If Arkansas were to draw up its perfect linebacker, he would likely look like a lot like River Ridge, La., John Curtis star Kenny Young – a young man who will officially visit the Razorbacks beginning Wednesday.
The 6-2, 220-pounder – who had a whopping 122 tackles this season while leading his 10-2 team to a Division II state title – is the perfect mix of physical talent and mental make up according to head coach J.T. Curtis.
"Kenny Young not only brings his physical skills to the table, he also has an ability to run and make plays in what we call in and out of the box in terms of pass coverage and being able to play the run,'' Curtis told NOLA.com. "He's got great speed and he's a physical tackler and he has the ability to make plays in the open field. That's a unique combination.
"His leadership skill, especially early in the season, was tremendous," Curtis added. "He spoke to the team on a couple of occasions (during a 3-2 start) when we needed a lift to say, ‘Don't get your head down. Let's keep playing and keep working.' That's not something that you can script. But, more importantly, he practiced that way.
"Kenny is a guy who practices just like plays. And that's not always the case with good players. Kenny practices very intensely. I think that's the reason his leadership skills make him a little bit different than other folks.''
Young – a U.S. Army All-American – is in a whirlwind of official visits after concentrating solely on winning the state title during the season.
He went to Texas A&M last weekend, will arrive at Arkansas on Wednesday, visit Oklahoma State this weekend and then squeeze in visits to LSU and UCLA next weekend.
Young - being recruited by Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon and fellow assistant Michael Smith - had 12 tackles for lost yardage, four sacks and three pass break ups while leading his team to the title.
He was named the Most Outstanding player in the championship game after having 10 tackles and a sack as John Curtis hammered University Lab 32-0.
"Coming into the season,'' Young said, "I wanted to work hard, but work even harder on my weaknesses. I wanted to get a little bit faster and bigger (and stronger) and become more of a student of the game. That had a lot to do with my success this year.
"My leadership got better." Young added. " Last year with the seniors we had I really didn't have to do much. I wanted to be a leader throughout the season whether we lost or we won. I wanted (the team) to keep in mind the importance of staying humble and knowing that we've got another day to work at it, to move forward.
"My thing was to go to every practice and every game and leave it all on the field," Young said. "I wanted to be the first one to practice and the last one to leave. When it came to game time, my focus was all in and I just wanted to dominate the game and help the players around me dominate the game as well.''
Arkansas Gets Its Shot At Young
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