UA or MLB?

University of Arkansas quarterback signees Tyler Wilson and Jim Youngblood - already on campus and enrolled in school - will likely hear their names called Thursday in the Major League Baseball Draft, but it's going to take offers they just can't refuse to keep from being Razorback signal callers next season.

There was some thought earlier that Thursday's 2008 Major League Baseball Draft could take away a pair of highly-regarded quarterbacks that the University of Arkansas signed back in February.

But it's looking more and more like both Greenwood's Tyler Wilson (6-3, 185) and Camden Fairview's Jim Youngblood (6-3, 212) – who were a pair of the state's top high school pitchers this past season – are most likely going to be on UA campus this fall with helmets on.

In fact, both have already been on the UA campus going to school and working out since mid-May and will find out today just what MLB teams think of their worth.

"It is going to have to be the absolute right situation for me to leave here," Wilson said. "Right now I am having a good time and am looking forward to playing for the Razorbacks. It is just going to have to be an amazing situation for me to give up what I am doing right now."

Youngblood has made it clear for quite awhile that he is planning to play football for the Razorbacks unless given an offer he just can't refuse.

"Besides, a million dollars is what it is use to be," Youngblood joked during a recent interview on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly.

Both prospects have been told that they could possibly go anywhere from the 6th round (albeit there's just a slight chance to go that high) all way down to the very upper rounds of the draft because of dalliances with football.

"Really, we don't have a clue," Wilson said. "Lots of people tell you lots of different stuff and you don't really know what's the truth and what isn't."

Both young men acknowledge that if they do not sign a contract with an MLB organization that they will concentrate solely on football their first year in college and thus go through spring practice in 2009 instead of playing college baseball.

Wilson went 11-0 on the mound this season with a miniscule 1.36 ERA and a whopping 92 strikeouts in just 64 innings while also hitting .418 with 4 homers and 30 RBIs.

He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state, but has not heard much from teams the past couple of weeks since he actually enrolled at the UA.

"You still really don't know where you are going to go and how things might turn out, but right now I am just going to football practice everyday, trying to learn the offense and go to class. If something happens with the draft, that's great, but right now my focus is strictly on playing football. We'll see what happens."

Major League teams that stopped by to see Wilson pitch this spring were the Yankees, Twins, Cardinals, Royals, White Sox, Diamondbacks and Mets.

But things have gone very silent the past two weeks since Wilson enrolled in school at the UA and he has no idea what round he might be taken in at this point.

"There were plenty of teams," Wilson said. "But in talking to the organizations, we have tried to stay away from dollar amounts and the round. We'll just see what happens, but right now I am about football and the Razorbacks."

Youngblood was 9-2 pitching this season with a 0.64 ERA while fanning 107 batters in just 66 innings.

He also batted .366 with 4 homers, 32 RBIs while stealing 18 bases and getting issued 22 bases on balls.

"We have talked to a lot of organizations, some that seem if they are were extremely interested," noted Stan Youngblood," Jim's dad. "But he couldn't wait to get his diploma and get up there on the Hill so he would need to be absolutely blown away for anybody to get him off of there."

Wilson thinks getting a head start by enrolling in college this summer will be beneficial for him.

"I started class my first day up here and it's going good," Wilson said. "I am a criminal justice major and am learning some things that are good, preparing for my future and learning some football on top of that."

The Camden Fairview quartet of Youngblood, De'Anthony Curtis, LaVunce Askew and Brian Christopher have joined fellow 2008 signees Joe Adams, Jerico Nelson, Matt Hall, Zach Stadther, Dennis Johnson and Warren's Jarius Wright, Greg Childs and Chris Gragg are all now on campus per Wilson.

"I have been going out and throwing routes with the guys, learning all the players and what the offense is like," Wilson said. "There are six that have been here the same amount of time that I have and there have now been a few more guys that have come in for this mini-session."

He has certainly been impressed with many of the current and future Razorbacks, ones like Adams.

"Along with the other wide receivers, Joe just looks very good," Wilson said. "He is very smooth. I think he is deceptively fast and very quick, has good hands and a great vertical jump, which probably right around 36 inches. I think he is a guy that can step in and play right away as can De'Anthony and probably some other guys."

Wilson said he is not actually in a hurry for fall practice to start.

"I'm actually hoping it takes some time for August to get here," Wilson said. "That's because I have a lot of the playbook to still learn and a lot of other things I still have to learn instead of just being thrown out there. The terminology is a little different and the more time I have to learn it will just make me better when I do get out there and get thrown in the fire."

Jim Youngblood

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