Razorback TE Pledge Shows Off At Showcase
SPRINGDALE - It's no surprise that Arkansas 2015 tight end pledge C.J. O'Grady was a big part of why Fayetteville went 7-0 in pool play Friday at the Southwest Elite Showcase 7-on-7 Tournament at Shiloh Christian.
O'Grady used his 6-5, 230-pound frame all day long to shield smaller defenders and his leaping ability to snare passes in the end zone.
“My ability to get open and the fact that I am lanky and have big hands allows me to just catch the ball over defenders, especially the shorter ones,” O'Grady said. “...Usually when I am one-on-one with a shorter defender my body frame is bigger than them and I can just box them out. It makes it hard for them to deflect the ball.”
O'Grady, the son of late former Razorback basketball player Larry Marks, committed to Arkansas last month and did so over offers from Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Louisville and many others.
He did so after spending a day on the Arkansas campus with the Razorbacks coaches showering him with attention.
“Mostly it was just their interest in me,” O'Grady said. “Every day they were messaging me on twitter. That day when I went up there, they had that whole day planned out just for me. They showed me a couple of power points why I should go there and my interest rate went up and off the charts. It was my day to choose them.”
It doesn't hurt that Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has five former tight ends currently on NFL rosters and uses that position a lot in his offense.
“They showed me actual statistics and actual (sets) in how they use two tight ends most of the time, one tight end some and some times even three tight ends,” O'Grady said. “That is what I am looking for. It will give me a chance to set out there and play.”
O'Grady, who caught 45 passes for 884 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, said he won't be changing his mind.
“It was a huge stress relief to commit and now I am trying to get away from it,” O'Grady said. “I am still hearing from some people, but it's better. I won't be changing my commitment.”
O'Grady is proud of follow in the Razorback footsteps of his father, who passed away in 2000 after playing power forward for Nolan Richardson from 1988-90 on the Arkansas basketball team.
“He played basketball for the Razorbacks in the late 80s and I think it would be pretty cool to to start like a legacy with me going up there, him going up there and maybe have my kid go up there someday,” O'Grady said.
Fayetteville, whon won the 2012 Class 7A state title, is generally regarded as the second-best team in the state this season behind defending state champion and fellow Class 7A-West member Bentonville.
O'Grady likes what he is seeing from his team in 7-on-7 competition this summer, including the quarterback competition between junior Jack Lindsey and sophomore Taylor Powell.
“Awesome,” O'Grady said. “Our team is looking great. I think we are going to be good this season. Obviously they (the quarterbacks) are young, but from the way they have been playing in the tournament, I think they are going to be looking good during the season, too.”
Here is former Arkansas quarterback and current Fayetteville High offensive coordinator Zak Clark talking about O'Grady.
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