High school football: McArthur signs with L-R Bears

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

By Mike London

SPENCER — One of the headliners for the 38-man recruiting class announced by Lenoir-Rhyne University is North Rowan receiver Amari McArthur.

North held a signing celebration recently for McArthur, known affectionately as “The General.” He has the skills, the physical presence (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) and the speed (4.5) to become a major factor in the South Atlantic Conference for the Bears.

“I’m proud to see how he has developed and proud to see him accomplish his goal of reaching the next level,” North head coach Nygel Pearson said. “I’ve enjoyed watching him catch balls for three years and run past people for three years.”

The 18-year-old standout played recently in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa, with rosters made up mostly of Division I signees. McArthur had one catch for 13 yards in that all-star game and had success returning kickoffs.

“I felt like I could compete with any of the guys there,” McArthur said. “It was a really good experience for me going to Florida, and I held my own.”

McArthur had Division I offers, including Elon, Richmond and South Carolina State (where North Rowan icon Javon Hargrave made a name for himself), plus a host of Division II offers. Most of the CIAA offered him, but he said he knew when he visited Lenoir-Rhyne that Hickory would be his future home.

“It felt right, felt like I was part of the Bear family as soon as I got there on my official visit,” McArthur said. “It was my decision, but it was also a decision I talked over with the family because my family means everything to me. It’s the best fit for me and for them. They’ll be able to see me play.”

McArthur showed exciting potential and vast promise as a sophomore for the Cavaliers and broke out in a big way as a junior. The game on Sept. 3, 2021, against North Stanly was one for the books. With the help of young quarterback Jeremiah Alford, McArthur broke school and county single-game receiving records, turning five catches into 273 yards — that’s 54.6 yards per catch — and three touchdowns in a 36-32 victory.

“Looking back on my high school career, that was the most memorable game,” McArthur said.

His junior year included 16 touchdown catches, a school record for a season at a school that has provided a high percentage of the county’s aerial adventures.

His senior season brought constant double teams and North ran the ball quite a bit with McArthur spreading out defenses, but McArthur’s name still was all over the school record book by the end of his senior year.

He holds North’s records for career receiving yardage (2,424) and touchdown catches (32). He’s in the top six in county history in the three main receiving categories — TD catches, receiving yards and career receptions (129).

Beyond the stat sheet, McArthur has made an impressive transition from quiet sophomore to confident senior, and he’s done the job in the classroom.

“It’s been good to watch his growth on and off the field,” Pearson said. “He’s matured as a young man.”

McArthur is among the county’s top multi-sport athletes and is on the short list of potential athletes of the year. He excels in the sprints in track and field and he plays steady and unselfish basketball for the Cavaliers. He made the all-tournament team at the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic.

He enjoys competing in basketball and track, but he’s known since that epic North Stanly game that football would be his ticket to a college scholarship.

“The recruiting landscape has changed a lot because of the transfer portal, and colleges aren’t taking as many high school guys as they used to,” Pearson said. “Recruiting can be a frustrating experience, but Amari has landed in a good place. L-R has shown him for a long time how much they wanted him, and it’s a great fit. He should compete for playing time early.”