Arkansas redshirt freshman safety Santos Ramirez isn’t trying to hide at all how big his team’s game at LSU is to him personally.
Ramirez, a former Shreveport Evangel star, was offered by the LSU staff during the summer of 2013 and committed to the Tigers.
He was told later that scholarship was not going to be available because they had other guys ahead of him and he would have to wait it out.
Ramirez chose to commit to Arkansas instead of waiting.
“It means a lot to me,” Ramirez said of the game. “I have been looking forward to playing against LSU. I have some past ties with them and this week I want to really show what I am about.”
When new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema put his first true recruiting class together, he wanted Ramirez as a part of it.
“I was going to go to LSU, but I decided to come to Arkansas because I wanted to be a part of Coach B’s first recruiting class,” Ramirez said. “Going to play LSU is something that I have got a lot of pride in with how everything went down. I can’t wait for this game.”
Ramirez joins wide receiver Jared Cornelius, cornerback Henre’ Toliver, defensive tackle DeMarcus Hodge, linebackers Khalia Hackett and Dwayne Eugene, fullback Kendrick Jackson and redshirting cornerback Nate Dalton as Louisiana natives who are on the Arkansas roster.
“It feels good to be able to go back home and play in front of my family and friends, especially against Arkansas,” Eugene said.
It has been a battle for tickets for the game this weekend as those born in Louisiana look to get some from their teammates.
“All the Louisiana guys are trying to stretch and get those tickets,” Eugene said. “We are just trying to get as many as we can. I’ve got about 12. I started asking early. I got on top of it early.”
Both Toliver and Eugene played against Fournette in high school and went 3-2 against him.
“We lost them my sophomore year and one time in my senior year, but we went back and beat them in the playoffs my senior year,” Toliver said.
Toliver also was part of the Razorbacks’ 17-0 win over visiting LSU and Fournette last season when the star tailback was held to just nine yards and the Tigers’ offense to 123 overall.
“Nobody really believed in us at the time and then like when I went home and my friends were like going ‘aw, y’all be LSU’ and I was like ‘I told y’all that we could do it.’”
Arkansas linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves knows how big a game it is for the Louisiana-born Razorbacks.
“Any time a young man has a chance to go home and play against maybe a school he grew up watching and maybe wanting to go to and now he is on the other side of the feel, any time you are in that situation, it’s big,” Hargreaves said. “Emotions run high and it certainly give them the opportunity to go home and be around the home boys and if we win the game to have bragging rights.”