Future University of Arkansas quarterback Jim Youngblood of Camden Fairview would like to be in Northwest Arkansas for the Top Gun Quarterback Challenge this weekend.
But when you have to a chance to spend a few days under the tutelage of NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, you can't pass that up.
Youngblood (6-3, 217, 4.69) will head to Nicholls State University in Thibodaux,La., on Thursday to attend the four-day 12th annual Manning Passing Academy.
He'll have the chance to work with not only the Super Bowl winning QB, but also current NFL quarterback Eli Manning and their dad – former NFL quarterback Archie Manning.
"I had a good time at the quarterback challenge last year and would like to come back again this year because I think I could win it," Youngblood said, "but when you get the chance to work with perhaps the best quarterback in the NFL, it's just too good to pass up."
Interestingly enough, Youngblood said the camp is more than just passing the ball.
"In fact, someone told me that you might as well not have a football for half that camp because they drill you on your footwork and mechanics and a lot of pre-throw stuff," Youngblood said. "I think that is where I can improve the most so I'm really excited about that."
The camp will also include nightly individual sessions with the Mannings for Youngblood, who passed for over 2,000 yards, rushed for an additional 800-plus yards and accounted for 33 touchdowns as a junior.
"I'll get to have a lot of one-on-one time with Peyton," Youngblood said. "He's my favorite quarterback in the NFL so I'm real excited about it."
As is he about teammate De'Anthony Curtis (5-11, 211, 4.41) announcing on Saturday that he would join Youngblood in playing for Arkansas.
Curtis is a running back who had nearly 2,000 yards rushing, receiving and in kick returns as a junior and chose the Razorbacks over Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Clemson and many others.
"I'm real excited to have that over with," Youngblood said. "It's a big relief. I thought we would end up getting him in the end, but I was worried and hoping he would just go ahead and jump in."
Arkansas is also apparently on the verge of getting a third Camden Fairview commit in defensive end LaVunce Askew (6-3, 278, 4.8).
Askew said Sunday that he would make his announcement between tri-finalists Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Texas on August 1.
But Monday he noted that his coach had asked him to either get his commit over before or after two-a-days.
"I feel good about us getting him," Youngblood said. "To tell you the truth I was a little bit more worried about De'Anthony going somewhere than else than LaVunce. Hopefully he'll just go ahead and get it out of the way before two-a-days."
That trio of Cardinals and several other teammates – including defensive end Brian Christopher and cornerback Corey Bailey – are slated to be back in Fayetteville on July 21 for the one-day UA Seniors Only Camp.
"Last I heard I think we are bringing about 10 guys up there from our team," Youngblood said. "It's always fun to get up there and be around the coaches."
That will be just 10 days before the Cardinals – 11-1 last season - get pre-season practice underway on July 31.
"I can't wait for practice to start," Youngblood said. "We really think we have worked hard and gotten a lot better since last season and have a chance to do some really special things this season."
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