Birmingham (AL) Jackson Olin middle linebacker Beau Hankins was no doubt thinking the same thing many Arkansas fans were during the No. 6 Razorbacks' 29-16 Cotton Bowl win over No. 8 Kansas State on Friday night.
How in the world does Razorback wide receiver/punt returner Joe Adams do that?
"Man, we had a group of people over here watching it and Joe took off on that punt return for a touchdown and we just went wild," Hankins said. "He's amazing. No matter what, he always seems to steal the show. I am hoping to get a chance to meet him this weekend."
Hankins (6-2, 230) is indeed taking an official visit to Arkansas this weekend along with former Jackson Olin prep teammate and outside linebacker Harding Harper (6-2, 215) of Montgomery (AL) Carver.
"We played at the same school until this year and we used to call it the Beau and Harper Show," Hankins said. "We would love to end up at the same place playing college football."
Hankins, who had 121 tackles this past season, does not try to hide the fact that Arkansas is his leader among a total of 26 schools that have offered.
He plans to commit to Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino after the visit if all goes well.
"Yes, that is legitimate and that's definitely my plan if I get up there and it is all I think it is," Hankins said. "I want to get up there, look things over, talk to the coaches and players and just open up my heart to Coach Petrino and let him know how I feel about Arkansas and see how he feels about me."
Although it hasn't been announced officially yet, Arkansas linebacker coach Reggie Johnson is heading to join former Arkansas offensive coordinator and new UAB head coach Garrick McGee.
"That's kind of a bummer that Coach Johnson is going to UAB because I had a really good relationship with him," Hankins said, "but it is more about Arkansas just being a place I think I could really be happy at and helping to continue the Razorbacks being one of the best programs in the nation."
Hankins is looking forward to meeting new Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes this weekend, especially after the effort the Razorback defense put forth against Kansas State.
"They played great, just great," Hankins said. "They played with a lot of fire and intensity. I think I would really love being a part of that. I would love to come in and start, but even if it is just coming off the bench and giving the veterans a rest and playing special teams, I just want to help out."
Hankins – whose favorite linebacker is Baltinore Ravens All-Pro Ray Lewis - is a traditional middle linebacker in the mold of what Arkansas is looking for in the 2012 recruiting class.
"I think I have a nice combination of speed and size and one of my strengths is I give it my all on every play no matter if I have hurt, sick or swollen," Hankins said. "I try to go 100 percent on every play and leave everything I have on the field.
"I have a great ability at finding the ball and – like most great linebackers talk about – I am trying to punish that guy once I arrive," Hankins added. "I also think that I have very good hips and can cover backs and tight ends when it is a passing situation."
Hankins says that is the same case with Harper, who took a visit to Florida International with him back on Dec. 9-11.
"He has the same hunger to get to the football that I do," Hankins said. "He is also very long in that he has a wingspan of 6-11 so he is really athletic and can cover. He is being recruited as an outside linebacker, but I can see him playing strong safety because he has great hips and can really run."
Hankins, a 4.0 student who also has offers from Stanford, Iowa State, Wake Forest, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others, is slated to take a visit to Central Florida on Jan. 20.
"I just can't wait to get up to Arkansas this weekend," Hankins said. "Playing in the SEC and playing for a great program like Arkansas is just something that really has me excited about the future."
Hankins Brings The Hammer
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