Carlisle’s backfield tandem of Bo Weddle and Deron Ricks are taking their talents to the collegiate level.
Weddle signed with Harding University of Searcy and Ricks signed with Southern Nazarene University of Bethany, Okla., during a ceremony on National Signing Day, Feb. 5, at Bison Arena.
Both Harding and Southern Nazarene are members of the NCAA Division II and the Great American Conference.
Weddle said he chose Harding because it “felt like home for me.”
“I fell in love with the school on my official visit,” he said.
Weddle said he considered both Henderson State in Arkadelphia and Arkansas Tech in Russellville.
Weddle missed most of the 2012 season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee in the second week of the season.
“There was a point when I was rehabbing my knee that it crossed my mind that I may not make it but I kept pushing myself to the limit until it happened,” Weddle said.
For Weddle, he still gets to be a Bison and wear black and Gold.
“I’ll be able to wear black and gold until the day I die,” Weddle said. “Once a Bison, always a Bison.”
Carlisle coach Brandon Barbaree said Weddle has been a hard worker his entire career.
“You will see him grow all the way around because he will be that kid who works hard to get to play,” he said. “I look for him to have a pretty good career at Harding.”
Barbaree said Weddle was on a mission after he hurt his knee in 2012.
“His whole ambition was to play college football,” Barbaree said. “He was going to do whatever it took. It’s just great to see that hard work pay off.”
Ricks said he was considering Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and Belhaven Univeristy in Jackson, Miss.
Ricks, who was recruited as a running back, injured an ACL in the Bison’s loss to Junction City in the Class 2A state semifinals in December.
“I will be released for full contact in August,” Ricks said. “I don’t know if I will have to redshirt just yet. I really depends on how strong my knee will be.”
Ricks said playing college football is a dream come true.
“I’ve had this dream since I knew what college ball was and now I’m going to be living it. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Ricks said he thanks God for blessing him with “this gift.”
“I want to thank my family for always supporting and being there for me and I also want to thank every coach that has coached me in my entire life,” Ricks said. “Without them, this couldn’t be possible.”
Barbaree had similar sentiments for Ricks.
“It’s an opportunity for him to grow up and after you see the true adversity he will go through,” he said. “Deron is going to have to work hard to get back to where he was and even better than that.
“He’s grown up over the past year. Hopefully, this opportunity will give him a chance to sit back and evaluate his life and grow up as an individual and a person and become a better football player because of it.”