Red, White and Blue Backer

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Fenton (MO) Rockwood Summit MLB Eric Beisel (6-4, 236, 4.51), a prime Arkansas recruiting target playing for the USA at the the IFAF Under-19 World Championship that begins Saturday. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers.

One of the nation's best middle linebackers – who is an Arkansas recruiting target - is representing his country at the 2012 International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championship.

Fenton (MO) Rockwood Summit star Eric Beisel (6-4, 236, 4.51) is one 45 players on the United States roster for the week-long event, which begins Saturday in Austin, Texas.

"It's an honor to be able to represent my country and be on the same team with such great players," Beisel said. "We are just going to try and go out there and win the games and bring home a championship."

The top-seeded United States squad – which also features Arkansas safety commit Khari Harding (6-1, 205) of Edmond (OK) Santa Fe - opens its tournament schedule Saturday night at 8 p.m. against eighth-seeded American Somoa.

That's the finale of a four-game slate that features fourth-seeded Panama and fifth-seeded Austria at 9 a.m., third-seeded Japan and sixth-seeded France at 11:30 a.m. and second-seeded Canada facing seventh-seeded Sweden at 5 p.m.

"I don't really know what to expect from the other teams other than I am sure it is going to be the best football players in each country and every game is going to be tough," Beisel said.

There are also games on Tuesday and Friday with the gold medal game set for Saturday at 8 p.m.

Beisel, who had 128 tackles as a junior and is a three-star prospect in's rankings, is actually playing outside linebacker for this event instead of his normal middle linebacker spot in high school."

"It's been strange at strong side linebacker and it taken me some getting use to, but I am okay with it," Beisel said. "I don't mind doing the dirty work for the Mike linebacker and driving them in there for him."

Hammering offensive players with the ball is one of Beisel's favorite things in life.

"I love to find the ball and I love to hit," Beisel said. "I think I can get better in pass coverage, but my run defense is strong and I love to get up in there in the hole and make plays."

Beisel has been to several different Junior Days, including one at Arkansas.

"Arkansas is a top-notch, powerhouse program and I am really enjoyed being on their campus, the weight room and all their facilities," Beisel said. "I really like the coaches that are there now, especially (linebacker coach) Taver Johnson. I really have a connection with him and think he could develop me and get the most of me. He is recruiting me the hardest of any one."

Beisel has also made trips to Missouri, Illinois and Notre Dame and also has offers from Ohio State, Arizona State, Nebraska, Indiana, Kansas and Kansas State.

"I am definitely going to visit Arkansas and Missouri again before I make my decision," Beisel said. "I want make my decision sometime in August and definitely before my season starts."

Eric Beisel

Eric Beisel pushes into the backfield during the USA team's practice on Thursday morning.

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