Wonderful Weekend

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how much the Razorbacks might benefit from having Chicago Hoops star Patrick Beverley and over 1,000 other basketball and football prospects on campus last weekend. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a R

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In a day, University of Arkansas fans will find out just how well Senior Weekend went with Chicago Marshall hoops star Patrick Beverley, who will be making his decision between the Razorbacks and Michigan known publicly Wednesday at 3 p.m.

As far as Saturday's Junior Day, the full measure won't come into focus for the football or basketball programs for a year or two.

But there is no doubt there were more top-notch high school athletes on the UA campus this past weekend than ever before.

Not only did you have the pure-shooting, high-scoring Beverley down at Bud Walton Arena, but also over 1,000 of the nation's top underclassman basketball players were in Fayetteville and the surrounding area all weekend for the Real Deal on the Hill AAU basketball tournament.

There were also around 150 of the best high school football players from the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma and Georgia on hand for the largest Junior Day the UA football program has ever had.

"It's amazing how much they had going on in Fayetteville this weekend," Beverley said on Saturday. "It is a happening place with a lot to do and I am so impressed with the atmosphere. The fans, they really love the Razorbacks and they are great people. It's big-time and what you dream about when you are thinking about a college."

Marshall head coach LaMonte Bryant said Monday that Beverley came back raving about his visit to Arkansas.

"He really, really liked it down there," Bryant said. "Really liked it. He'll tell everybody on Wednesday whether it is Arkansas or Michigan. There's no need for any other visits."

The first of the 1,000 or so athletes to jump on board was Little Rock Catholic tight end-defensive end Jake Bequette (6-5, 245), who got a scholarship offer from Razorbacks on Saturday and committed on Sunday to become the fourth 2007 prospect to do so to Arkansas.

It's also known that Central Arkansas Christian tight end-defensive end David Williams (6-5, 250) was also offered a scholarship to Arkansas on Saturday.

They were two of the many prospects who got a chance to meet with the coaches early Saturday morning in Walker Pavilion, watch a highlight tape, tour the facilities, see some of the program's great players of the past at Razorfest and then watch the Red-White scrimmage as well as attend the baseball game and Real Deal on the Hill event if they chose to do so.

"There was a lot going on there this weekend and a lot of excitement about all the programs," Bequette said. "I really think the future is going to be great at Arkansas and I am glad I am going to be a part of it."

Some of the more heralded in-state grid prospects on hand besides Bequette were Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba (6-7, 295) - who was a regular at Arkansas spring practice - UA commits in Monticello offensive lineman Seth Oxner (6-5, 290) and Paris tight end Grant Freeman (6-6, 250), and Shiloh Christian wideout Crosby Tuck (6-2, 190). There were also a few other in-state big offensive line prospects in Shiloh Christians Nolan Hankins (6-7, 321), Cross Countys Mike Jones (6-6, 305), Harrisons Wade Grayson (6-4, 260) and Elkins Cory Jordan (6-6, 320) and a big defensive one in Arkadelphias Gary McClelland (6-5, 300).

Also seen in attendance were Fayetteville's quartet of tight end Ben Ball, cornerback Jake Arnold, wideout Cameron Walker and athlete Kenny Stockalper. (5-11, 180).

Some of the more highly-regarded out-of-state guys that made it were Allen (Texas) High quarterback Nathan Dick (6-3, 190), Sterlington (La.) wideout-safety Ahmad Paige (6-3, 175), West Monroe (La.) defensive end Luther Davis (6-4, 260) , Bastrop (La.) LaMarcus Williams (6-1, 285), Bixby (Okla.) tight end-linebacker Jared Glover (6-5, 220).

Fort Smith Northside quarterback Kodi Burns (6-2, 180) was also in Fayetteville, but he was playing for the Arkansas Hawks in the AAU tournament along with Har-Ber teammates Michael Sanchez and Nate Rakestraw.

Fayetteville offensive lineman Johnny Borkins and Jonesboro tight end/offensive lineman Grant Cook were also involved in the Real Deal on the Hill.

"You can't ask for anything better than this weekend to show off our school," noted Chris Vaughn, the UA's director of on-campus recruiting. "Hopefully we will reap the rewards for many years to come."

UA basketball coach Stan Heath echoed that same sentiment.

"There's nothing like having all these young men on our campus and letting them see how great our facilities are, how great the area is and just what all Arkansas has to offer," Heath said. "We love the Real Deal on the Hill."

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