Defense Looks to Ball-'Hawks' to Lead
EVERETT - In the arena football game, quality depth in the defensive backfield is of utmost importance. If the first weekend of training camp is any indication, the Everett Hawks should be well-equipped to handle even the most potent of af2 offenses.
In addition to the previously assigned DS Charles Ealy and WR/DB Raymond Little II, the Hawks were assigned defensive specialists Art Smith, Aaron Dunklin and DeMaro Wheeler by the arenafootball2 league office right before camp opened on Saturday morning. Smith is an arena veteran, having split the 2006 campaign between the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers and Las Vegas Gladiator. The Northeastern University product collected 25.0 tackles and forced a fumble in his AFL time. In his two-year college career with the Huskies, Smith intercepted nine career passes and had 97 tackles and registered three sacks. He was named first team All-Atlantic 10 as a cornerback in 2002.
Dunklin is one of the all-time greats in Charleston Southern University's history. The two-time first team All-Big South Conference performer is Charleston Southern's all-time leader in receptions (125) and has the most receptions (80) and yards (1,063) in a single season in Buccaneers' history. He also ranks second in school history in career receiving yards. Despite the fact that Dunklin put up monster numbers on the offensive side of the ball in college, Hawks Head Coach Cedric Walker believes he will be a valuable asset on both sides of the ball.
Wheeler comes to the Hawks after spending 2006 with an indoor football team in Texas. He is the single-season record holder for most pass breakups in a season (14) at West Liberty State, where he played in 2001. In 2003 at Azusa Pacific University, Wheeler recorded 22 tackles.
"Arthur Smith will one of the guys we're really going to rely heavily on," said Hawks Head Coach Cedric Walker. "We're also expecting big things from Aaron Dunklin and Demaro Wheeler. Dunklin can play on both sides and Demaro is a big kid who is physical, and that fits into our scheme well."
Ealy and Little, who were among the first Hawks assigned earlier this year, will also be relied upon heavily in Coach Walker's defensive scheme. Ealy, a UNLV product, collected 29 tackles and an interception for the Louisville fire last season. Little appeared in four games in his rookie campaign in 2006, catching three passes for 24 yards and making 8.5 tackles, with the Stockton Lightning,.
Don't miss a minute of the exciting 2007 Everett Hawks season! The 2007 campaign kicks off March 31 and season ticket packages from as low as $40 are currently on sale. For more information or to reserve your seats for the 2007 season, contact the Hawks office at 425.252.4874.
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