Two Cabot Panthers football players will be taking their talents up Highway 67/167 to play college football.
Twin brothers Keith and Heath Pledger signed with Harding University in Searcy during a ceremony on National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 5. The signing took place in the Cabot High School Media Center. The Bisons are members of NCAA Division II.
Keith Pledger played tight end for the Panthers; Heath Pledger played offensive guard as the Panthers went 12-1 in 2013, finishing as Class 7A state runners-up.
Both players will play offensive guard for the Bisons, who already have a stable of former Panthers on their roster, including Nathan Cash, Cameron Boatright, Cole Lockwood and Riley Hawkins. Carlisle running back Bo Weddle signed with Harding last week as well.
Both Pledgers said they picked Harding because it was a Christian school.
"And the team is more of family than a team," Keith said. "It’s also a brotherhood. Harding was the only school Heath and I were really interested in."
Heath said, "That is a big deal [Christian school] to our family and beliefs.
"We considered going to Arkansas Tech but we couldn’t turn down a private Christian school that really wanted us," Heath said.
Both players said they always wanted to play college football together.
"We really wanted to go to the same school because we knew it would be easier and we could study together," Keith said. "We never thought of going to different schools."
"Playing college ball with my brother is something I wanted to do," Heath said. "We always knew we wanted to go to the same school together because we knew it would be easier."
Heath said it’s a dream come true to play at Harding.
"Getting to play with your brother is the icing on the cake," he said.
"We can’t wait to play Bison football," Keith said. "We are excited to go to college and to play football while there."
Heath said, "We can’t wait to start playing Bison football and see what our future has in store for us."
Bisons coach Ronnie Huckeba is excited to have the Pledger twins.
"We’ve had some pretty good Cabot football players here," Huckeba said on his coach’s show. "These kids [Pledgers] are bigger kids. If you see these guys play in person, you will see play, after play, after play where they are dominating the line of scrimmage.
"They are both in the National Honor Society. When you call them up, they are always working. They come from a working family that understands work ethic. These guys have great character."
Cabot coach Mike Malham said Harding is a great fit for the Pledgers.
"What Harding does is perfect for what the Pledgers can do," he said. "The are more of a run offense, getting off that ball. They don’t need the tall linemen for pass protection. I think it will be a great fit. It’s a good school. They kind of like our linemen.
"They [Pledgers] are good high school football players and I think they can translate that into college."