quarterback Breylin Smith declared for the NFL Draft and former University of Arkansas receiver John David White said he was transferring to the program.

Smith leaves UCA as one of the program's most prolific passers. In five seasons, he's second in school history in career passing yards (9,536), passing touchdowns (84) and completions (790) behind current Bears Coach Nathan Brown in all three categories. Smith played in 10 games in 2021, completing 64.5% of his attempts while throwing for 2,884 yards and 26 touchdowns. The decision means Smith won't use the extra year of eligibility granted to him by the NCAA due to the covid-19 pandemic.

"I have spent many days and nights reflecting on how grateful I am for my time spent at the University of Central Arkansas," Smith said in an Instagram post. "My time here has been nothing short of incredible, and I will never forget where I came from."

Despite his potential to again be a key figure in the Bears' offense, Smith's departure gives Brown one answer in trying to figure out the team's quarterback situation in 2022.

Both Darius Bowers and Hunter Loyd announced they were transferring from UCA after the 2021 season, leaving Cabot's Tyler Gee as the Bears' lone quarterback. Since then, UCA has signed Northern Iowa transfer quarterback Will McElvain.

McElvain, who has two years of eligibility remaining, started in both 2019 and 2020 for the Panthers but lost his starting spot to Michigan State transfer Theo Day in 2021. McElvain left Northern Iowa with 3,953 career pass yards and 22 touchdown passes. Louisiana-Lafayette transfer quarterback Clifton McDowell also verbally committed to UCA on Dec. 12, though he was not announced as a member of the Bears' recruiting class for the early signing period on Dec. 15. McDowell appeared in one game during two seasons with the Ragin' Cajuns, completing one pass for 8 yards.

While Smith announced his departure, the Bears picked up another Arkansas native for their offense in White. A walk-on receiver for the Razorbacks, White played in 13 games during three seasons in Fayetteville and has three years of eligibility remaining. He played in four games in 2021, catching one pass for 19 yards during a 37-0 loss to Georgia.

White played high school football at Pulaski Academy. In 28 games, he caught 129 passes for 2,567 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Bruins.

White is set to join an equally depleted receivers room, as Lujuan Winningham declared for the draft on Dec. 20 and Walter Payton Award finalist Tyler Hudson transferred to Louisville on Jan. 13. UCA is set to return Christian Richmond, who finished 2021 with 284 receiving yards in nine games. The Bears also had 11 freshmen receivers on last season's roster.

UCA signed six receivers during the early signing period, including FBS transfer and former University of Colorado defensive back Trustin Oliver. Former University of Minnesota receiver Nnamdi Adim-Madumere also transferred to the program on Jan. 10, according to 247Sports.

Print Headline: UCA loses Smith, adds ex-Hog WR

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