ASHDOWN, Ark. -- It's official. Ashdown's highly recruited tight end Shamar Easter signed his late National Signing Day letter of intent to play football for the University of Arkansas.
Easter signed his national letter on Thursday in the Ashdown Schools Administration Building. He originally had been scheduled to sign his letter Wednesday, but wet roads and inclement weather conditions postponed it until 5 p.m. Thursday. It was drizzling rain when he signed and temperatures were in the 40s.
"It's good to finally make it official," said the 6-foot-5, 222-pound Easter after the signing day festivities were concluded before a packed room of coaches, players, family, friends and media members. "Now we can get onto the next step, which will be to graduate high school and concentrate on getting enrolled at Arkansas in Fayetteville."
Easter's high school football coach Matt Richardson said the large crowd was a tribute to Easter's outgoing personality and his down-to-earth character.
"He's the kind of person who can walk into a room and become the focus of anybody and everybody in the room," said Richardson, who guided the Panthers to a 7-4 record and two rounds into the Class 4A state playoffs this past season. "He's such a tremendous person that it's great to have him as one of your friends.
"He's always got a smile on his face and he's so positive with things around him. He can be a boost for any team, anywhere. Arkansas should be proud to have signed such a terrific person and multi-talented athlete."
Easter received "numerous offers from several Division I schools, but Arkansas has been his choice for some time now.
"I picked Arkansas at the beginning of my junior high season," said Easter, 18. "I considered several school, but I quickly narrowed my choice to Arkansas because I really felt at home on the Razorback campus."
Easter said he was impressed with Arkansas from his first visit.
"I think I made about five or six trips to Arkansas, most on an 'unofficial' visit," Easter said. "They said they hope I can play tight end/flex receiver in college, which is what I played in high school. I'm at 222 pounds now and they said they would like to see me at about 240 pounds, which should be no problem."
Easter said he also can play cornerback on defense. "I can play wherever they want me to, but I believe the Hogs mainly want me as a tight end."
Easter also played basketball and ran track for the Panthers in District 7-4A. "I played forward on the basketball team and ran just about all the sprints in track," he said. "I just imagine I'll concentrate on football at Arkansas, which plays among the nation's elite powerhouses in the Southeastern Conference."
Georgia has won the last two national championships and Alabama has captured six national crowns under veteran head coach Nick Saban.
"All the big SEC games get national TV coverage, which is nice," Easter said. "It always help to get national exposure."
Easter's stepbrother, Spencer Patterson, said he and his adoptive mother, Tracey Patterson, are "super excited about Shamar going to Arkansas on a football scholarship. We're behind him 100 percent and he's going to be great wherever he plays," Spencer Patterson said.
Spencer attends Arkansas Tech in Russellville, Arkansas, but he doesn't compete in any college sports.
Easter was adopted by his stepmother, Tracey, at the end of his sophomore season at Ashdown High School.
"It's been really great for all of us," Easter said. "They took me in to their family and it's been a nice journey for us."
One of Easter's best games as a player came in the Panthers' worst loss of the 2022 season, a 63-27 drubbing by Elkins in the second round of the state playoffs. "I made two really good catches for touchdowns," Easter said. "I had a pretty good game, but the rest of the team didn't."
Elkins was ousted a week later by Nashville, 63-62, another foe in Ashdown's strong district.
"Unselfishness -- that was one of Easter's tributes to the team," Richardson said. "He probably could have scored three or four touchdowns a night, but he wasn't like that.
"He wanted to do whatever it took for us to win, and he didn't focus on individual records that so many players do."
The tally on Arkansas' signing class was 20 high school players and 10 college transfers, the kind of mix that fourth-year Coach Sam Pittman hopes to maintain.
The class ranked No. 21 by Rivals and No. 22 by 247Sports, gives the Razorbacks back-to-back top 25 classes for the first time since 2004-2005 by Rivals and since 2015-16 by 247Sports.
Arkansas' scholarship program sits at 76, nine shy of the NCAA maximum.
The Razorbacks have posted records of 7-6, 9-4, 3-7 and 2-10 the last four years under Pittman's leadership.