Earlier this summer there was a lot of surprise when Pine Bluff junior tight end Will Gragg announced Ole Miss as his leader.
After all, Gragg (6-4, 245) had just watched his brother Chris finished up an outstanding career for Arkansas that resulted in him being drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
But Gragg noted that he was just getting to know the new Razorback coaching staff headed up by former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema – a process that continued with a visit to Fayetteville on Sunday with his mother Tenita.
"My mom had not had a chance to visit with the new coaches, but today she had a chance to meet with each and every coach – including Coach B," Gragg said. "She was very impressed with all of them and thinks they care about the players more than just as football players. They made a great impression on her, just as they have on me."
The result for a young man that has offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt?
"I don't have a leader anymore," Gragg said. "All four of the schools are even."
He also got a chance to see the new Fred W. Smith Football Operations Center.
"It was amazing," Gragg said. "I've been to see both Arkansas and Alabama now and they both have A-1 plus facilities. Both are top of the line."
Gragg noted that his relationship with the Arkansas coaches continues to grow.
"They have made a great impression on me and I think that are all great coaches and great guys," Gragg said. "I really think they are going to do great things at Arkansas."
Gragg plans to attend the Razorbacks' second game of the season – a contest against Samford in Little Rock on Sept. 7 – as well as games in Fayetteville against Texas A&M and South Carolina.
He also plans to make trips to see Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt – who offered two weeks ago – play this season.
Pine Bluff begins practice on Monday with a very youthful team.
"We lost 29 seniors and 19 of our 22 starters," Gragg said. "So we are going to be really, really young, but the young guys have been working hard in the weight room in the off-season and we are going to practice hard and get better every day."
The Zebras will have a scrimmage at West Memphis on Aug. 28 and then start the season by hosting Fort Smith Northside on Sept. 6, visiting cross-town rival Watson Chapel on Sept. 13 and then traveling to face highly-regarded North Little Rock on Sept. 20.
"We have to be ready go to from day one," Gragg said. "We are playing some very good teams."
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