CONWAY, Ark. (UCA) -- University of Central Arkansas head football coach Clint Conque announced the signing of three mid-year transfers on Wednesday, including one who has already gotten his feet wet with the Bears' program.
The newcomers include wide receiver Justin Burdette from Southern Mississippi, offensive lineman Jordan Kersh from Hinds Community College and safety Bobby Watkins, a transfer from Air Force Academy who red-shirted at UCA this fall.
Watkins, from Bishop Dunn High School in Dallas, is a 6-foot-1, 204-pound safety who practiced with the Bears this fall after transferring. He was a two-time All-State and three-time All-District selection in high school. He played 10 games for the Air Force Prep School in 2011. He is the son of former NFL player Bobby Watkins, who was a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions and played with that organization from 1982-88.
"Bobby has been in our program for a semester,' said Conque. "We redshirted him this fall and he'll have three years left. He was very impressive working on the scout team this year. He comes from good blood lines. He'll join a very talented group of returners at the safety position.
"He has experience, he played at Air Force Prep School, so we look for him to make an immediate impact this spring.'
Kersh is a 6-4, 290-pound lineman from Brandon, Miss., who was a two-time Mississippi Junior College Conference All-State selection. As Brandon High, Kersh was an All-Conference and All-Metro player who was a state champion shot putter and a state qualifier in powerlifting. He was selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game.
"We really struggled with continuity on the offense line because of injuries and depth,' Conque said. "Jordan comes in and gives us size and athleticism. He was a 58, 59-foot shot putter in high school. He's a strong, explosive athlete. He fits the profile that we're looking for at offensive guard. The sky is the limit for this young man.'
Burdette is a 6-2, 202-pound receiver from Clay-Chalkville (Ala.) High School who played in eight games as a true freshman at Southern Miss. He had eight receptions for 70 yards and had 4 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. In high school, Burdette was an All-State, All-Metro and All-Conference selection who had 30 receptions for 430 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011. The All-Metro punter also played in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game.
"He is a young man we had in camp two summers ago and were very impressed,' said Conque. "He's joining our program after making contributions in Conference USA at Southern Miss. He'll come in here with the opportunity to help us replace three highly productive senior receivers lost to graduation.
"Justin comes in and gives us size and experience that we'll need.'
The Bears finished 9-3 overall this season and tied for the Southland Conference championship. UCA reached the second round of the NCAA Division I Playoffs for the second consecutive year.