The research for the annual Hawgs Illustrated football recruiting issue is always great fun. Calling the high school coaches — and that's wrapping up this week — for the scoop on the new Arkansas class provides a great perspective and some wonderful nuggets.
But this year produced a first, a coach claiming a previous Razorback star as one of his products. Owasso, Okla., coach Bill Patterson said he would keep 2012 UA signee Keon Hatcher on his cell phone contact list close to Quinn Grovey's number.
That notation came at what could have been the end of the interview, until the reporter asked if there were any good Grovey stories? Patterson said the first real highlight tape moment for Grovey from his Duncan (Okla.) High days was worth telling.
"Quinn was our quarterback as a sophomore," Patterson said. "It was in the state finals against Broken Bow. We were up 7-0 and we held Broken Bow to force a punt with 16 seconds left in the half. We were going to get it back maybe midfield and try to do something. We were getting a play ready on the sideline with Quinn."
Patterson said the Duncan head coach grabbed the punt return specialist for some instruction. He wanted a fair catch to preserve as much time as possible. The ball hit the ground and it rolled, rolled and rolled — all the way to the 16-yard line. Almost all of the time clicked off the first-half clock.
"Our head coach was pretty mad," Patterson said. "He grabbed Quinn and told him just to take a knee and called a quarterback sneak."
Patterson knew it was time to get ready for the halftime locker room. He turned away from the field to take his head sets to the table near the bench.
"I heard everyone yelling and I turned around to see Quinn sprinting ahead of everyone at midfield," Patterson said. "He took the quarterback sneak 84 yards for a touchdown."
That was too much momentum for Broken Bow to overcome.
"It was game over at that point," Patterson said. "That's not a play I'll ever forget."
Patterson remembers how Arkansas got Grovey.
"That was an interesting time for great quarterbacks in Oklahoma," he said. "You had a bunch coming out around the same point. There was also Charles Thompson and Mike Gundy in the same era Quinn played."
Oklahoma, with Jamelle Holieway, was set at quarterback. Gundy was the star QB at Oklahoma State.
"It was perfect for Arkansas to get Quinn," Patterson said. "He's one of my favorite players."
So is Hatcher, the four-star wideout with 174 catches over the past two seasons at Owasso. Hatcher made a Grovey-like play that Patterson won't soon forget.
"Keon had his signature play against Union," he said. "It was in our 95-yard drive to beat them at Union when we ended their 85-game home winning streak.
"It was fourth-and-nine. Keon went up with three guys on him. Two had one of his arms pinned to his side. He got it with one hand. He dragged all three of them three more yards to get the first down. Pretty incredible."
There was more good stuff from the other high school and junior college coaches. But none of them could top Patterson's Quinn Grovey sophomore story.
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