For the third time this season, Jonesboro junior defensive end Chuks Ota got an up close and personal look at the University of Arkansas football program.
Ota (6-2, 295), who moved to Jonesboro from Indiana four years ago, was one of 50 or so recruits on hand Saturday for the Razorbacks' 30-27 loss to Ole Miss in Little Rock.
"I hate that they ended up losing a close one, but I continue to like what I see from the players and coaches as they try to battle through adversity," Ota said. "I would really like to play for Arkansas because not only are they a great football program, but they put the emphasis on being a student-athlete and not an athlete-student."
Ota had been to the Razorbacks' previous game - a 49-7 weather-shortened win over Kentucky in Fayetteville.
"I really liked what I got to see the Fayetteville." Ota said. "Arkansas has great facilities and I really like everything they have set up academically. It is a complete program and the place I hope I can be at some day."
Ota - who has plans to be at Arkansas' game on Saturday with Tulsa - and the Hurricane are 7-3 heading after Thursday night's 56-14 win over Marion.
"We have been playing really well, trying to close out strong and we are already in the playoffs," Ota said. "We don't know who we are playing yet...We won't be the number one seed, but we will be in a good spot to make a run at state."
Ota, who made the switch from offensive line to defensive end early on in his sophomore season, has over 40 tackles and 4 sacks on the field this season.
He squats 500 pounds in bench presses 395 and has one area he would really like to get better in on the field.
"I feel real good about being able to stop the run right now, but I have to get faster," Ota said. "Right now I can't out run my own shadow so I've got to get faster."
Ota is one of several members of an outstanding 2014 defensive class in Arkansas.
That class includes defensive tackles Josh Frazier (6-4, 330) of Springdale Har-Ber and Bijohn Jackson (6-2, 312) of El Dorado, linebacker Jarvis Cooper (6-2, 230 ) of West Memphis and defensive end Jake Hall (6-5, 245) of Springdale Har-Ber.
Ota is also excelling off the field as he is the class president and already has recorded a 29 on his ACT.
He has been to a camp at Clemson, where former Jonesboro star Zac Brooks is a freshman wide receiver.
"I was impressed with what they have Clemson and I believe that Arkansas State is interested as well," Ota said. "I know there are a lot of schools like (Arkansas-) Monticello and others around the state that are interested as well. But hopefully I get an offer from Arkansas and that's where I end up."
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