The Sun Belt Conference season opener for the Warhawks matches them up against a growing rival, the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Despite lots being at stake in the game, it will mark the first reunion of former teammates.
ULM freshman JeRon Hamm and ASU sophomore Allen Muse were high school teammates at Leesville (La.) High. The former WampusCats played as bookend receivers for just one season, but developed a close kit relationship.
"We are real close and still keep in touch all the time," Muse said. "He was a few years younger than me, so I had to help him grow and develop. The biggest thing I taught him was how to use his body. Coach (Terrance) Williams really emphasized receivers had to use their body and stop playing like smaller receivers do."
Hamm left his mark at Leesville with Muse's lesions as he broke all the school's receiving records, all previously held by Muse, while leading his team into the playoffs his junior and senior seasons. Hamm's lone offer came from ULM, but received interest from Baylor, Louisiana Tech, TCU and Texas A&M. Once the chance to be a Warhawk was offered, the 6'4" receiver jumped at the opportunity in 2010.
"Playing behind Muse, I looked up to him and tried to play like him," Hamm said. "He was a guy I talked with a lot about what to expect in the college game."
After being recruited by only in-state schools, Muse took his one out of state offer and signed with Arkansas State in 2008. His career would be placed on hold that year, as it was discovered that he had a heart condition that required extensive surgery. Muse made a full recovery and played in 2009 catching six passes for 57 yards. He was also featured on ESPN Game Day for overcoming his extreme adversity to play college football.
Although the two have different assignments on their respective teams, and are not likely to square off against one another, their answer should the scenario happen though is the same.
"I have confidence in myself, so….," Muse said.
"Definitely me, I broke all his records at Leesville, so I'm the better of the two," Hamm said.
This is not the only reunion for Hamm this season. He will again face former teammates and friends Michael Ford (LSU) and Travante Stallworth (Auburn) later this season.