The Right Choice

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Pottsville offensive lineman Jeremy Ward (6-4, 290), who chose Arkansas over LSU and has some thoughts on Friday's big match-up. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers.

Arkansas offensive line commitment Jeremy Ward of Pottsville remembers the moment very well from last spring.

Ward (6-4, 290) was at a track meet when LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa came up to him and uttered the following.

"LSU offered me right after Arkansas and I remember Coach Studrawa showing up at one of track meets in the spring," Ward said. "He said we really like you as a player and if you want to come play for SEC and national championships, then you'll come play for us."

Problem for LSU was that Ward grew up wanting to be a Razorback and also had a belief that Arkansas was going to be doing the same over the next few years.

Indeed on Friday the No. 3 Razorbacks (10-1, 6-1) and the No. 1 Tigers (11-0, 7-0) will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge with a lot on the line.

CBS will televise the SEC West showdown with the winner certainly having a shot to play in not only the SEC championship game, but more importantly the national championship one.

"It's interesting how it has turned out," Ward said. "LSU has had a great season and so have we. They both have great programs and it's all on the line Friday."

Ward got offers from Arkansas, LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State – the top four teams in this week's BCS standings – in addition to Ole Miss.

"I feel very blessed to have such great programs want me to play for them, but I know I made the right choice," Ward said. "I have no doubt about that."

Not many people are giving the Razorbacks – a double-digit underdog – a chance to win the game.

That's much like Ward and Pottsville (11-0-1), who are playing traditional Arkansas power Pulaski Academy (11-0) Friday night in a Class 4A quarterfinal state playoff game.

Ward's Apaches are coming off a 49-16 rout of Clinton while the Bruins – who have scored less than 40 points only once this season - hammered Osceola 57-18.

"I think there are a lot of people saying that we have no chance against Pulaski Academy just like they are saying that about Arkansas and LSU," Ward said. "But that's not the way we look at it at all.

"Our goal is to make them play all four quarters for the first time this season and try to make them play our game," Ward said. "I have so much confidence in our team and we are going into this game with the mindset that we are going to win it.

"I think that is what is happening with Arkansas as well," Ward said. "They are not going down to LSU just to play close. They are going down to win and I believe they can and will."

The Pottsville-Pulaski Academy will certainly be a contrast in style as the Bruins are a pass-oriented offense while Ward is a force blocking in the Apaches' Dead T.

"We want to make them to play our style of game as much as possible," Ward said. "We want to drive the football and keep them off the field and limit their big plays."

Jeremy Ward

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