When your dad used to be college roommates with Michael Jordan and you are used to making big catches on the football field and big shots on the basketball court, there's probably not much that fazes you.
But Pulaski Academy junior wideout Neal Barlow (6-6, 195, 4.6) admits he got a little more revved up than usual on Wednesday.
"I got a text from (Pulaski Academy head) Coach (Kevin) Kelly and he told me that Arkansas had offered me a scholarship," Barlow related. "I was so pumped."
Barlow, who also has an offer from Tulsa and interest from Ohio State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, will be in Fayetteville on Saturday as some juniors take unofficial visits to watch the Arkansas-Auburn basketball game.
"I'm coming up along with (PA quarterback) Spencer (Keith) and (tailback) D.J. Daniel," Barlow said. "We're looking forward to it."
Barlow teamed with 2008 Razorback signee Cruz Williams (6-4, 205) to give the pass-happy Bruins two 1,000 yard receivers during the 2007 season.
While Williams was catching 105 passes for 1,316 yards and 18 touchdowns during a 9-2-1 campaign, Barlow was hauling in 81 passes for 1,164 yards and 11 TDs.
Barlow's finest moment came in the last game of the season when he had 15 catches for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 57-50 loss to eventual state champion Greenwood in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
"Neal did a great job for us this season and really came into his own," Kelly said shortly after the season was over. "He made a lot of tough catches look very easy, he has great size and he developed into a very good route runner."
Barlow, also a standout for the Pulaski Academy basketball team and Arkansas Wings AAU club, feels good about his season.
"I feel pretty good the season that I had and thought I used my size to make a lot of catches and make some big plays with the help of my teammates," Barlow said. "I want to get stronger and faster and continue to improve on my routes."
Barlow, who had 13 catches for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns as a sophomore, will play AAU basketball this spring and summer in addition to having plenty of football events scheduled.
"We are going to have a lot of 7-on-7 games and we are going to go to a couple of team camps," Barlow said. "I'm going to come to the Arkansas camp."
Jeb Barlow, Neal's dad, was Jordan's roommate and a senior co-captain for the Tarheels when he played at North Carolina from 1980-1982.
The elder Barlow was taken by Denver with the 15th pick of the seventh round in the 1982 NBA draft.
"He's got some great stories and one of his favorites is about how hard their practice was the day before they played Georgetown (to win the 1982 NCAA title)," the younger Barlow said. "He also talks about all the crazy shots that Jordan made back when he was playing."
Both Barlows and Jordan were on hand when the team was honored for the 25th anniversary of its national championship.
"Last year all the players came back for the 25 anniversary celebration and it was just pretty cool being around Jordan and that atmosphere," Barlow said.
Barlow was considering playing both sports in college, but plans now to concentrate on football.
"I am only going to play football," Barlow said. "I think that's the best thing for me to do."
Barlow is the second Pulaski Academy athlete to be offered a scholarship by Arkansas this week.
Freshman basketball player Aaron Ross (6-7, 205) committed to the Razorbacks earlier this week.
"It's awesome," Barlow said. "It shows you what a great school and great coaches that we have and that we are doing the right things."
Barlow isn't sure when he will make his pledge to a school.
"I would like to get it down before we start next season, but I am not certain," Barlow said. "We'll just see how things go."
Razorbacks offer Barlow
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