Barnett now has two offers from UA

Hawgs Illustrated's Dudley E. Dawson talks about Texarkana two-sport standout Brandon Barnett, the Blytheville grid duo of Brice Beck and Chris Smith and several other football and basketball recruits in his weekly recruiting column for HI and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas.

Only a select few athletes from the senior class of 2005 in this state have already been offered football scholarships by the University of Arkansas.

But apparently only one - Texarkana standout Brandon Barnett (5-9, 188) - has an offer from both the school's football program and its track one as well.

"The track team just offered me a scholarship as well in the last week and that's huge," Barnett said. "I consider it quite an honor to have scholarship offers from a great football program and the absolute best track program in the country."

UA head football coach Houston Nutt and Razorback recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn were in Texarkana last week to watch Barnett and teammate and fellow UA recruit Walter Archie, a 6-1, 305-pound offensive lineman.

"Arkansas is really in my heart right now," Barnett said. "I like everything about the coaches and the program and unless I have a change of heart - which could happen - I would love to be a Razorback."

The reason you can't consider Barnett, who rushed for over 1,000 yards despite missing 11 quarters last season, a lock for Arkansas is because the Razorback staff is not the only one knocking on Texarkana's door.

Coaches from Arizona, Houston and Tulsa have also been by the school lately to make sure Barnett knew they were interested and he's getting a lot of mail from Oklahoma State, Tennessee, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Texas, Memphis, Vanderbilt and Colorado.

"My mom is like my agent and she doesn't like me to talk on it much," said a laughing Barnett. "The (University of) Houston wants me to come down for a visit and I will probably do that this fall. I love Arkansas, but want to take my time and make sure I am making the right decision. As far as the other schools, we'll just see how it plays out."

It could be possible that two Barnetts could be on the Razorback in the fall of 2005 since Brandon's older brother Freddie Barnett (6-3, 305) was a 2004 University of Arkansas signee.

Freddie Barnett has yet to get the needed ACT score to be eligible and could end up still at Arkansas, Trinity Valley Community College or even Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., where he would only have to stay for one year.

"He was just one point away on his last try and he's got one more in June and still thinks he is going to make it," Brandon Barnett said. "Even if he doesn't, it may still work out where we would both be freshmen up their at the same time."

While Freddie Barnett would mostly likely be planted at noseguard, Brandon Barnett could wind up at a variety of different places.

Besides rushing for over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns, the younger Barnett took back three kicks for scores, has shown good hands out of the backfield and could even end up as a cornerback.

"A lot of the schools are looking at me at a lot of different places, but Arkansas is looking at me first as a running back and that's where I want to have my chance," Barnett said. "I believe I have what it takes to make plays in college with the ball in my hands."

Barnett has bench pressed 350 pounds, squatted 450 and combines that strength with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash.

He also can cover longer distances pretty quick as evidenced by the fact he won the Class AAAAA 100 meter dash with a blazing 10.44 mark and covered the 200 in as fast as 21.4 this spring.

"That was great because they both were personal bests for me," Barnett said. "I wanted to finish off by winning both at the Meet of Champs, but pulled my quad while running the 200 at the state so I could go."

That quad injury also kept him from getting in too much spring practice time under second-year head coach Bill Keopple, the former UA assistant coach.

"We were just 5-5 last season, but I see us having a great year," Barnett said. "I think because Coach Keopple got here at the tail end of spring practice last year kept us from getting off to a running start. Although I didn't get to participate much because of track and my injury, I watched them and they are doing some great things."

Barnett is a big fan of Archie's.

"Walter Archie is a monster," Barnett said. "He's got a big body, but he carries all the weight in a good way. I even kid him about being skinny. I love all of my offensive lineman, but he's the man up there. He's the one that gets the push going."

He will make Arkansas' football camp on June 6-9, but only after satisfying one of the demands of his "agent".

"My m om told me that I have to get a job and pay for it to go," Barnett said. "That's just what I will do."

Barnett has a goal of staying healthy and rushing for over 2,000 yards next season.

"I think the sky is the limit for this football team and myself individually," Barnett said. "It's an exciting time for us. We are planning on making big things happen on Friday night's this fall."

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Blytheville's talented duo of quarterback Brice Beck (6-4, 230) and wideout Chris Smith (6-1, 174, 4.45) will likely be up for one of Houston Nutt's football camps on either June 6-9 or July 23-24.

Beck's current list consists of Ole Miss, Arkansas, Memphis, Missouri and North Carolina State.

Smith, an all-state baseball player who has already been offered a baseball scholarship to Arkansas State, has a football lost of Memphis, Missouri, North Carolina State, Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Smith admits both are looking to go to an offense that puts the ball in the air.

"I'm looking for a school that gets three and four wideouts out there, one where I am going to play and one that has a great coaching staff," Smith said. "That's the same way with Brice." Houston Nutt was in Blytheville to see both last week.

"He couldn't talk to us, but it was great that he came and showed interest in us," Smith said. "Arkansas is a school we both really like."

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Recruiting tidbits: ...Fort Smith Southside wideout Slick Shelley (6-4, 180) now has offers from Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma State.

...Centerpoint High defensive end Wes Patton (6-6, 260), who has covered 40 yards dash in as fast as 4.7, has plans to be on hand for Arkansas' first football camp on June 6-9.

He is getting interest from homestate Arkansas, Iowa and Michigan, but does not have an offer from any of that trio yet.

...Houston Gulfshores basketball star Javon Adams , a 6-0, 180-pound point guard, said earlier this week he has a top three of Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Boston College.

He is teammates with Gerald Green, a 6-8 off guard that Arkansas also covets.

...Twins Reginald and Richard Delk will likely make unofficial visits to Arkansas in late June with the Razorbacks, Louisville, Mississippi State, Florida and Tennessee currently in their top five according to Mid-State Ballerz Elite AAU head coach Jeremy Shulman.

The 6-4, 190-pound guards will be in action this weekend at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in North Carolina.

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