Bentonville junior tight end Jack Kraus (6-5, 235, 4.9) may have grown up as a Kansas fan because of his parents, but he would have no problem whatsoever putting an AR in front of that Kansas on his college jersey.
Kraus, who had 4 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown in the state championship game, is viewed as one of the best 2014 prospects in Arkansas and already has offers from Utah State and Illinois.
"Both of my parents went to Kansas and graduated from there so it would be a dream to play for the Jayhawks, but it would also be a dream to play for the Razorbacks, too," Kraus said. "Arkansas is an elite football program and the atmosphere at the games is fantastic."
Kraus had a limited amount of catches in 2011, but is expected to be a much bigger part of the Bentonville offense this season as some talented wide receivers and star quarterback Dallas Hardison have graduated.
"It's great that I am going to get to be a bigger part of the offense this season," Kraus said. "We did a lot of things this spring with a lot of routes for the tight ends. It's exciting."
Kraus, who shared time with senior tight end and Southwest Baptist signee Justin Caylor, is working to improve his overall game.
"I think I have really good hands and can get a lot of yards after the catch," Kraus said. "But I want to keep working hard on my routes, get faster and continue to get stronger."
The Tigers were looking for a second straight Class 7A state title and a third in five years after racing to a 13-0 start.
But conference rival Fayetteville upset Bentonville 29-28 in overtime when the Purple Bulldogs tied the game late in regulation and then eventually won it on a touchdown and two-point conversion in overtime.
"We had such a great year and then for it to end like that was so tough," Kraus said. "It's pushed us to work harder in the off-season to make sure that doesn't happen again. We have a great coaching staff and we are focused on having another great season."
Bentonville opens its 2012 season with a game at Kansas City (MO) Rockhurst on Aug. 31 with its regular season finale against Fayetteville on Nov. 2.
"We play such a great schedule that you can't take a day off from getting better," Kraus said. "We've been playing 7-on-7 and working out every day and just looking forward to two-a-days in August."
Kraus lived in Minnesota earlier in his life, but has been in Arkansas the last 10 years.
"I have gone to a bunch of Kansas games while I've been here, but also a lot of Arkansas ones," Kraus said. "The atmosphere at the Arkansas games is unreal, much better than Kansas. But Kansas is more of a basketball school than a football one."
Kraus was surprised when Utah State sent him an offer this spring and when another came in from Illinois.
"Coach Barry Lunney, Jr. knew somebody from there and sent him a tape," Kraus said. "They liked what they saw and gave me an offer. Not too much longer after that Illinois did, too."
He's hoping that Arkansas and some others will come through with those as well.
"I'm hearing from Arkansas State and the University of Central Arkansas and I am hoping that I can have a good year this year and schools like Arkansas will offer," Kraus said. "It would be great to have the opportunity to play at Arkansas. That would be playing in the SEC and for the best against the best."
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