It's A New Day

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Arkansas commit and North Little Rock tailback Juan Day (6-1, 215) - who showed off his vision, power and yes - his speed - in his season opener last week and looks to do the same this Friday night against a Mississippi prep power.

There are some who have questioned the speed of Arkansas tailback commit Juan Day because he has not put down any electrifying 40-yard dash times.

It's doubtful that any of those are members of a Lake Hamilton defense that watched him go 89 yards for a score early in the Charging Wildcats' 55-13 season-opening win last Friday night.

"That was a great way to start the season and should show people that on a football field with my pads on that I am as a fast as I need to be to get to the end zone," Day said. "I've never going to be a track guy. I'm just going to be a guy that sees the hole, hits it and tries to take to it to the house."

Day - who racked up 151 yards on 13 carries in the opener - is now 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds according to North Little Rock head coach Brad Bolding.

He'll get his next chance to impress Friday night when one of the top teams in Arkansas host one of the top in Mississippi in South Panola.

"He looks the part of an SEC back now – big, strong and fast," Bolding said. "He's not going to line up in the 40 and run a great time like (former NLR and current Alabama freshman tailback) Altee (Tenpenny). He's just not a track guy.

"But he has caught up and passed Altee in terms of vision and just hitting the hole as soon as it opens," Bolding said. "He can run over you, around you or away from you. He is so hard to bring down.

"It is like night and day from last season," Bolding continued. "He has confidence, he is more of a leader and he knows it is his show now that Altee has moved on."

Day, who rushed for 930 yards and 13 touchdowns last season while splitting time with Tenpenny, actually had his first start last week.

"People may think its strange, but it really was exciting for me and I'll admit to having butterflies," Day said. "But once we got to playing, it was just taking care of my business."

Day knows that the competition level will improve with the game against South Panola (3-0), a tradition-rich program which is located in Batesville, Miss.

"They are a great football team and we have to clean up things and make sure we don't make mistakes because this is a team that can take advantage of it if you do," Day said. "We played good last week, but we need to play great this week."

Day certainly welcomes the addition of former Bryant standout K.J. Hill (6-1, 180), a junior who transferred to North Little Rock in the spring and went through drills.

Hill had 5 catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns and also a 99-yard kickoff return for a score.

"He's a great player," Day said. "Now we can get it done on the ground and with him through the air. No one is going to be able to key on one thing with us."

Hill got an offer from Arkansas last Saturday and encouragement from Day to go ahead and commit.

"I was telling him ‘you know what you need to do and that's just go ahead and say you are a Razorback,'" Day said. "I think he'll join us in the end."

Day has made the first two Arkansas games and is impressed with what he sees from the new staff.

"I'm really excited about winning the first two games and can see how great a coaching staff Arkansas has," Day said. "It tells me that are going to do great things with the team."

Juan Day

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