When we look back on Signing Day 2008, there's one visiual image that stands out a little more than the others.
That would be the embrace that Camden Fairview defensive ends and best friends Brian Christopher (6-4, 240) and LaVunce Askew (6-3, 278) shared just as the school's signing ceremony was coming to a close.
That congratulatory hug happened when Askew (6-3, 280) caught a glimpse of Christopher's Razorback cap, a sign that he was was joining his buddy and two other teammates – Jim Youngblood and De'Anthony Curtis - headed to Fayetteville instead of heading to Texas Tech, where he was committed.
"I was very upset when they (the Razorbacks) didn't recruit me at first and had decided I wouldn't even go there if they ended up offering me," Christopher said. "But my coach (Buck James) explained how they had a new staff and they were giving me an opportunity.
"Going to Arkansas allowed me to continue playing on the same team as LaVunce," Christopher added. "It's very rare that best friends get to play football together in college, much less Division I football. The new staff doesn't know me and I don't know about them, but I am looking at that as a good thing and feel blessed about how this all worked out."
Christopher was not recruited by the former University of Arkansas staff and was offered a scholarship by the current one - led by Bobby Petrino and assistant Tim Horton – at around 9 a.m. on signing day.
"Oh, man, that was some morning," Christopher said. "We were signing at 10:30 and I got a call from (Jim's dad) Stan Youngblood saying that Arkansas was offering me a full scholarship," Christopher said. "I went back and forth a couple of times. The Arkansas coaches were calling the Texas Tech coaches were calling. I just had to take a little time to consider everything."
The other three – who had been doing their best to sway the fourth Cardinal to join them at Arkansas - signed their letters before it was announced that it was now time for Christopher to ink his letter of intent.
That's when Christopher came strolling out and Askew caught a glimpse of the hat.
"He was as happy as I was," Christopher said. "It's just great that we are going to be at the same school."
James says that Arkansas is getting quite a late catch in Christopher.
"I think he had a great season and it was clear that with offers from Texas Tech and Oklahoma State that there were people outside of this state that really thought he could play football," James said. " It was so great when the new coaches at Arkansas gave him that opportunity because he is a great kid and a tremendous person to go along with being a great football player.
"He and LaVunce wanted to play together in college," James added. "They would line up on the left and right ends for us and meet at the quarterback."
Christopher, who had 52 tackles and 7 sacks this season noted that he and Askew, who also had 7 sacks among his 58 tackles and 21 for lost yardage, are different players.
"LaVunce is big and physical while I am faster and use my speed to my advantage to get to the quarterback," Christopher said.
Ironically, Christopher is the only player that Arkansas signed that didn't take an official visit to Fayetteville, albeit he has been to the school on numerous unofficial visits.
"The only coach on the staff that I have talked to is Tim Horton and didn't get to take an official visit like everybody else," Christopher said. "But that's cool. I am just happy I am going to be going to school to get a great education and play football."
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