Weems 86s the rumors

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson chats with University of Arkansas basketball signee Sonny Weems (6-6, 200), who just passed a highly publicized algebra test and is all make an immediate impact with the Razorback hoops program next season.

On Monday morning, University of Arkansas high-flying basketball signee Sonny Weems took one of the more publicized algebra tests ever given in this state.

He went in a Lion and roared out a Razorback.

Weems passed the test at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith with flying colors and in doing so completed the final academic hurdle in his quest to be eligible at Arkansas by SEC standards -- after already being qualified under NCAA requirements.

He considered posting a score of 86 and passing the course as an academic achievement - both literally and figuratively.

"It feels great to have it all over, but I never felt like there was going to be any problem anyway," Weems said. "But now I can put all that stuff behind me and come on up and be a Razorback like I have always looked forward to being."

Weems was going along fine on his path to the UA until the Razorback coaches called in April to tell him the SEC had passed a rule that had an effect on his eligibility.

Basically they told Weems that he -- as well as a plethora of other athletes at other SEC schools -- would have to take either an additional math or english course to be eligible to play at a conference school.

He was already eligible to play at Big 12 or Conference USA schools -- but not at the school in Fayetteville where he signed or anyone else in the SEC for that matter.

Everything was going along fine for Weems until former UAFS coach Jeremy Cox was hired at Texas A&M and speculation started via internet message boards and radio shows that Weems might want to head there instead of coming to Arkansas.

Adding fuel to the fire soon afterwards was a CBS.sportsline.com article -- penned by a former Memphis beat writer -- that suggested Weems would be headed to play for the Tigers if he didn't pass his course.

"I was very mad about that at first, but my dad said to not let it get in the way of my goal," Weems said. "So I just used that as motivation."

He'll now spend a couple weeks resting and relaxing at home before coming up to Fayetteville on August 19 ahead of the beginning of school two days later.

Unlike the three other UA basketball signees that are all freshmen, Weems is an older player -- one expected to make an impact at a small forward spot where he is the only true small forward since Ronnie Brewer left early for the NBA.

"The coaches have told me, especially since all the other guys are freshman, that they need me to come ready to play and be ready to make an impact right away from the first game," Weems said. "I am looking forward to doing that and helping my team right away."

Although he couldn't come play pick-up games with Arkansas players this summer in Fayetteville, several of them made it down to Fort Smith to get familiar with him.

"That was cool of them and I think we are going to have a really good team," Weems said. "We've got a lot of talent at Arkansas and I can't wait to put on that Razorback uniform and win a whole lot of games."

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Tidbits:

...With the commitments of Morrilton outside linebacking prospect Freddy Burton (6-3, 185, 4.49) last Friday and Springdale kicker Alex Tejada (5-10, 170) on Monday, the Razorback football program now has 10 verbal pledges in its 2007 class.

At this time last season, Arkansas had just four commitments with addition of Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain and wideout Andrew Norman running that total to six on August 16.

...Fort Smith quarterback Kodi Burns (6-2, 190) said Sunday night that he would take official visits to Arkansas (on Sept. 1-3) and Auburn later in the month before making an official announcement on his college choice.

He will not make a scheduled trip to Auburn on Sept. 16 because it is an ACT testing date.

...Other Razorback football prospects who could make commitments in the near future are Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba (6-7, 295) and Bixby (Okla.) defensive end/linebacker Jared Glover (6-5, 220).

Ziemba is still contemplating when he will announce while Glover will officially visit Arkansas, Colorado and Nebraska -- three places he has visited unofficially recently -- before making his call.


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