Jeff Reed: TCU Transfer Says Jonesboro ‘Feels Like Home’


Jeff Reed Author PageCameron Echols-Luper, the top punt returner at TCU, showed up in Jonesboro the other night as the Arkansas State Red Wolves were wrapping up their final major scrimmage of the preseason.

The buzz that preceded his arrival started less than 24 hours earlier when it broke on Twitter that he was leaving TCU, where he was an All-Conference kick returner and Big 12 champion long Jump champion, and was headed to Arkansas State.

To borrow a line from our second favorite newscaster (right behind “Ted Baxter, the anchor man”) Ron Burgundy this is “kind of a big deal.”

Echols-Luper is the second big-time transfer to hit A-State in two months. The other is defensive lineman Dee Liner, who came over from Alabama.

That all bodes well for 2016, when the Red Wolves will lose some of their headliners, mostly on offense, but return all almost off the offensive and defensive fronts.

Can Echols-Luper be the heir apparent at quarterback to Fredi Knighten? He might be. In a lot of ways he is like a bigger, faster Knighten but he has not played quarterback since his prep days at Auburn, Ala. He will get this year to dust off the rust and when he does he will have a semi-incumbent, redshirt freshman James Tabary, this season’s backup quarterback, waiting for the competition.

How Echols-Luper, rated among the five fastest players in college football, wound up in Jonesboro is not a mystery if you look closely. Some of his roots are planted in Auburn, Ala., where he was teammates with Red Wolves Griffin Riggs and Blaise Taylor, the son of A-State assistant coach Trooper Taylor.

CEL’s father Curtis Lupe, is the running backs coach at TCU, is friends with Trooper Taylor and has ties to several A-State coaches, including Blake Anderson.

When his son arrived in Jonesboro Saturday their were overheard comments of it being like old times from a couple of Red Wolves. Echols-Luper said it “was home” because of so many family ties and friends.

Perhaps even more excited about his transfer to Arkansas State is Red Wolves track coach Jim Patchell, who said he knew nothing of it until Friday night. And under NCAA rules, he will be eligible to compete for ASU this year since he was granted his release from TCU.

A program that was knocking on the door of the Top 25 has a chance to go even higher now. Last year’s, Big 12 long jump champion joins A-State’s Roelf Pienaar to give the Red Wolves one of the top combos in that even nationally. Pienaar finished third at the NCAA and Echols-Luper was ninth.

While he placed in the nationals, he adds more to the Red Wolves’ spring crew, where he was a top-rated 200 meter man and relay member.

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Jeff Reed is editor of

TCU Cameron Echols-Luper


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