Jared Cornelius grew up wanting to play college football, but did not expect his dream to become a reality.
They are nearing reality, however, as the Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, La.) wide receiver has received six offers to play collegiate football in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
"It's been surprising to see these schools that I always wanted to go to, but I've never really thought I would be able to go to see interest in me is pretty cool," Cornelius said.
Throughout his recruitment process, Cornelius said the best part has been fielding interviews from reporters all over the country.
"The best part, I would say, is probably getting to do these interviews," he said. "I get calls just about everyday. So this is probably the best part about the recruiting process."
Cornelius, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver, is a 2014 prospect and has been offered from schools all over the country, including from the West Coast (San Diego State) to the Southeastern Conference (Arkansas and Tennessee) and a few places in between (Houston, Louisiana Tech and Tulsa). He said there is appeal to each of the schools that have offered him so far.
"Arkansas and Tennessee appealing being in the SEC," Cornelius said. "They'll have the chance to get me to the next level. San Diego State throws the heck out of the ball. At Houston, the receiver coach was my receiver coach at my high school. And Tulsa is nice and coach Peterson seems like a cool person and he has put a lot of players in the NFL."
The Razorbacks have had four wide receivers, three of which combined to surpass several previous school records, drafted in the last two years, but the high-flying passing attack may not be one Arkansas uses quite like it did under Bobby Petrino. Still, at Wisconsin, Bret Bielema and his coaching staff helped Nick Toon develop into a fourth-round NFL draft pick and Cornelius is confident Bielema and his potential positional coach, Michael Smith, could help develop him into a professional wide receiver as well.
"I like Arkansas' offensive style and the new coaching staff seems really nice overall," he said. "I think they can prepare me for the NFL.
"I met with (Smith) and he is obviously a very excited guy. In the meeting when he offered me, he was screaming and jumping up and down. So he seems like a pretty cool dude and I think we would have some fun if I did choose Arkansas.
"He told me that he thinks I could be an impact player and would have a chance to get some early playing time. If I can go in and listen and follow instructions they give me and just be a coachable player, I should get a chance at some early playing time."
Cornelius said he has not gotten to see the facilities or campus yet, but he will visit Arkansas for the first time on July 19.
"I just want to go see if I can see myself there," he said. "I won't go to a college that doesn't suit me. While football is the reason that I'm getting to go to college, it's not the only thing I'm going to college for. It's not just about football for me.
"I'm looking forward to going to Fayetteville and seeing the city for myself and learning more about the program."
Cornelius has chance at a "dream come true"
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