Huckeba Leads Off All-Star Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas defensive end Jeb Huckeba has a lot to live up to.

Last January, former teammate Lawrence Richardson was Arkansas' lone representative in the 79th East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco and left an impression after intercepting two passes. Huckeba stopped short of predicting a similar performance, but said he wouldn't mind following in Richardson's footsteps during today's East-West Shrine Game.

"I just want to have fun and make the most of my opportunity and just enjoy being out here," Huckeba said. "I definitely do want to do good. But, usually, by having fun you do your best and that's what I'm looking for."

Huckeba is the first of five seniors to step on the field in all-star games this month when he represents the Razorbacks in the East-West Shrine Game. The game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN, is a chance for the NFL hopeful to showcase his talents in front of professional scouts.

In addition, defensive tackle Arrion Dixon is scheduled to play in the Hula Bowl in Maui next Saturday (ESPN2 at 6 p.m.). Wide receiver Steven Harris and running back DeCori Birmingham will play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic on Jan. 29 (Fox Sports Net at 3 p.m.). Quarterback Matt Jones was selected to participate in the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 29 (ESPN2 at 3 p.m.).

"I'm excited that a number of our guys are getting an opportunity to display their skill on a national stage in college football all-star games," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "These five guys made a tremendous contribution to our program and I hope that they have a chance to continue their football careers on the next level."

Huckeba arrived in San Francisco last Saturday after spending a week in Phoenix, where he and 15 others began working out with personal trainers in preparation for the draft. The East squad is led by Purdue coach Joe Tiller and Huckeba said practices have been intense and loaded with full-contact drills.

He said Wednesday's workout was monitored by about 200 scouts and described the weigh in and measurement process as a "meat market." Huckeba has had interviews with the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars.

"One of the first questions the Patriots guy asked was, 'How do you study for a test?'" Huckeba said. "The reason he asked me was, sometime they like to take a guy whose smarter as opposed to a guy that's a freakish athlete."

Huckeba said his roommate this week is Ohio State defensive lineman Simon Fraser, who was part of the Buckeyes' national championship team in 2002. He also has spent time with Southeastern Conference players and East teammates like South Carolina defensive lineman Darrell Shropshire, Auburn defensive lineman Jay Ratliff, LSU linebacker Lionel Turner and Tennessee offensive lineman Jason Respert.

"We're excited," Huckeba said. "There's a bunch of good guys on my team and I've enjoyed getting to know them this week. It has really been a good week for me and the game is going to be a good ending to it (today)."

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