Bowl Week

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain heads up a plethora of Razorback targets playing in a pair of all-star games this week.

In Shreveport on Thursday and San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday, fans could be seeing a glimpse of the future of Razorback football on display.

Shreveport will host Max Emfinger's High School All-American Bowl on Thursday while San Antonio once again hosts both the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday (Noon on NBC) and the National Junior Combine on Saturday and Sunday.

The two games - which have the players in their respective cities for practice throughout the week - combine to have numerous players from Arkansas, Razorback commitments and possible additions from other states on hand.

The headliner in these games is Parade National Player of the Year Mitch Mustain (6-3, 205), the record-setting Springdale quarterback who committed to Arkansas, de-committed to explore his options and still has the Razorbacks as one of them.

Mustain and Springdale offensive lineman and Notre Dame commit Bartley Webb (6-7, 294) are the only two Arkansas players and a couple of the nation's top 74 prospects that were invited to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"It is a huge honor," Mustain said back when selected on Sept. 16. "There are over a million high school players and to be one of the 78 named is an honor to me. We (Mustain and former Springdale head coach and current Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) were at the game last year and saw what an incredible atmosphere it was and all the great athletes they had their to play. I can't wait...I'm looking forward to representing Springdale, the state of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas."

Certainly the last little bit of the quote is what many Razorback fans continue to hope he will be doing although Mustain himself has noted that Notre Dame, Tennessee and Alabama are other possible destinations.

No doubt Arkansas' dream scenario would be for Mustain to recommit to the Razorbacks during the game. Many players have announced their decisions during the game in previous years.

Some 17 have already announced plans to do so during this year's game.

Part of the San Antonio weekend as well is the junior combine, something that Paris tight end Grant Freeman will be involved in.

All that will come two days after 120 players finish up in Shreveport including a trio of Springdale players on the East team in Florida commits Damian Williams (6-2, 180) and Ben Cleveland (6-4, 230) - two players Arkansas is still working hard to flip -and Red Bulldogs running back Matt Clinkscales (6-2, 210), who will visit Arkansas State this weekend and Arkansas on Jan. 27-29.

Springdale wideout Andrew Norman (6-2, 180) was also selected to the game, but chose to stay and practice and play with Springdale's basketball team instead.

Shiloh Christian wideout/defensive back Eric Shaffer, Batesville offensive lineman Drew Hilton (6-4, 295), Blytheville lineman Kit Coleman (6-3, 280) and Little Rock Central defensive lineman/deep snapper Matt Holmes are also on the East team.

North Little Rock linebacker and UA commit Van Stumon (6-3, 230) was also selected to the game, but a death in his family will keep him from doing so and Razorback pledge and defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard (6-3, 260) of Bainbridge, Ga. was chosen as well, but is not participating.

Pocahontas offensive lineman Jim Hart (6-7, 300) and Texas prep linebacker Chip Gregory (6-4, 212) - both Razorback commits also selected - will not play due to injuries.

Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain throws a pass Monday during practice in San Antonio.

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