FT. SMITH — The Fort Smith Quarterback Club honored outgoing senior Kiero Small with the 50th annual Chism Reed Award on Tuesday.
At a banquet at the Fort Smith Convention Center, Small said he was grateful for the award. He also said the award comes at a time when he’s been flooded with memories of his three years at Arkansas.
“Right now, I’m packing my house to move out and the last couple of days are the first time I haven’t been working out twice a day. I’m seeing things that bring back a lot of memories,” Small said. “I found an Auburn towel, that I guess they gave out one year that somebody got for me. I found the boot I had to wear when I broke my foot. And I found the shoes I got to wear when I could finally wear shoes again. So there are some good memories and some bad too.”
The award is named after Benjamin Chism Reed of Paris. Reed and Arkansas coach John Barnhill founded the first Razorback Club in 1939. Reed served as the chapter’s president until his death in 1963. It is given to an outgoing senior who “exemplifies the Razorback spirit in athletics, academics and citizenship.” Past honorees include Tyler Wilson (2013), Brett Goode (2006), Barry Lunney Jr. (1995), Joe Kleine (1984) and Sidney Moncrief (1979).
Small, who graduated in December with a degree in sociology, was a junior college transfer. Thanks to a broken foot, he redshirted one season and spent three years in Fayetteville. CBSsports.com lists him as the No. 14 fullback available for next month’s NFL Draft. While most draftniks don’t think Small will be drafted, he is hoping to at least land with a team as a free agent.
“I’m just training, getting smarter as a football player and getting ready to go to the next level. The (chalk)board work is something a lot of people don’t realize is important,” Small said. “They want to see how quick you can pick up things. They tell you do something once and then you’ve got to do it the next time. You can build your body up as strong as you want, but if you don’t have the mental capacity it’s going to be tough to make it.”
Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson was the keynote speaker. He told the smaller than usual crowd his team is trending in the right direction after a berth in the NIT this season — the team’s first postseason appearance of any kind since 2008.
“You can see the improvement, night-in and night-out. I’m just really excited about what’s about to take place this coming year,” Anderson said. “Last year, we were probably a couple of players away from really putting things together. This year, we were a couple of plays away. So you know what the next step is. It’s putting it all together and making that big leap forward.”
In addition to Small and Anderson, the club presented $5,000 to the Razorback Foundation to endow a scholarship in honor of Bennie Westphal. The Fort Smith businessman was a walk-on for the Razorbacks before earning a scholarship.