No doubt both fans and the coaches of the University of Arkansas would love for Bearden linebacker Ben Owens to be the next prep football player to say he wants to be a Razorback.
That may end up happening in the long run, but the 6-3, 210-pound Owens will most likely not make a decision until mid-January at the earliest.
"The recruiting process is going well for me right now and I am actively researching all the schools that I am involved with," Owens said. "But I want to take all my official visits and then make a very educated decision on what is best for my future."
Owens, whose team starts two-day on Monday, is coming off an eventful summer that has included scholarship offers from Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State.
The 4.0 student has also attended the Houston Nutt Football Camp and picked up an award as one of the event's top linebackers, spent six weeks at the Governor's School on the campus of Hendrix and just got back from a one-day camp at Louisiana-Monroe.
Owens, who rushed for over 1,300 yard and also racked up 81 tackles, 3 sacks and a pair of interceptions last year, still try to fit in a couple of unofficial visits to the University of Miami and Vanderbilt if preseason practice time allows it to happen.
"It'll just depend, but I would like to get down to see Miami and also get over to Vanderbilt just to walk the campus and found out a little bit more about things before the season starts," Owens said. "But then I want to just focus on my decision so my plan is not to take any official visits until after the season is over."
Owens spent time feeding his mind and body at the Governor's School.
"I had a great time," Owens said. "You learn so much new stuff and expand your mind, meet a lot of new people and just become a more complete person," Owens said. "But what a lot of people don't understand is there is plenty of time to do things to stay in shape at the same time. I had the chance to keep lifting weights, run and played a lot of basketball."
The trip to Fayetteville for Arkansas' camp certainly didn't hurt the Razorbacks' chances to land the prospect.
"It was my first time up there and there are just great people, great coaches, great facilities and a great energy around the program and great hope for the future," Owens said. "It got me very excited about them."
Owens didn't sit around after getting back from the Governor's School and instead took a Saturday trek to Louisiana-Monroe.
"They had a one-day deal and the coaches just ask me to come down and check it out," Owens said. "It was very hot, but I just did what they told me to do and think it went very well. They told me once again I had a scholarship and they would love to have me."
Arkansas and Miami - which has not offered a scholarship yet but is keeping in contact - are tied atop Owens' list with Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe and other schools such as Memphis and Oklahoma State also possibilities for official visits.
"I've always liked Miami and what they have done with the program, sending players on to the NFL and it's also a very good school," Owens said. "But it's not right to say that I would go there if they offer a scholarship. I really like Arkansas and the coaches and the people so those they are saying that (he would go to Miami) wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be an agonizing decision. It would be just one where I weighed everything."
Bearden went 8-3 last season with its losses coming only to Class AA champ Junction City, semifinalist Rison and to Gillett in the opening round of the state playoffs although the Bears had won a previous meeting between the two.
The program lost four all-conference performers, but returns its big hoss in Owens, who had 273 yards rushing in a win over Smackover, and nine starters.
"I really think we have the potential to have a 10-win season," Owens said. "That is what I am shooting for right now."
Owens' decision won't be a quick one
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