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Safety hopes switch from FCS school pays off

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Photographs by Ben Goff

Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads yells from the sideline during a game against Ole Miss on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Oxford, Miss.

Junior college safety Aaron Maddox made a leap of faith and is a step closer to his dream of playing Division I football.

Maddox, 6-2, 192 pounds, 4.46 seconds in the 40 yard dash, signed with Football Championship Subdivision member Western Carolina in 2016 out of North Augusta, S.C., but didn't enroll out and ended up at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz.

"I didn't feel like it was a fit for me," Maddox said. "It was always my dream to play D-I ball."

His gamble has paid off with scholarship offers from Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina State, Maryland, Louisville, Kansas, and others.

"I believed in myself and I believed in how hard I work and my natural talents and I took the chance," Maddox said.

Maddox was hampered by an injury, and he and his coached agreed that he would be a part-time student and grayshirt in the fall of 2016. He used the time to better himself.

"I even did P90X," Maddox said. "I did that to get my body right. I lifted weights, ate right."

He plans to make his first official visit to Fayetteville this weekend after getting to know Coach Bret Bielema and defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads.

"I'm ready to get up there and meet Coach Bielema," Maddox said. "I've developed a really good relationship with all of them, especially Coach Rhoads. I'm really looking forward to meeting coach Rhoads. We've talked about how he coached [NFL cornerback] Darrelle Revis."

Maddox, who has 58 tackles, an interception and 3 pass breakups this season, said his attraction to the Hogs is fueled by the competition that the Razorbacks face.

"Growing up I've always had a great respect for the SEC," he said. "It's always been the mecca of the Power 5 competitionwise. I'm really excited to get a chance to come in and explore a SEC school and see the culture and see what everybody has been talking about my whole life."

He learned to compete while being the youngest of eight brothers, including former Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway, who helped the Rebels win the 2013 SEC Tournament title.

"I've been the most competitive out of the group," Maddox said. "I've always wanted to be the best in everything."

Maddox also has visits set for Colorado on Dec. 1 and Louisville on Dec. 8 but is undecided on the other two visits. He reports having a 41-inch vertical jump.

"I'm been wind-milling dunking since the 11th grade in high school," Maddox said.

His brother Christian is a freshman cornerback at Pima.

"We both start in the secondary which is a dream come true," Maddox said. "We play on the same side and we call it Maddox island."

Doumbia to sign

Arkansas Razorbacks women's basketball Coach Mike Neighbors received the oral commitment of highly regarded combination guard Rokia Doumbia on Sunday and she's expected to sign with the Hogs today at a 9:30 a.m.

Doumbia, 5-9, of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., chose Arkansas over offers from Vanderbilt, Oklahoma, TCU, Southern Cal, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and others. She played for the Arkansas Banshees during the spring and summer.

"She loved the staff, loved the university and really felt like it was a place where she could fit in with the team and really make an impact," said AJ Doyle, Doumbia's guardian. "She's the type of team player that wants to be instrumental in helping the team succeed and she saw how she could do that at Arkansas."

ESPN rates her a 4-star prospect, the No. 26 point guard and No. 94 overall prospect in the nation for the 2018 class. Doyle said Neighbors and his staff made Doumbia feel at home.

"They did a great job of making her feeling really welcomed and at home and a place she could see herself spending four years and it becoming a second family to her," Doyle said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 11/14/2017

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