September 1, 2010 Edition

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Former Hoxie players
join Arkansas St. roster

Derek Johnson (#98) runs a tackle drill during practice last week at Arkansas State University.
Photos courtesy of ASU

Clay Hart (#6) listens as Red Wolves wide receivers coach Tyler Siskey discusses play options.

Gretchen Hunt

The Red Wolves roster will include two former Hoxie football players this fall as Derek Johnson and Clay Hart have joined the team at Arkansas State University.

Johnson, who redshirted last year at the University of Texas, recently transferred to A-State.

"It feels good to be back home," said Johnson, a 2009 graduate of HHS. He was a two-time All-State selection while playing defensive lineman at Hoxie. He was also rated as the state's top defensive tackle and third-best player overall following his senior season with the Mustangs.

"I like the coaches and everything," Johnson said of his transition to ASU.

Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts said Johnson has some work ahead of him, but he expects good things from the prep All-American.

"We are very excited about getting Derek here," he said. "We're confident he is going to work extremely hard and look forward to him having a productive year with us."

Johnson's former teammate, Hart, is walking on at quarterback for ASU.

"It's always been a lifetime dream to play college football and now I get to come out every day and just fulfill my dream."

A former quarterback for Hoxie, Hart also graduated in 2009 and has been a student at ASU.

"We are excited to have Clay here as well," Roberts said. "He started to come out in the spring and then decided to come out in the fall. When we had a couple of openings, he stepped in, and we're proud to have him as part of our team."

Both players said they are grateful to those in their hometowns for their support and look forward to being a part of a program where their friends and family members can attend games.

They also gave credit to the foundations they received at Hoxie. "Coach (Tom) Sears and Coach (Sean) Cockrell helped me so much," Johnson said. "If it wasn't for them, I don't know that I'd be where I am at today."

Hart agreed.

"Coach Sears does a good job at getting people to the next level," he said. "He knows a lot of coaches and he's definitely helped me out on this journey."

Hart is the son of Michael and Sherry Hart of Sedgwick, and Johnson is the son of Billy Johnson of West Memphis and Theresa Clayborn of New Orleans and the grandson of Carl and Freddie White of Walnut Ridge.

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