JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – The Arkansas State Lettermen's Club will induct four new members into the A-State Hall of Honor when the club holds the annual Lettermen's Banquet Friday, Nov. 7 at the Cooper Alumni Center on the campus of Arkansas State University.
Former A-State track and field athlete Daniel Ryland, linebacker Ron Smith, defensive end Robert Speer and tennis standout Marina Engelbrecht-Cooper have been selected as the 2014 inductees. Ryland lettered at Arkansas State from 1998-2000 and again in 2002, while Smith was a standout on the football team in the late 1970s. Speer was a four-year starter, ranks among the school's best in career sacks and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1977 NFL draft. Engelbrecht played tennis from 2003-06 and is one of the most accomplished players in the sport in Red Wolves history.
Ryland was a world-class track and field athlete and competed in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races and the pole vault and decathlon events. He holds the A-State record for the most points scored in a decathlon with 7,395, a mark he set in 2000. He also held the previous Arkansas State decathlon points record of 7,031 that was set in June of 1998 at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. Ryland is a two-time champion in the decathlon at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, claiming the top spot in 1997 and 1998.
The Deville, La., native also racked up several Sun Belt Conference championships during his career. He was the SBC Outdoor Track and Field top scorer in 1999 with 25.5 points and also captured the decathlon championship with 6,631 points. During his indoor career, he won championships in the 200 and 400-meter dashes and the SBC Indoor Track and Field pole-vaulting championship in 2002. His time of 21.18 seconds in the 200-meter dash is the ninth fastest in A-State history and his time of 10.46 is 10th fastest in the 100-meter dash.
Smith was a four-year letterman on the Arkansas State football team and amassed 422 tackles, which ranks third all-time in Red Wolves history for a career. He also ranks third all-time for most tackles in a single season with 151 in 1979. He was elected to the Academic All-Southland Conference and First Team All-Southland Conference Teams in 1979. He is also tied for fourth all-time at A-State for best tackle average per contest in a single season (1979) with 13.7 stops per game. Smith averaged 9.6 tackles per game throughout his 44-game career which also ranks fourth all-time at Arkansas State. He was selected to the Second Team Southland All-Conference Squad in 1978 and is tied for seventh all-time for most tackles in one game with 20 against Lamar in his senior season.
The 1976 Arkansas State team that Smith played on is eighth all-time for most interceptions return yards in a season with 263. The 1977 team is tied for fifth all-time for most quarterback sacks in a season (39), tied for third for most fumble recoveries (21), and tied for first for most fumbles by opponents with 45. The 1978 team is second all-time for most quarterback sacks in a season with 45, tied for second for most fumble recoveries in a game with five against Texas-Arlington, and tied for fifth all-time for allowing the fewest touchdown passes in a single season with three. During Smith's career Arkansas State amassed 23 wins and 21 losses.
Speer was a four-year starter at defensive end and helped A-State to a perfect 11-0 season in 1975. He was a three-time All-Southland Conference selection as a junior and senior and is tied for third on the career sacks list at Arkansas State with 21. He is also tied for sixth on the single season sack list with 10 during the 1976 season. During his career, Speer forced 10 fumbles, had three fumble recoveries, five pass knock-down, 205 tackles and had 27 stops behind the line of scrimmage for 182 lost yards.
At the end of his senior season he participated in two all-star games including the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 24, 1976, and the American Bowl in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 2 1997. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 9th round of the 1977 NFL draft after accumulating 10 sacks, three pass knock-downs and 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage during his senior season. He was selected to the all-time A-State Team (1909-1975) and was a member of the Southland Conference 1970s all-decade team.
Engelbrecht is one of the most decorated women's tennis players in school history and owns many of the school's top records. She compiled a 37-9 record playing from the No. 1 spot in the lineup and had a 46-17 overall record. Over the final two years of her playing career she was 29-5, including a 13-2 mark as a junior and 16-3 record in her senior season. As a doubles player she compiled a 38-15 record, including 11-win seasons as a freshman and senior.
Engelbrecht was also awarded the Terry Gwin award at the conclusion of her senior season in 2006. It is the highest award that an A-State student-athlete can receive and takes into account leadership, citizenship, scholarship and athletic performance.
The Lettermen's Club would like to encourage all former Hall of Honor inductees to attend. The banquet will be open to the public, and tickets can be purchased by contacting the Red Wolves Foundation at 870-972-2401. The event is set to get underway at 6:30 p.m.