Sand Lizards

Dardanelle has a couple of prospects drawing the attention of Arkansas and many other colleges in junior cornerback C.J. Chaten (5-9, 172, 4.38) and huge sophomore offensive lineman Matt Hall (6-9, 336).

There is a jet-quick junior prospect at Dardanelle that has some big-time football programs stopping by the hometown of PGA golfer John Daly this spring.

There's also a big sophomore Sand Lizard who will no doubt keep them coming for a couple of years.

Dardanelle all-purpose back and cornerback C.J. Chaten (5-9, 172, 4.38) and mammoth sophomore offensive lineman Matt Hall (6-9, 336) are certainly a drawing attention.

"It's been pretty interesting," Dardanelle head coach Paul Wilson said. "C.J. is getting a lot of looks from a lot of major programs and they are calling about Matt thinking he is older than he is and asking for transcripts and I am having to tell them he is just a big sophomore - a really big sophomore."

Chaten, who will be on hand for Saturday's FCA Combine in Little Rock, has already gotten offers from Vanderbilt and Troy, the latter school which has also offered Shiloh Christian quarterback Matt Simpson and Saints wideout Crosby Tuck.

"Arkansas State is also in the process of offering him, but they do things a little slower," Wilson said. "But they have let us know one is coming for him."

Chaten, who had over 200 yards rushing in one game and 200 yards receiving in another for the Sand Lizards last season, is also drawing interest from Arkansas and many other SEC programs.

"(UA offensive coordinator) Coach (Gus) Malzahn has already been here to see C.J. and is coming back during spring practice and has told us they are very interested in him," Wilson said. "Ole Miss will be here Friday to see him, Auburn is coming in May 15th and Alabama has called and said they are coming to see him as well. They all want to get in here and make sure he is a legitimate 5-9, which he is."

Most of those schools are looking at Chaten, who ran his 4.38 40-yard dash at Arkansas' camp last summer, as a cornerback.

"The majority of the bigger schools are looking at him at cornerback although Vanderbilt said they don't care whether it is offense or defense, they just want him," Wilson said. "Arkansas State is looking at him for offense. He can do just about everything for us and play every every position except putting his hand down on the ground. He is just a wonderful athlete."

Chaten, also a star basketball player who led his team by scoring 19 points a game last season, played in the first seven games last season before being suspended the last three.

"Since that time he has really matured and I know it is something that he truly learned from and won't happen again," Wilson said. "It's just one of those things where a kid learns a lesson and can move on. He has had a great attitude, is very intelligent and is planning on majoring in computer engineering. I think he has a great future both on and off the field."

Chaten has also shown the ability to succeed in the classroom.

"He has a 3.6 cumulative grade point average and already has a qualifying score on his test," Wilson said. "He is a very good student and takes that very seriously."

He certainly has a big protector in Hall, whose sheer size has certainly got the college coaches salivating.

"He is a big kid whose body is really maturing and catching up with his height," Wilson said. "Think about this - he was a starter in high school last year as an offensive lineman, going up against kids two classes ahead of him and he was just 14 years old."

Hall made an impression on Arkansas coaches last summer when he came up to camp.

"Since I have been a coach at both DeWitt and Dardanelle, we have always brought a group of kids up for Arkansas' camp and we did the same thing last season with C.J. and Matt and some others," Wilson said. "We made sure that Matt got put in with the high school kids so he would be challenged. He was and I am certainly biased, but he certainly held his own. It was great for him and I know Arkansas' coaches were very pleased with what they saw from a kid that was just getting out of the ninth grade."

Hall is certainly a work in progress, but someone with great size to do so.

"He is very strong and is benching well over 300 now," Wilson said. "He has very long arms as most 6-9 guys do. He is a very good run and pass blocker. His footwork has been coming along as well. He was playing basketball up until this year and decided not to do so this season to just get everything he could out of the offseason."

Both players will get plenty of opportunity to be seen this spring and summer.

"C.J. has already been to Arkansas' Junior Days and Alabama's Junior Day this spring and is planning on going to one-day camps this summer at Missouri, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Auburn as well as Arkansas' team camp and its seniors camp. Matt is also going to Arkansas' camp and might go to Ole Miss' one-day camp, too."

Wilson knows he is going to get plenty of calls in the next few years and a lot of big-time coaches will be coming to Dardanelle.

"C.J.'s getting plenty of attention right now and Matt is going to be recruited from coast-to-coast by every school you can think of," Wilson said. "It's going to be a great time for them, but we just have to keep them focused on getting better every day."



Matt Hall


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