SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Bentonville Class of 2021 linebacker Cole Joyce will visit Arkansas for the cookout on July 26.
But on Saturday Joyce had more immediate concerns. He was one of the leaders for the Bentonville defense in the Southwest Elite 7 on 7 Showcase. Joyce, 6-0 215, has outstanding speed and it showed in Saturday’s 20-11 victory over Derby (Kan.). He likes what 7 on 7 allows him to work on during the summer.
“It helps me actually cover because usually in real games I’m not covering a whole bunch,” Joyce said. “So it helps my feet and being able to standing with them.”
While the 7 on 7 doesn’t include linemen, it still was a chance on Friday and today for Joyce and the Tigers to have the team together and working.
“It gives us good competition,” Joyce said. “When it’s close games like that it just brings us together.”
Joyce holds offers to Tulsa, Bowling Green, Louisiana-Monroe and UAB. Arkansas and many others are showing strong interest. He was one of the standouts at Arkansas’ Elite Camp on Saturday, June 15. John Chavis, Arkansas’ defensive coordinator, talked to Joyce after that camp.
“They want me to come to their cookout and then they are gonna watch me live,” Joyce said.
What would an offer from the Razorbacks mean to you?
“It would mean a lot,” Joyce said. “It’s 20 minutes away. It’s closest to home and I have always been able to watch them.”
As a sophomore, Joyce had 80 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and three pass breakups in 2018. Despite a very impressive sophomore season in 2018 he feels he has made improvement.
“Yesterday we played eight games so I felt really in shape,” Joyce said of Friday’s action in the 7 on 7. “I feel I’ve gotten a lot stronger and ability to move my feet a lot faster.”
Joyce and the Tigers will open the season on Saturday, Aug. 31, when they take on Midwest City (Okla.). That’s a team that defeated Bentonville 28-25 in overtime to start the 2018 season. The speedy linebacker talked about his plans between now and when the season opens.
“Just working out,” Joyce said. “We will finish up this tournament and then working out then we will put on pads.”
Bentonville finished 7-4 in 2018. They started the season 0-3 before rallying to win their next seven games before falling to Fort Smith Northside 30-17 in the state playoffs. Joyce feels this can be a special year for the Tigers.
“I think we can be really good,” Joyce said. “I didn’t know a lot before this tournament, but seeing we did really well yesterday helps me and stuff. I think we will be real good. We have good linemen and receiving corp and everything.”