One of the prime University of Arkansas 2009 recruiting targets certainly made his presence felt in a big way this weekend in Fayetteville.
Pulaski Academy star wide receiver Neal Barlow (6-7, 200, 4.55) was named the event MVP while leading the Bruins to the championship of the McDonald's Select 7-on-7 Tournament on the UA campus.
The Bruins went 10-0 in the tournament and capped off their banner performance with a 41-14 pasting of Sherman (Texas) Saturday afternoon in the championship game.
"We were really clicking and our defense really stepped up this tournament," Barlow said. "I think our defense is playing much better than the did at our tournament (June's Shootout of the South) was the biggest reason for our success."
Barlow, ranked as the fourth best 2009 prospect in the state by Hawgs Illustrated, was one of the main cogs in an offense directed by senior-to-be quarterback Spencer Keith that seemingly scored at will through the tournament.
"With our first group on offense I think it was just twice (throughout the tournament) that we didn't score," Kelly said. "In 11 games or whatever it was, I am proud of the way we made a lot of third down conversions and did a lot of stuff."
Barlow has been offered scholarships by Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, LSU and Tulsa and also has gotten interest from North Carolina.
"Neal is capable of so much," Pulaski Academy head coach Kevin Kelly said. "There are reasons he has got offers from Arkansas, LSU and Missouri and other schools. He is not taking it for granted and he is humble about it and knows he has to work to improve. He knows he is not even close to where he can be."
Barlow disputed a recent JayhawkSlant.com story that said Kansas was "the" frontrunner – instead of "a" frontruuner - among his schools.
"I really don't have a favorite, but if I did it would be Arkansas because I am from here," Barlow said.
Barlow, who had 81 catches for 1,164 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, has a couple of trips planned in the next week or so and then will move toward making a decision.
"I am going up to Missouri on Wednesday and then going down to LSU next week," Barlow said. "I am still going to try and get something down before the season starts," Barlow said.
Many have wondered if Arkansas' release of Pulaski Academy wideout Cruz Williams, a 2008 signee who was not academically eligible at the first of the summer and is now at Louisiana Tech, will have a negative effect on the Razorbacks' chances with Barlow.
"I really don't see it having an effect on me because I am in a different situation than he was," Barlow said.
Barlow said he actually has plans to contact incoming freshman Joe Adams, who has been on campus since May, to gauge how he is enjoying his time in Faetteville.
"I am actually going to try and call Joe this week and talked to him about the coaches and how he likes it up here," Barlow said. "That will help me make my decision."
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