Photo by Meghann Bledsoe

Senior athletes: pro on the mind

April 24, 2024

By Kelsie Lawhon, Staff Writer

With graduation only a few weeks away, graduating student-athletes are making plans for their post-college athletic careers. Many Ouachita athletes are considering what opportunities professional sports have to offer them.

According to, “Currently, there are about 50 D2 players in the NFL.” Ouachita has a small history of former football players going pro. Eight so far have played in the NFL, including the first Ouachita football player to be selected in the NFL draft, 2021 graduate Gregory Junior. Ouachita’s football stadium is named after another notable tiger to play in the NFL from 1970 to 1979, Cliff Harris.

Only four Ouachita baseball players have made it to the major leagues. According to, There were 22 D2 MLB draft picks in 2021, 17 in 2022 and 14 in 2023.

Ouachita running back Kendel Givens plans to pursue his lifelong dream of playing professional football upon graduating. Givens made the All-Great American Conference Second Team as a backup running back in 2022. He finished the 2022 season with 142 carries for 943 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. He also scored against Southwestern Oklahoma State with a 77-yard rush, the longest rush of the 2022 season. He registered at least 100 yards in 4 out of the 12 games; his season high was 142 yards. He is a high achiever academically; he was named on the Ouachita Dean’s List in 2022 and 2023 and the President’s List in 2022. He plans to stay at Ouachita to attend graduate school in the department of education. 

“I plan to continue to play football at the pro level, and I think that I have been groomed by the best of the best, Todd Knight along with my high school coaches,” Givens said. He is also interested in pursuing broadcasting and teaching. He believes that football has taught him many valuable lessons. He has learned selflessness and mental toughness through playing football. 

“God has blessed me tremendously to be able to play sports beyond the high school level, and with that, He has brought me great opportunities,” Givens said. Moving forward, discipline and the value of hard work will be the two aspects he will take with him into the professional world.

Senior catcher and outfielder Mikey Quinones begins another successful season as a starter for this OBU Tiger baseball squad. (photo by Baseline Photography)

Ouachita baseball player Michael Quinones will also be pursuing a professional career in baseball. Quinones played catcher, designated hitter and infield during the 2023 season. Quinones was selected to the All-Great American Conference Second Team as well as the Natural State Baseball All-Arkansas Team. He ranked second on the team with 73 hits, 11 home runs and an RBI of 49. He ended the 2023 season with an 11-game hitting streak. He was also named on the 2022 Ouachita Dean’s List. 

“When I look back on my collegiate career and to this day on some things that I have personally grown on and achieved, it is not only my skills on the field, but my mindset,” Quinones said. He explains that it is helpful to have a “goldfish mentality,” meaning when things don’t go as planned, to let go and start fresh the next day. He believes that the two most important aspects that collegiate baseball players need to have is the ability to be coachable and the ability to be a team player, no matter the circumstances. 

“The advice I would give to incoming athletes beginning their collegiate career would be to stay focused and have fun,” Quinones said. 

The Ouachita community is excited to see what the future holds for these athletes as they continue on their path to pursuing professional sports. For more information about their impressive collegiate careers and statistics, go to

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