National Signing Day in any collegiate sport is a very special day for high school athletes who have worked hard to realize their dreams of playing on the collegiate level. It is a special day for the athletes, their coaches, schools, communities, and families. One of the greatest thrills for me is to see high school athletes have the opportunity to play collegiate sports and to earn a college degree. One very special Charleston Tiger has made his decision to remain a Tiger and to play football at Ouachita Baptist University. Dalton Curtis, a very talented athlete who has always played any position his coaches needed him to play for the good of the entire team, has seen his unselfishness and strong work ethic payoff with a scholarship to play college football.
In an official press release from Ouachita Baptist, the University announced the signing of Curtis in the announcement below, as well as in a video on Twitter. To view a highlight reel on Dalton at Charleston High School, click on the “Highlight Reel” link in the press release below.
Dalton Curtis – WR
6’0″ | 195 | Charleston, Ark. | Charleston | Highlight Reel
Curtis was named All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State as a senior at Charleston High School. He caught 26 passes for 420 yards and scored eight total touchdowns while also making 30 tackles. Curtis helped Charleston extend Arkansas’ longest-running streak of playoff appearances.
Remarking about this year’s incoming Ouachita football class of signees, head coach Todd Knight expressed his feelings for a class that has a history of overcoming adversity, making this class a group that has great work ethic and is willing to work hard and make OBU a winning football program. On the OBU football website, Coach Knight expressed his feelings for this class as follows:
Dalton played two seasons, his junior and senior years, under head coach Ricky May who came to Charleston in the spring of 2019 and coached his first season later that fall. Dalton said, “It was kind of weird because I had always played under one coach until Coach May arrived. Coach May is a very upbeat guy, very optimistic; so it was just different.”
Dalton competed at the quarterback position in 2019 and 2020. When Coach May asked Dalton to play in other positions, Dalton was unselfish and told the coach that he wanted to play wherever it would benefit the team the most. “I really don’t care where I am on the field as long as I know I can contribute.” So this year, Dalton played wide receiver, defensive back, running back, safety, corner, wherever he was needed. On defense, Dalton had over 30 unassisted tackles in the 2020 season. In fact, Coach May said at one point he needed a punt returner, and Dalton was put in the game as a punt returner. A truly unselfish athlete that is becoming more and more unusual in today’s world of high school and collegiate sports.
Consistency in winning and making the playoffs is part of the Charleston football culture. In fact, Ouachita remarked that Dalton played high school football at a program that leads the state of Arkansas in consecutive years of football playoff appearances. It is just what is expected; both by the community, and within Dalton’s family. Dalton is one of many generations in his family that attended the Charleston school district, and his father was on the football team that began the consecutive streak of football playoff appearances by the Tigers. Dalton is a winner that has grown up and played in a winning culture, and I am sure Ouachita fans are hoping he will bring his winning ways to the Ouachita football program.
Ouachita lists Dalton as a wide receiver on their signing class list. I asked him if that is where Ouachita head coach Todd Knight had indicated their plans for him to play when he arrives in Arkadelphia. Dalton replied, “So far, going in, that is what I am expecting. But who knows? They may decide to move me.”
In the spirit of not disclosing private educational records information, I will not publish Dalton’s grade point average at Charleston. However, I will tell our readers that it is very high. In fact, Dalton plans to earn a degree in perhaps biology and go on to become a radiologist. And if that is what he truly wants to do at Ouachita, I am sure Dalton will become an excellent radiologist. Coach May added that Dalton has already earned numerous college academic hours from having taken concurrent credit classes at Charleston that will transfer to Ouachita.
Dalton chose Ouachita over Lyon College who had recruited him heavily throughout the season. Dalton said, “Lyon wanted me really bad. Before last season, I visited Lyon College, and in the middle of my quarantine, they offered me a scholarship to play. And then, I kind of held out on it and I wanted to wait to get every possible offer that actually wanted me before I made a decision. A few months ago, Ouachita contacted me. And we set up a visit and I went down there. I loved it!”
So just like his Coach, Ricky May who was offered a scholarship to play at Ouachita in 1989, Dalton was offered and will enroll this fall. According to Coach May, Ouachita has told him that the large majority of incoming freshmen football players are red shirted. The Tigers are building a program of four and five year seniors rather than young freshmen on the field. This will be an excellent opportunity for Dalton to develop physically and emotionally to college and collegiate football. Ouachita is known for academic excellence, and a red shirt year will give Dalton the chance to get a good start academically before he is expected to contribute more and more in the football program.
Coach May put together the highlight video that is embedded in the Ouachita tweet that is included in this story above. The Charleston coaches do an excellent job of not only expecting loyalty from their players, but returning that loyalty to their players by working to help them get evaluated and eventually offered opportunities to play college sports. It is part of the reason why Charleston is consistently competitive in high school sports as they have the reputation of helping students take the next steps to their dreams of playing college athletics. Not all schools do this, but in Charleston, it is part of the culture of excellence that they take pride in with all of their students.
On behalf of everyone at Resident Press, we would like to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to Dalton, his family, and to Coach May and the Charleston football program. We wish Dalton the best of success as a Ouachita Tiger!