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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Speedy Huff to become Red Wolf next fall

Friday, May 21, 2010

The motto for the Salem Greyhounds' football team last season was "48 minutes ... 10 seconds at a time."

Boiled down to its essence, that means play hard for the whole game by giving it your all on every play of the game.

Perhaps no one embodied that motto better for the Hounds last year than Jason Huff.

Huff was a key cog in Salem's return to the state football playoffs after a five-year absence, living, breathing and demonstrating just what that motto was about every time he hit the field.

Seeing time at wide receiver, defensive back, punter and place kicker, Huff was on the field a lot.

That's also what led Huff to catching the attention of the Arkansas State University Red Wolves' coaching staff, resulting in an opportunity for the speedy senior to play college football in Jonesboro next fall.

Huff signed a letter of intent to walk-on for the Red Wolves May 14 in a ceremony inside the Salem High School library.

It was not hard to pick Huff out on the gridiron the past several seasons.

He would be the one blazing down the sideline to reel in a pass that looked uncatchable, or he would be the one kicking the football into the stratosphere when the Greyhounds needed to pin their opponent deep.

"He made some fantastic catches and some fantastic plays for us this year," Salem Head Coach Sam Weir said. "And he also handled our kicking game for us. And that's a big part of any football program. He has the ability to punt and kickoff and do extra-points and field goals. He's just an all-around good athlete."

Blessed with blazing speed, Huff was also an important part of Salem's track team and finished third in the 800-meters at the Class 2A State Track Meet recently.

Those are some of the part of Huff's performances that can be measured.

But according to Weir, there's more to Huff that just what his on-field achievements indicate.

"He was on the field all the time, so he was a leader in his performance, showing that this is the way it's done," Weir said. "He was a real asset to our program and it was a real treat to be around Jason. You could always count on him because of his leadership and ability."

The gap between high school and college football can be a Grand Cannon-sized one, as Weir well knows. After playing football at Walnut Ridge High School, Weir went on to star at Arkansas State before finding his way onto the professional football field later in his career.

So where does he see Huff fitting in for the Red Wolves and head coach Steve Roberts?

"There's so many variables involved at that level of football, but I would think that he'll be up for what they throw at him," he said. "He'll be getting bigger and stronger and should have more time to work on kicking fundamentals, and he's got a strong leg, so I could see him being competitive as a field goal kicker. And I hope he also gets a chance to be evaluated as a defensive back and wide receiver. But I think Jason will give everything he's got, regardless of what position they are looking at him for."

The one thing that no coach can teach is desire to play the game.

Either you have it or you don't.

Good thing then, that Huff has loads of desire to play football.

"Since I've known Jason, I've respected his work ethic right from the get-go," said Weir. "He's always on time, he's always ready to play and is quick to learn ... just very attentive. And on the field, anytime we could get the ball to him, he was a threat to take it into the end zone."

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