Some athletes seem to have a golden pathway to the pros. Matt Hewitt's football career has had many twists and turns as he pursues his dream of playing professional football.
Hewitt, a graduate of Englewood (NJ) High School, came to Alfred State College in 2004 as a quarterback. Before even thinking about taking a snap under center the Pioneers coaching staff decided to take advantage of Hewitt's athleticism and moved him to the defensive side of the ball.
At the free safety position, Hewitt excelled right away. He played in 18 games at Alfred State and made 190 tackles (81 solo and 109 assists). He also intercepted seven passes, broke up 13 pass plays, and recovered four fumbles. This led to him being named 2nd team All-Northeast Football Conference twice and a preseason NJCAA All-American in 2005.
After playing his final game at Alfred State, Hewitt began the recruiting process. The process brought both excitement and disappointment. Big Ten schools like Illinois, Michigan State, and Purdue were very interested in Hewitt but pulled back interest when they learned Hewitt wouldn't graduate in December.
Still undecided on where he was going to continue his playing career Hewitt came back to Alfred to finish his degree. In January, ASC defensive coordinator Dan Spitulnik heard an interview with University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt discussing his need for a safety. By the end of January, Hewitt had met with UA assistant coach Alex Wood on the Alfred State campus and had visited the Fayetteville campus. He was impressed with everything he had seen and was told and inked a letter of intent to finish his collegiate playing career at Arkansas.
Last season, Hewitt started the season as the Hogs back-up free safety. He made enough of an impact in the team's preseason scrimmage in their first couple of contests that by week four of the season he was moved to the linebacker position after an injury to a starter.
Once Hewitt cracked the starting line-up he excelled. He registered 10 tackles at Auburn and 10 tackles versus Ole Miss. He appeared in all 14 games for the Razorbacks, making eight starts, and recorded 63 tackles. The Razorbacks finished the 2006 campaign with a 10-4 record and played in the Capital One Bowl.
As he started to prepare for spring practice as a linebacker, Hewitt got word from his defensive coordinator Reggie Herring that he was going to be moved back to safety. After successful spring practices, Hewitt is listed as the starter going into the 2007 season at strong safety.
Hewitt will start trying to write another successful chapter to his football career on September 1 when the Razorbacks host Troy State University in their season opener.