It's a big day for West Helena Central star cornerback Darius Winston.
He's headed to the doctor to get the pin out of his pinky finger and that means he can get serious about contact again.
Winston (6-1, 180, 4.3), a five-star athlete who is regarded as one of the nation's top five cornerbacks by Scout.com, has been practicing with the Cougars, but also limited in what he could do.
"I am really looking forward to getting this thing out," Winston said. "It happened right before I came up to the Arkansas camp. I want to be doing everything like my teammates, who are like my brothers and who I really love being around."
West Helena is in the process of getting ready to host its season opener next Friday with pass-happy Pulaski Academy.
It will be a rematch of last season's match-up when Pulaski Academy topped West Helena 40-25 in Little Rock.
"We have been having great practices and I really feel like we go into the season going to have a great year like everybody thinks we will," Winston said. "It's great to being go up against Pulaski Academy right away. They are the number one team in 5A and we feel like it's going to be a battle of two great teams."
Winston, along with running back and Razorback running back commit Turell Williams (6-2, 215), will have the chance to go up against a Bruins team led by current Kansas commit Neal Barlow.
Winston and Barlow have become friends and constantly text message each other.
"Right now I am not sure how much we will be going up against each other," Winston said. "I actually have been taking reps with second team while I have been injured. We'll just have to see what happens."
Winston will take the field just about seven hours after announcing where he will play his college football.
He'll do so with a noon announcement next Friday at the school's administration building with some television and radio stations scheduled to cover the event.
"I will have my teammates around me so they can be a part of it," Winston said.
It will come from a group of schools that include Arkansas, Ole Miss, Michigan, Clemson and Tennessee.
"I know where I am going," Winston said of a decision reached about a week ago. "It came down to where I thought I would get the best coaching, where I could reach my full potential. In the end, I just think it is where I should be."
Winston initially committed to the Razorbacks the day after the 2008 signing day, but de-committed in June.
"I grew up loving the Razorbacks and always said that if I got an offer from them, I would commit right away," Winston said. "That's exactly what I did.
"I thought it would be the only offer I would get, but then I got something like 30 more," Winston added. "I just thought I needed to step back, look over all these over schools, and make sure that I was making the right decision."
Winston is taking an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend to see the Rebels host Memphis.
That has caused some concern about the Razorback faithful on message boards and sports radio talk shows.
"They shouldn't read anything into that at all," Winston said of the Arkansas fans. "It's not going to have anything to do with where I am going. It's just an opportunity to see a game at a place I never have. Those (Ole Miss) coaches are good guys and they asked me to come down."
Asked to assess what he thought about Arkansas, Winston offered up the following about a place where he has seen numerous games and taken several unofficial visits.
"I've been to Arkansas games and it's a great, great atmosphere," Winston said. "They also have great coaches, especially (UA secondary) Coach (Lorenzo) Ward, who has coached in college and in the NFL."
Like any young athlete would be, Winston enjoyed the recruiting process early on and was flattered by all the attention.
And yes, his recent comments to various recruiting writers have helped build up the suspense, but he admits to looking forward to having it out of the way in about a week.
"That's going to be nice," Winston said. "I am going to have the announcement, let everybody know where I going. It'll be out of the way and then my teammates and I can concentrate on trying to win a state championship."
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