Hart's back in the Hunt

An ACL injury cut short his high school football season and ended his high school basketball career, but thankfully Pocahonatas offensive lineman and UA commit Jim Hart (6-7, 305) is at least healed enough to get back in the woods and hunt.

Pocahontas offensive lineman Jim Hart loves to hunt.

There are picture in his house of Hart as a 2-year-old, dressed in camouflage, standing next to a downed deer.

Duck- and deer-hunting seasons rival the ones for football and basketball in popularity.

An injury that ended his football season --and his basketball career --nearly took away his chance to hunt.

But a week before Christmas, Hart's leg --torn ACL and MCL and all --was healthy enough for him to head back out to a duck blind.

"Just to be back in that atmosphere was a great feeling," Hart said. "You get to talk a lot. Duck hunting's more of a bonding sport, you sit around with your buddies and wait for the duck to fly by.

"They'd come visit me all the time at my house, but when you get that camouflage on and have a shotgun, it's special."

That was the first time Hart had been hunting since the surgery. Between the time of the injury and the surgery, though, Hart snuck in a day of hunting deer.

"I skipped an extra doctor's appointment and my senior pictures, but it was great," Hart said. "I didn't shoot any of them, I actually just watched them. I saw about 40 deer and 20 turkeys."

Hart was the first player from this year's high school class to commit to Arkansas, joining junior college defensive lineman Freddie Barnett.

Like many in Arkansas, Hart grew up watching Razorbacks sports.

Last week on his official visit, Hart spent time with Arkansas offensive lineman Jonathan Luigs and basketball player Steven Hill.

"It was really cool," Hart said. "The whole thing has never really sank in as a big deal to me. Meeting guys I've watched on Saturday brought me to a realization. I see them on TV every Saturday and hopefully that'll be me some day."

Hart was injured just as his team was close to scoring during a midseason game.

"We found one particular play that worked and kept running it and running it and running it," Hart said. "We just kept getting yards. About the eighth time, the running back comes up behind me and his head went outside of my left knee.

"It was a weird-looking angle, I rolled over, pulled my helmet off and was helped off the field."

For now, Hart is concentrating on his rehabilitation, going to rehab for about an hour three days a week and doing work at home the rest of the time, trying to build his leg back to the strength it was before a running back's helmet came crashing into it midway through the season.

Although he sat out last basketball season to concentrate on improving his chances of playing Division I football, Hart still has a love for the sport. He'd been prepared to play this year before his injury sidetracked those plans.

"It was heartbreaking," Hart said. "I still go to practice every day though and go to a bunch of games.

"It's a disappointment, but you've got to look at it in the positive aspect -- I've still got many years of football ahead of me."

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