Kiero Small

Kiero Small (U.S. Presswire photo by Nelson Chenault / November 19, 2011)

The Next Level is a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Chris Eckard, a senior at the University of Maryland and Baltimore Sun sports department intern, is your author.

At 5-10 and 255 pounds, Arkansas junior fullback Kiero Small (Cardinal Gibbons) has one purpose for the No. 3 Razorbacks: to bulldoze.

The former junior college linebacker takes pride in laying out defenders to pave a path for his running back or quarterback. But Saturday, against Mississippi State, Small received his first handoff at Arkansas.

The fullback barreled into the end zone from a yard out to score his first touchdown, as the Razorbacks cruised to a 44-17 win.

“I think he gives our offense energy because of his toughness and physicalness,” coach Bobby Petrino said to the media earlier this season. “When you watch the video and you see the hits and collisions and the number of the times he’s the hammer and not the nail show up. It’s a lot of fun. He really helps us.”

Small, who’s long road to Fayetteville, Ark., was chronicled by The Sun’s Matt Bracken, doesn’t play a glamorous position, but he has started every game for one of the best teams in the country. His touchdown score, and his contributions this entire season, is why Small is this week’s Next Level Player of the Week.

Honorable Mention
  • Boston College freshman quarterback Josh Bordner (Century) had 7 rushing yards and a touchdown on four carries in the Eagles’ 16-14 loss to Notre Dame.
  • Temple junior running back Matt Brown (Baltimore native from the Peddie School in N.J.) had 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns (22, 52 yards), a 13-yard punt return and 34-yard kickoff return in the Owls’ 42-14 win against Army.
  • Michigan freshman safety Josh Furman (Old Mill) blocked a punt and had two solo tackles in the Wolverines’ 45-17 win against Nebraska. Freshman cornerback Blake Countess (Owings Mills native, Good Counsel grad) added a solo tackle (two total).
  • UAB sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry (Dunbar) went 17-for-26 for 236 yards and a touchdown in a 34-31 win against No. 20 Southern Miss. He also ran for 56 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Other Contributions
  • Arkansas State senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) broke up two passes and had four solo tackles (five total) in a 45-19 win against Middle Tennessee State.
  • Colorado State sophomore linebacker Shaq Barrett (Baltimore native from Boys Town High in Neb.) had five solo tackles (eight total) in the Rams’ 34-10 loss to TCU.
  • Connecticut junior safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) forced a fumble and had a solo tackle (four total) in the Huskies’ 34-20 loss to Louisville.