SAN ANTONIO - While it is now a dead period in football recruiting, it was certainly a lively last few days.
Especially in Springdale or with people from that city.
Time to empty the notebook:
• Perhaps the best part of going to San Antonio this past weekend for the U.S. Army All-American Game was not the event itself, but things that surrounded it.
Take for example getting to shake hands with Herman Boone and Bill Yoast, the two coaches immortalized in the legendary movie Remember the Titans.
Mr. Boone - who is now 70 - and the 81-year-old Mr. Yost were part of 51 coaches and players from that Alexandria (Va.) T.C. Williams High team that were honored during the weekend.
They all had these snazzy Titans jackets on and the opportunity to visit with them was priceless.
Hey, I know it a few liberties were taken with the real life story, but it was a joy to see the team feeling these guys still have today and listen to them talk about that magical year.
Interestingly enough that 1971 team went 13-0, an unbeaten storybook season just as Springdale has this past season.
• Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain (6-3, 210), the most-talked about recruit in the state of Arkansas in goodness knows when, did a plethora of national TV and newspaper interviews and fail to tip his hand on what his future holds as far as a college choice.
While Mustain struggled through a 2-for-13 passing day in his West team's 27-16 loss to the East, he was still a big hit all week with his teammates and recruiting analysts like Scout.com's Scott Kennedy.
"With being the number one quarterback as he is on Scout.com, there is a big bulls-eye on his back and has been all season and he has lived up to that potential this week in practice," Kennedy said. "Some guys kind of live up to it, some do not. He has handled it very humbly, which is important because some of these guys walk around with the big head and act like they are rock stars, but he is one that goes out to earn people respects and in turn he gets it."
• Tight end Ben Cleveland (6-4, 230) became the second one of the Springdale five (or third depending on how you count Mustain's commit and de-commit) to pledge to play his college ball at Arkansas.
Regardless of how many - if any - of his teammate joined in on staying home, it was a big pick-up for the Razorbacks to get Cleveland to flip from Florida to Arkansas.
"That's a good pick-up for Arkansas," Kennedy said. "We moved him up to four starts and that means he is about top 75 in the South which means he is a great player. He is a huge, big kid that moves well. He has got real solid hands and I think Arkansas is a good fit for him."
• Kennedy is also a big fan of Springdale wideout Andrew Norman (6-2, 190), who had 63 catches for over 1,000 yards this past season and is also committed to Arkansas.
"Andrew has always played second fiddle, maybe even third fiddle sometime on that team, but he still has always shined," Kennedy said. "He is a wondeful wide receiver.
"I have heard some people try to say he is a throw in, but there is no way," Kennedy said. "He is terrific. He is a guy that was good enough to go to Arkansas no matter where Mitch Mustain went. He is a guiy that's deserving of an offer to a BCS school like Arkansas us."
After a week of being around the players at the U.S. Army All-American Game, Kennedy said it makes him appreciate Norman even more.
• If they had to do it all over again, game organizers would no doubt have selected Springdale wideout Damian Williams (6-2, 180) to the All-American game per Kennedy.
"I see Percy Harvin, who is the number one guy in the country, and Damian is as good as he is," Kennedy said. "You put him in the right system and he is going to be a big-time star. He elevates well, he is dynamite in the open field and there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. I know Arkansas would love to get him away from Florida."
• The three main recruits that I focused on at the National Junior Combine were Paris tight end Grant Freeman (6-6, 235), Pulaski Robinson linebacker Christopher Fleming (6-2, 263) and Allen (Texas) High quarterback Nathan Dick (6-3, 195).
Freeman has Arkansas at the top of his list, but Oklahoma State is also in the mix as they are for Fleming, who also has LSU and Arkansas on his early list.
Dick, the brother of current Arkansas starting quarterback Casey Dick, is being recruited by Arkansas, Florida State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.
He admits to giving a lot of thought about being a Razorback.
"I could come in and redshirt and then back up my brother when he is a senior," Dick said. "But it will also depend on who they get between now and then like Mich Mustain."
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