Booneville quarterback Peyton Tatum is one of roughly 6,000 football players in Arkansas this season. He’s one of 13 who will be named a Hooten’s Football Scholar Athlete of the Week.
With several senior classmates, including a few teammates, looking on today, Tatum was presented the award in a classroom at the high school by David “Coach D” Daniel of First Community Bank in Jonesboro, who sponsors the award.
First Community has sponsored the award for three years and Tatum is the first Bearcat to be tabbed for the award.
Tatum drew the attention of the magazine for his 4.2 grade point average, 31 ACT score, and a 1200 PSAT score.
“Not only is he getting it done on the football field, he’s getting it done in the classroom,” Daniel said. “And we know that one day the football will be over, and what we have left is what we have done in the classroom.”
Tatum’s 2022 fall semester load includes three Advanced Placement (AP) classes – chemistry, literature and calculus. The calculus course is the favorite he said.
Speaking with Thomas Thrash of Hooten’s, Tatum said it was his parents – Todd and Melissa – who instilled the need to keep not just up with his homework and studies, but to excel.
Future plans include an engineering degree, a tip of the cap to mom.
“She’s got a great work ethic so I’d like to follow in her footsteps,” Tatum said.
Mom and dad, Tatum’s first little league football coach, both do, he added.
“Probably the toughest coach I ever had. First one to chew me out and the first one to give me a high-five when I’ve done something good,” said Tatum.
Tatum also mentioned that his brother Dalton, now a senior at Arkansas Tech and a Booneville graduate who played on the 2018 state title team, was pretty good, but who's better?
"Me, for sure," he said.
On Friday nights besides being under center on offense Tatum plays as a safety on defense.
Tatum has run for 222 yards and a touchdown but unlike some quarterbacks, his main job is largely that of director – he led three 90+ yard drives in a game against Mansfield.
“Coach (Doc) Crowley does a great job installing a ‘practice makes perfect’ mentality so that when we get out there you just take over and it comes natural,” said Tatum.
Crowley said the key factor with Tatum is brain power.
“He makes up for what he may not have in speed or whatever it may be with his intelligence, knowing where to be. He’s always going to put you in a good situation,” said Crowley. “He’s got some guys around him and we don’t have to call his number too much, but when we do he does a very good job being dependable and he's not going to put you in a bad spot.”
That carries over to defense.
“He plays safety for us too and gets the guys lined up where they’re supposed to be. He’s kind of a quarterback on both sides of the ball,” said Crowley. “We put a lot on him and it’s easy to do with a kid like that.”
Tatum is also an example for the younger generation.
“We take a lot of pride in kids coming up through the program not only being great football players but also great in the classroom,” Crowley adds. “He was that kid not long ago looking at the other guys and now they’re looking at him and he’s everything you could ask for in a leader.”