Shelley Takes Notice

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson talks to Fort Smith Southside's Slick Shelley, one of the nation's top wideouts.

The highest-rated prep pass catcher in the state was in Fayetteville Saturday night to see the University of Arkansas throw the ball around the yard more than usual - 327 yards passing to 221 rushing in a 63-13 rout of New Mexico State.

But while Fort Smith Southside standout Slick Shelley is buying into the idea that's going to be the case for most of the 2004 campaign, he does allow for the possibility in 2005.

It's clear that's something the 6-4, 190-pound prospect , who will be one of an anticipated 70-plus prospects in Fayetteville this weekend for the Razorbacks' game with Texas, is going to have to be entirely convinced of for him to sign with the University of Arkansas.

"That was great to see, but I don't think it is going to be the case the rest of the year," Shelley said. "As long as (UA senior quarterback) Matt Jones is around, it makes sense for them to run the ball more than they pass it. I can tell you it sure was fun to watch.

"But I keep hearing that next year that is going to be the case and the fact that the freshmen quarterbacks they have up there now are passers has me thinking that might be the case," Shelley continued. "But for me to be totally convinced, I'm going to have to sit down and have a talk with (Razorback) Coach Houston Nutt and be for sure. If that's the truth, then there is a great chance I would come up there."

Shelley, who has caught 118 passes for 1,892 yards and 31 touchdowns the past two seasons, is adamant about not wanting to get caught up in an offense where the philosophy is run, run and then run some more.

"I've never tried to hide it the fact that I want to go someplace where they pass the ball a lot or at least have a great balance," Shelley said. "That's just very important to me - to be one of the guys making it happen for his team by making some plays and helping my team win."

Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma State and Tulsa all called Shelley last week when a contact period opened and they join Tennessee among schools that have already offered Shelley a scholarship. Florida has also been in contact.

"I will definitely take official visits to Arkansas and Florida," Shelley said. "As for the others, I just not really that sure right now."

Shelley missed Southside's season-opening 21-21 tie at El Dorado last Friday because of an injury suffered in an earlier scrimmage. He'll get his first action of this year when the Rebels host Broken Arrow Okla., on Friday night.

"It's so tough to watch from the sidelines and not be able to help your team," Shelley said. "I'm really looking forward to getting back out there."

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Basketball recruiting tidbits:

...The UA basketball team is expected to host 5-10, 160-pound point guard Devan Downey of Chester, S.C. on an official visit this weekend.

The Razorbacks had also been planning on 6-2, 175-pound scoring guard Clarence Sanders of Okaloosa-Walton (Fla.) Community College to be here, but he committed to Ole Miss during his visit there last weekend.

Jeremy Mayfield , a 6-9, 230-pound power forward from Fort Worth said Sunday night he would be here this weekend on an unofficial visit and Mississippi big man Cyrus McGowan (6-9, 235) could also make it on an official visit.

New Jersey combo guard Sean McCurdy (6-1, 180) will follow those guys to the UA for a mid-week official visit beginning a week from today.

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