Chip's All In

Carrollton (Texas) American Heritage Academy star Chip Gregory and his coach Bob Giesey talk about the 2006 prospect's decision to commit to the Razorbacks.

If this was a baseball game, there would be a fight at the bat rack over new University of Arkansas football commitment Chip Gregory of Carrollton (Texas) American Heritage Academy.

But since this is the gridiron, well just have to settle for Razorback wideout coach James Shibest and defensive coordinator Reggie Herring battling in head coach Houston Nutt's conference room about where Gregory ends up when he arrives for the 2006 season.

"That's funny," Gregory said. "I heard they might be fighting over me. That makes me feel wanted. Coach Nutt said they were all doing backflips over me committing. They can just put me anywhere they need me."

It's the case because the multi-talented Gregory (6-3, 212, 4.45) committed to Arkansas on Monday and the private school star could line up just about anywhere for the Razorbacks.

"I tell you one thing," American Heritage head coach Bob Giesey said, "he can play just about anywhere and did for us last year. He played free safety and cornerback on defense and tight end, running back and wide receiver on offense and played on every special team. He's a dandy."

He had offers from Arkansas, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa, and Baylor.

"Arkansas has talked about him on both sides of the ball," Giesey said. "Nebraska was recruiting him as a wide receiver. Notre Dame said they were only going to sign two defensive players in this class and wanted him to be one and play free safety or cornerback. Kansas State wanted him as a free safety and Oklahoma State and Baylor were among those recruiting him as an athlete."

Gregory, a third-team 2005 All-Texas preseason selection as a utility guy in Dave Campbells Texas Football, had 70 tackles and three interceptions while rushing for 287 yards and a trio of touchdowns and catching 16 passes for 201 yards and three more scores.

"I got the ball in a lot of different ways," said Gregory, who might even grow into a Herring-type outside linebacker. "Sometimes by going and getting it myself."

Gregory actually played second fiddle last year to Ryan Polite, a tailback-defensive end who was named the 2004 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Player of the Year by Dave Campbells Texas Football.

In one game, Polite had 531 all-purpose yards - 507 that came via the rush.

"We got Chip about a year ago about this time from Green Hill Academy and we just fit in him everywhere and it was a great player for us," Giesey said. "Of course, Ryan was our number one option last year on offense and now we will see Chip take over that role this year."

Gregory, who did indeed play at Green Hill Academy as a sophomore, is a native of Allen, Texas, and is friends with 2005 Razorback signees Casey Dick and Marcus Shavers of Allen.

"They're both good friends and its going to be great to be up there with them," Gregory said. "But this was my own decision and about what I think was best for me."

Gregory was in Fayetteville earlier this summer for a Houston Nutt Football Camp and came back later for a 7-on-7 tournament with his team in Little Rock.

"I had only been to Arkansas once when I was young, but I fell in love when I got there," Gregory said. "They have great coaches like Coach Shibest and Coach Nutt who are great people, great facilities and its just a great atmosphere to be around."

American Heritage was 9-3 last season and advanced to the TAPPS state playoff semifinals and has 17 starters coming back this season.

"We really think we have a great chance to win it all this season," Gregory said. "We lost a great player, but we have a lot of them coming back."

While the level of TAPPS play may not been on par with the public schools in Texas, it's not far behind according to Gregory.

"Really the biggest difference is the numbers," Gregory said. "There are some great players in TAPPS and I have no doubt that I could be at some 5A school, starting and having a great career on that level as well.

"But Heritage Academy offers me a great Christian environment where a big part of the atmosphere is the push to have the right morals and a strengthening of your faith," Gregory added. "It also is a real good academic school with great one-on-one interaction with the faculty."

Gregory, who has a 3.2 grade point average and has already put up a 1260 on his SAT, will be in attendance at several Arkansas games this season.

"That's what I am planning on," Gregory said. "I am very happy to be a Razorback. I think it's a great fit and I am going to have some great people around me."

American Heritage opens its season at home Aug. 26 when it hosts Bishop Dunn.

He has a specific plan before he arrives on campus.

"I just want to develop myself as a person and a player and become the best leader that I can," Gregory said. "I also want to just keep getting stronger and faster."


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