There are a lot of kids who become University of Arkansas football fans from the time they are in diapers.
Just not all of them grow up to become standout college prospects like Pulaski Oak Grove junior Darren McFadden, a 6-1, 200-pound physical specimen who is regarded as one of the nation's top running backs and who committed to Arkansas on Monday night.
"I just wanted to go ahead and get it over with because I have always known where I wanted to go," McFadden said. "I love the coaching staff, the facilities, the players and just everything about Arkansas. So there was no reason to wait around and I called them to let them know."
McFadden is not your average running back. The muscled-up young man rushed for over 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns last season and has been clocked in as low as 4.37 in the 40-yard dash.
He went over 100 yards in 11 of his team's 12 games last season and had five games of over 200, including a 237-yard effort during the regular season.
That has drawn some comparisions to former Arkansas standout Cedric Cobbs.
"I welcome that and I just hope I can be as good as he was in college," McFadden said. "He's a great running back from the state of Arkansas that had a great career as a Razorback and I hope to be the next one that does that."
He had gotten recruiting interest from schools such as Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Iowa, Auburn, Memphis and Stanford.
"Those are all great schools, but none of them compare to Arkansas for me," McFadden said. "That's why I am happy to tell everybody I am going to be a Razorback."
Arkansas made its interest in McFadden known very early with the act of offering him a scholarship last summer even before he started his junior season.
"That's very cool," said McFadden, who rushed for 859 yards as a sophomore and then turned the Razorback staff's head with his quickness at Houston Nutt's football camp last summer. "I was already liking the Hogs before then, but then they made that offer so early, told me how much they wanted me and laid it all out there, that made me like them even more."
With McFadden lining up at both tailback and quarterback, Pulaski Oak Grove finished 8-4 last season, bowing out in the second round of the state playoffs with a 18-14 loss to Star City, who advance with a late fourth quarter goal line defensive stand.
The Hornets returned almost their entire defense, but just a trio of starters on offense and will break in and entire new offensive line.
"I thought I played pretty good and part of that was because I had a real good offensive line," McFadden said. "I am looking forward to seeing if I can get back to where I was last year and get as many yards as I did last year. It's going to be a real challenge because we have a whole new offensive line coming in, but I am going to try and get it done."
Not only did McFadden rack up the rushing yards, but also showed he could be a receiving threat and playmaker in the passing game by taking just 9 passes in for a whopping 283 yards.
"I think my size, my speed and my vision of the field are my biggest strengths and I can catch the football and make plays besides just running the ball," McFadden said. "I need to get a little stronger and just get better in every area."
McFadden is a great athlete as evidenced by the fact that he plays power forward on Oak Grove's basketball team, center field on his school's baseball squad and also runs track.
"I've just been very blessed by God and I am enjoying my high school life very much right now," McFadden said. "I think I'm going to enjoy it up here at Arkansas, too."
McFadden commits to Arkansas
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