FCA Combine

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with FCA Combine organizer B.J. Maack on what to expect at this Saturday's 12th annual event. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free, as is an offer to attend a Razorback game. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

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While the Old School Shootout and Real Deal in the Rock AAU Tournaments will get the lion's share of attention in Central Arkansas this weekend, there is just an important event going on for 160 football prospects.

It's the 12th annual FCA Combine, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium and numbers among its alumni former University of Arkansas standouts Darren McFadden, Peyton Hillis, Jonathon Luigs and Matt Jones among others.

But it has never been the really big names that organizer B.J. Maack has catered to with this event.

"There are some kids in the state like (Little Rock Christian tailback) Michael Dyer, who is going to have all the opportunities and options that he wants," Maack said. "Our goal has always been to help those who need to get notice, who are right on the edge and all they need is a little publicity to get them over the top.

"The way I have always looked at this is if we help one or two kids that would not be getting a scholarship actually get one because of this, we have been successful in what we are trying to do."

That's not to say there won't be some already highly regarded kids in attendance.

Propsects like Junction City defensive tackle Bryan Jones (6-3, 300) and Monticello safety Brishen Matthews (6-1, 190)– who both have offers from the University of Arkansas – are among the invitees and scheduled to attend.

Others like the Newport duo of linebacker-safety Thamail Morgan (6-1, 200) and offensive lineman Wayne Grady (6-5, 300) and Warren quarterback Hayden Sherman should be on hand.

"What's always fun is to see those type of of kids show up and prove they are big-time," Maack said, "but also to see see a guy like Jesse Grandy or Ben Crumpton put down a fast 40-yard dash time and coaches wonder where has this this guy been?"

Today's technology should make those 40 times at on Saturday very accurate for college coaches to review after the fact.

"We have a new timing thing this year where the kids will wear a wristband that has a computer chip in it and will allow us to tell exactly what they run," Macck said. "It is an electronic timing system that is used at the U.S. Army All-American Combine."

The prospects will also be measured and weighed, go through testing in the vertical jump, bench press and the shuttle drill, be timed in the 10, 20 and 40-yard dashes, have a skills session and also be tutored on the recruiting process and eligibility.

While the FCA combine is an invitation only, there is also an open one scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. for anybody who wants to sign up.

"That is something that we are very excited about," Maack said. "It makes a for long day, but gives everyone that wants the opportunity and that is what we are all about."

O o o

The two basketball tournaments will be held Friday through Sunday.

The Old School Super Regional will be held in Conway with its biggest draw a group of players who have been dubbed the "Baby Wings."

That's 2011 prospects in 6-8 Arkansas commit Aaron Ross, 6-9 Hunter Mickelson, 6-4 Ky Madden, 6-2 Shelton Baird, 6-5 Darion Griswold and 6-0 guard Micha Delph.

That talented group will Saturday pool games at Hendrix at 9:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. before advancing into Sunday's bracket play.

The Old School's website is http://www.oldschoolshowcase.com/

The Real Deal in the Rock – which has moved from Fayetteville to Little Rock for its fifth year – will get going Friday night.

It will open with a match-up between two of the country's best AAU Teams with All Ohio Red and MBA Elite at 5:30 at the Jack Stephens Center.

There are several players that Arkansas is recruiting involved including Memphis Magic 2010 stars Mardracus Wade, Joe Jackson, Tarik Black and Chris Crawford and 2011 prospect Adonis Thomas.

There's also the Hoops Planet trio of 2010 prospects – 6-6 guard Jelan Kendrick, 6-9 forward Donte Williams and 6-5 forward Jemail Jones.

The website for that tournament is http://www.realdealintherock.com/

Unlike previous years, the NCAA will not allow coaches to see the athletes during this time.

O o o

The spring signing period – which runs over a month long – opens on Wednesday.

Arkansas is expected to sign 6-1 guard Julysess Nobles of Jackson (Miss.) Callaway.

The Razorbacks are also hosting 6-7, 190-pound forward Glenn Bryant of Oak Hill Academy on an official visit this weekend and are also involved with former Florida commit DeShawn Painter (6-9, 205) of Hargrave Military Academy.

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