Iowa Western offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola could have played the role of Grinch when it comes to Arkansas, but instead gave Razorback head coach Bret Bielema and offensive line coach Sam Pittman an early Christmas present in a really big box.
Tretola (6-5, 315) – whose full name is Sebastian Giovanni Andre Tretola - did so Wednesday night last week when he chose to sign with Arkansas over Oklahoma, TCU, Florida, Texas Tech, South Florida and many others.
He is one of at least five mid-term additions to the Razorback squad that will enroll in January and be able to go through off-season conditioning and spring practice.
"Both Coach B and Coach Pittman were very excited when I told them I was coming to Arkansas," Tretola said. "It just seems like the best fit for me in terms of making an impact with a team that I think has a bright future and in terms of development in my getting to the league (NFL)."
Tretola, who sports an afro, said that Bielema had an interesting response when he told he that he was coming to Arkansas.
"He said that he wished he could take my hair, put it on his head and run around the office," Tretola said. "I just fell out laughing thinking about what he would look like."
Tretola, who started four games at guard at Nevada as a redshirt freshman after choosing them over UCLA and Florida State, is expected to start at guard for Arkansas next season although he will also be given a look at center.
"I have played offensive tackle here at Iowa Western, but played guard at Nevada and feel like that is probably going to be the best fit for me," Tretola said. "Coach Pittman has also talked to me about taking a shot at center and that intrigues me. I have never snapped the ball, but I am sure that I can succeed there if that is what is best for the team."
Tretola, who played his high school football at Cajon High in San Bernardino, Calif., said a major factor in his decision was the opportunity to make an impact right away.
"With just two years left, it had to be at a place that had the opportunity for me to be a starter," Tretola said. "I had to look long and hard at the depth chart at each school.
"When I looked at Arkansas, it was clear with two guys leaving that there was a great opportunity for me to come in and grab a spot if I worked hard," Tretola said. "They have some very good offensive linemen already there and just need me to come in and mesh with them."
It certainly helped Arkansas' cause that it is in the SEC.
"That's the best of the best – there's no doubt about that," Tretola said. "I mean facts are facts. They win all the championships and they put more players in the league than anybody else.
"I mean who wouldn't want to play against the best of the best," Tretola added. "I look forward to the challenge."
Tretola, who will be 22 before he plays his first game as a Razorback next season, went through two spring practices at Nevada and believes he will certainly benefit from going though this spring at Arkansas.
"Being a mid-term graduate and being able to go through spring practice at Arkansas is a big, big deal for me," Tretola said. "it gives me a chance to get in and learn the system, bond with the other offensive linemen and hopefully gel as a unit during the practices in the spring.
"I am anxious to get out there, get started and be the best I can be," Tretola said. "No one will ever have to doubt my work ethic. I am anxious to learn from Coach Pittman. He and Coach B have put a lot of guys in the league."
Tretola prides himself on his style of play.
"I play nasty and mean and don't want the defensive player to think he can take a play off because I am not going to do so," Tretola said. "I want him to know I am going to be here all night and every play I'm coming after him."
Tretola Spreads Christmas Joy
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