Bearden's Owens grabbing attention

Ben Owens, Jr., one of Arkansas' top junior prospects, is hearing from several college football and academic powerhouses and had Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt drop by his school earlier this week.

Bearden may not be the biggest city in the state of Arkansas, but the postman is getting a workout hauling in Ben Owens, Jr.'s mail each day.

That because the 6-3, 206-pound junior linebacker with 4.55 speed in the 40-yard dash, is getting tons of mail and attention from schools such as Arkansas, Miami (Fla.), LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Iowa,, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Penn State, Princeton Harvard, Darmouth, Cornell and Duke just to name a few.

"I'll admit I'm a little surprised to have some of those colleges paying so much attention to me - great football program and great academic ones," noted Owens, who sports over a 4.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. "It all just kind of happened and it's made me feel pretty good about things and made me want to work harder to get even better and justify that interest."

Owens, who was at Arkansas' Red-White game back in April, had Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt and Razorback recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn watch him practice Monday.

"Arkansas has great coaches, friendly coaches and it's a great school," Owens said. "It's my home state and it's just a great environment. I love the stadium and the indoor workout area. It's just a great place all around. They were down here Monday to take a look at me."

He is coming off a banner season in which he had 81 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions on defense and 1,347 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns last season while averaging 8.8 yards per carry for an 8-4 Class AA Bearden squad.

"I actually played more running back than linebacker this past season, but I will play more at linebacker this season," Owens said. "That seems to be where most colleges are projecting me to play."

Owens, an all-around athlete who averaged 13 points in basketball and also ran the 100 in 11.0, has Arkansas and Miami at the top of his list, but he is still waiting on offers from either one.

"Right now I would say Arkansas and Miami are deadlocked," Owens said. "Then Memphis, Vanderbilt and Iowa would be pretty close behind. I am looking for a good mix of academics and football program."

He has been busy this spring with trips to the MSL combine in Memphis - where many thought he was the best linebacker there - and a Nike one in College Station, Texas.

"Those have been good for me and helped me get my name out there a little bit," Owens said. "It was raining in Texas that day and I only ran a 4.7, but nobody really got good footing and posted a great time."

Owens had planned to attend several summer camps, but now may just attend Arkansas' June 6-9 one and possibly one of Miami's.

"I just got elected to the Governor's School and Boys State and that was a honor and something I want to participate in," Owens said. "So it may just be Arkansas."

He will spend the summer working hard to become a better all-around player.

"I'm not one of these guys that likes to boast about myself and tell everybody how good I am," Owens said. "I do some things pretty well, but I want to get faster, stronger. I do think I am pretty levelheaded and coachable and have a lot of heart and hopefully all these colleges see the same thing."

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