Versatile Gregory

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with UA commit Chip Gregory (6-3, 212, 4.45) and also how some junior college stars Arkansas is in on did during their opening weekend.

While most of the University of Arkansas' committed football recruits and some of the potential ones get their seasons underway this upcoming weekend, a few did get a shot to kickoff the gridiron season the past few days.

Actually Chip Gregory (6-3, 212, 4.45), the versatile athlete from Carrollton (Texas) American Heritage Academy who has pledged to be a Razorback, had first crack but was held out due to an ankle injury.

He had to watch from the sidelines as American Heritage Academy romped to a 41-20 win over Bishop Dunne on Friday night.

"I got injured in our scrimmage after I got a pass and about four of five different guys hit me at different angles and I rolled it," Gregory said. "I could have played, but I talked with my dad and my coach and we decided the best thing would be for me to rest it and have it fully ready once we get to the district."

Gregory, who will line up at running back and wideout on offense for American Heritage Academy and strong safety on defense, is also expected to take this Friday's game with Watuga Harvest Christian.

He should finally get to see action in week 3 when his team faces St. Mark's on Friday, Sept. 9.

"The next team we face is one we should handle very easily with or without me and we want to be full speed and ready to go against St. Mark's," Gregory said. "It's hard, but it's the best thing to do in the long run."

The versatile Gregory, who chose Arkansas over offers from Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa and Baylor, had 70 tackles and three interceptions last season on defense.

"Arkansas' coaches are talking to me about how I will be a strong safety or an outside linebacker once I get there," Gregory said. "I don't really care where I play. I just want to line up and help the team."

Gregory, who actually lives in Allen and is good friends with current Razorbacks Casey Dick and Marcus Shavers, rushed for 287 yards a trio of touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 201 yards and three more scores last season while lining up at running back, tight end and wideout.

He did so while teaming with tailback Ryan Polite, who had 531 all-purpose yards in one game last season with 507 of those coming on the ground.

Polite's successor is a sophomore named Clarence Abraham, who had 224 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored four touchdowns in his team's win.

American Heritage led 28-6 by the end of the first quarter and cruised in what they hope will be a march to the TAPPS state title, one they came up just short of last season in the state semifinals.

"He's going to be a great player and is stepping right in where Ryan left out," Gregory said. "I think we have a great shot at winning it all this year."

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UA defensive tackle commit Freddie Barnett (6-3, 305), the former Texarkana standout, got his season underway Saturday, but it ended in a defeat when Butler County (Kan.) Community College rallied past Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College 26-17.

Barnett had four tackles, a sack and two batted down balls in a game that Trinity Valley led 17-13 at halftime.

"We played well, but we just had some special team breakdowns that cost us," Barnett said. "I thought our defense played really well. We stopped them four times in the Red Zone and gave us a chance."

Butler freshman Brandon Barnett, Freddie's little brother and a fellow UA signee, did not play in the game as he is presently redshirting with the idea of playing next season and then having three seasons at Arkansas.

"But he may play this season now because there running back got hurt last night," Barnett said. "We'll just have to see how it goes, but he thinks he's getting bigger and better."

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Coffeyville Community College wideout Devin Thomas and quarterback Woody Wilson, the former Fayetteville High standout and UA signee, got their team's season off on a good note with a 35-0 pasting of Air Force prep in Red Ravens' 2005 debut on Aug. 27.

Wilson, being recruited by several Big 12 teams as a quarterback after being signed by Arkansas as an athlete, was 9-of-15 passing for 126 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 5 times for 33 yards.

Thomas, who earned the name "Showtime" while playing running back and wideout in his Michigan prep days, had 2 catches for 17 yards and also ran 21 yards on a reverse.

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Tidbits:

...UA basketball commit Stefan Welsh has decided to move his official visit from this upcoming weekend to the Midnight Madness weekend of Oct. 14-16.

...Thaddeus Young, the 6-8, 200-pound small forward from Memphis Mitchell that is one of the nation's top prep players, may be in Fayetteville for an unofficial visit this weekend and has his official set to Arkansas also on Oct. 14-16.

...The Razorbacks will host both former West Memphis and current UA-Fort Smith standout Sonny Weems and Bolivar (Tenn.) Central point guard Willie Kemp on Sept. 9-11.

Both players will be visiting Tennessee this weekend.


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