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Mining the backyard for football talent.

Want yet another example that college football recruiting is not an exact science? Then look not farther than Henderson State University.


Nick Finley lettered in football, baseball and track at Magnet Cove, even earning the outstanding defensive linemen award his senior season.

But the college recruiters were not beating down the door of the 6-foot-3, 275-pounder's home.

So Finley moved on with his life, forgetting football and enrolling as a student at HSU in Arkadelphia looking to fulfill his goal of becoming a high school coach.

Like most teen-agers in college, Finley bought a new vehicle and was looking for a job to help pay for his new ride.

So it was just natural that he found his way to working in the equipment room at Henderson State.

"I was going to be a coach anyway, so why not just go ahead and get around the football atmosphere," Finley said of his new job.

Coach Scott Maxfield came on board as head coach in 2005 desperate to turn the Reddies program after a 2-8 campaign in 2004.

"I try to label myself as a great recruiter that can go out and find good talent," Maxfield said. "I am such a great recruiter that I found him in our equipment room. He looked better than anybody on our team, so I asked him to come out for the team."

Finley thought he would give the game a try again and figured he would just quit if he wasn't any good.

"I got out there and discovered that I was a lot better than I was in high school," he said.

The defensive tackle is still on the team and going strong.

The senior has 63 career tackles with six sacks. He was recently named to the preseason All-Gulf South Conference team and to the All-State American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He is the only player from the Gulf South Conference to be named to the Good Works Team and one of only two from the state of Arkansas, joining Taylor Scott from the University of Central Arkansas.

"Nick's a solid guy and done a great job for us," Maxfield said.

It just goes to show, you never know what nook, corner or Cove you'll find the next all-conference football player.
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Title Annotation:THE PLAYING FIELD
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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