It was just last year that saw Arkansas and Arkansas State butt heads over a Bearden High School prospect in Defonta Lowe. This year looks to be shaping up for similar race for Bearden linebacker B.J. Ross. Although he hasn't received an offer from either school, the interest is there for both after a strong camp outings in Fayetteville and Jonesboro.
"I thought Arkansas State had a great atmosphere," said B.J. Ross. "I'm not sure about their team history, but I know they have a really good defense. My cousin, Ben Owens (also from Bearden) played there and did real well. The main two schools showing me interest right now are Arkansas and Arkansas State and I'm also hearing from ULM."
Ross, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound has started at Bearden since his sophomore season. As a junior, Ross made 95 tackles on defense, but also rushed for 587 yards on 103 carries with 15 touchdowns. He was named All-State (2A) and All-District (2A/8). While at the Arkansas State camp, Ross had a chance to speak with first year linebackers coach, Brandon Hall.
"After camp, [Hall] was telling me that he liked my performance," Ross said. "He said he was impressed with my quickness and my footwork. I'm definitely looking to play on the defensive side of the ball [in college] and Coach Hall would be a great guy to play for.
"The three things I'm considering are the academics, how the football team looks, and my comfort level with the coaches."
Arkansas State was successful in recruiting Bearden's DeWayne Watts in the class of 2008. Unfortunately, Watts would fail to qualify but made it back to Division 1 football at UAPB. The Bearden Bears begin their 2012 season with a home game against Harmony Grove. Look for Ross in the middle of the Bears 3-5-3 defense wearing jersey No. 5.