Bearden football star Ben Owens is getting a head start on the winter by getting some things done in the fall.
Instead of waiting until December and January to visit the schools on his short list, the 6-2, 210-pound linebacker with 4.55 speed is getting out to see them during the season.
He's already been to Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe and will be on hand for Oklahoma State's home game with Texas A&M this weekend. Then its back to Fayetteville for the Arkansas-Georgia game.
A Memphis game is also likely on the agenda and Miami has invited him to one of their home games.
"I really think it is helping me in the decision process," Owens said. "I'm getting a chance to see what the fans and the teams are like on gameday. You certainly get a feel of what it will be like for you. It is going to play a big role in my official visits."
Owens had previously stated that he would likely take all five of his official visits before making a decision. That may not be the case now.
"The unofficial visits are really starting to help me narrow down things," Owens said. "I don't think I am going to take as much time as I had previously planned."
Arkansas is at the top of his list according to Owens, but it is not a lock that he will end up in Fayetteville.
"My feelings are very good about Arkansas," Owens said. "Chances are very good for Arkansas. It is the school from my home state, I love the fans and the coaches and the players and the facilities. But I can't say for sure right now that's where I am going."
Owens, who sports a 4.0 grade point average, was on hand for the Arkansas-Texas game back on Sept. 11 in Fayetteville.
"I really enjoyed the game, well, everything but the final score that was," Owens said. "Both teams played hard and the Arkansas fans were just wonderful in their support. That made a huge impression on me."
He does admit to having thoughts about just making a decision and being done with it.
"I have thought about just going ahead and committing to Arkansas or Vanderbilt or Oklahoma State at one time or another because they are all great schools, but then I think about it again and know that the right thing to do is to examine it all and then make a clear decision," Owens said. "I think it is the right thing to do return the interest each school has shown in you."
Owens' squad started 1-2, but has rallied for with two wins in its first three conference game to push its mark to 3-3. Junction City downed Bearden 20-14 last week.
"I think we have a great chance to make the playoffs and be there for awhile," Owens said. "Our team has really gotten better since the start of the season."
Owens does feel he has been better at linebacker this season than at tailback.
"Statistically, I haven't had as good a tear on offense as I did last year, but on defense, I think I have had a great year," Owens said. "I'm excited about how well I am getting to the ball."
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