Arkansas' Big Saturday

In his weekly column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Pulaski Academy wideout Neal Barlow (6-7,200), one of nearly 100 standouts expected to be on hand Saturday for the Razorbacks' Junior Day and Red-White game. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner for details.

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Pulaski Academy junior wideout Neal Barlow will get his first chance to take in a Bobby Petrino-led University of Arkansas football practice on Saturday during the Razorbacks' Junior Day. But it's clear that Barlow (6-7, 200) been doing his homework on what's going on this spring in Fayetteville.

"I am coming up this weekend for the (Red-White) game and Junior Day," Barlow said. "I like what I have been hearing and reading – how Petrino is all business, getting on them, getting them to work hard and being in the process of turning everything around. He's letting everybody know that those that go up there and work the hardest are the ones that will play."

Barlow, who got an scholarship offer from Arkansas in early March, caught 81 passes for 1,164 yards and 11 TDs last season for the pass-happy Bruins.

His top statistical game came 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.

That was good enough to Barlow – also one of the state's best basketball players - offers from Arkansas and Tulsa and interest from North Carolina, Ohio State and others.

Barlow's dad Jeb was Michael Jordan's college roommate at North Carolina and was an NBA draftee.

"Arkansas and Tulsa are the ones that have offered and I talk to North Carolina on the phone last Wednesday and they said they are getting close to offering," Barlow said. "I am just kind of laying back and seeing what all comes to me."

Barlow hasn't been catching any footballs or playing any basketball in the last month.

"I separated a disc in my back," Barlow said. "I did it about a month ago playing basketball. I should be back in about two weeks. I have been just getting physical therapy three times a week to get back healthy."

That forced him to root on his Arkansas Wings Gold teammates from the bench this past weekend at the Old School Super Regional in Conway instead of helping them out on the court.

The Wings rallied from a 20-point second half deficit to down Athletes First in a Saturday night game only to lose a lead the next day in a semifinal round game with Memphis YOMCA.

Barlow will soon rejoin a squad that also includes Little Rock Hall junior point guard A.J. Walton, guards Jalynn Mitchell of Nettleton, swingman Quinton Pippin of Hamburg and forwards Gavin Glanton of Forrest City, Terry Tidwell of Conway and Alandise Harris of Little Rock Central.

"We just kept fighting and playing defense (on Saturday night) after first coming out and trying to do too much and being a little intimidated. "We kept taking it to them and I think that is what this team is going to be about this summer."

Barlow will also be busy with 7-on-7 this summer, including the annual Shootout of the South on June 13-14 in Little Rock.

He also has plans to be on hand for Arkansas' Seniors Football Camp on June 8-11 and its Seniors Only Camp on July 19.

"It's going to be a pretty busy summer for me," Barlow said. "I' m really anxious just to get healthy and get it started."

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