Settling In

Incoming UA freshman quarterback Jim Youngblood (6-3, 218, 4.6) talks about just how much knowledge of the game Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino has, how well the quarterbacks have been working together during summer workouts, his decision not to play in the Arkansas High School All-Star game and why he knew how the MLB Draft was going to turn out for him days in advance.

Just a few days before the Major League Baseball draft began on June 5th, Camden Fairview standout and University of Arkansas quarterback signee Jim Youngblood got a very important call about his future.

"There was a guy that called me from the (MLB) scouting bureau about three days before the draft and he said ‘What do you want to do? I need to tell these teams something,'" Youngblood said. "I said, ‘man, I have already moved up to Fayetteville, I'm loving everything and I am playing college football.' I just left it at that and I am happy I did."

So instead of being as high as a possible 10th round pick in the MLB draft, Youngblood (6-3, 218, 4.6) settled in and continued as one of the six Razorback scholarship quarterbacks currently going through summer workouts in a quest for playing time.

"I've been up here for a month now and it is going good," Youngblood said. "We put about four or five hours in a day. We are running and lifting in the morning and then throwing in the afternoon."

Not to mention going to UA summer classes during the day and plenty of time studying the expansive playbook that first-year UA head coach Bobby Petrino presented to all of his current and future players.

"I am starting to really get familiar with the offense and am feeling very comfortable in it," Youngblood said. "I have been studying the playbook since February. It's all complex and very detailed."

Youngblood, who passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for nearly another 1,000 as a senior last season, has been amazed at how much his new head coach knows about the game.

"His knowledge of the game is just unbelievable," Youngblood said. "The stuff that he says is incredible. And he wants us all to know that too and repeat it back to him. I can't believe there are very many guys like that in college football."

He has picked up on just how thorough Petrino and quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee are even if they are not allowed to work with the signal callers on the field.

"You can tell that Coach Petrino and Coach McGee pay attention to the small things," Youngblood said. "In just talking to them, they are all business and all abut making sure you have things down exactly like you need them even before we get ready to take the field for that first practice in August.

Youngblood and three other Camden Fairview standouts turned Razorbacks – tailback De'Anthony Curtis and defensive linemen LaVunce Askew and Brian Christopher – joined wideout Joe Adams, safety Jerico Nelson and quarterback Tyler Wilson in getting up to Fayetteville as soon as possible.

Those seven guys started workouts immediately with their new teammates and all are taking classes.

"It is a real big advantage being up here during the summer," Youngblood said. "I think it has been an even bigger advantage for us seven guys that came up at first and before that second group arrived a couple of weeks after us.

"We have been able to learn the campus, learn where our classes are," Youngblood added. "The big thing for me was going ahead and getting in the quarterback meetings and learn what is going on and getting acclimated to the system."

Youngblood says the older quarterbacks – Casey and Nathan Dick, Alex Mortensen and Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett – have welcomed both him and Wilson with open arms.

"They have been great," Youngblood said. "I feel like Casey and Nathan and Alex and even Ryan have been real helpful in getting us on the right track, making sure we are taking the right drops, making the right reads. They have been a real big help."

Petrino and McGee have made it clear to the younger quarterbacks they are not just to settle for automatically tossing on a redshirt this upcoming season.

"They feel like we are just a little bit behind the guys because really that haven't been in the system that much longer than we have," Youngblood said. "It's not like they have been in the same system they are now for four years. He says the best guy is going to play so I figure if Tyler and I work hard this summer we can make a run at it."

Youngblood took in the Arkansas High School All-Star game on Friday night, but decided against playing in it as did several of the other Razorback signees who were selected to play in the event.

"I talked to Coach Petrino about it a little bit and he really left it up to me, but there really was no reason for me to come here and prove anything to anybody," Youngblood said. "I just wanted to stay in our workouts and keep pointing toward the season."


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