O'Grady's Stock On The Rise
In a perfect world, Fayetteville junior tight end C.J. O'Grady's first scholarship offer would have come from Arkansas.
After all, O'Grady (6-5, 230) is the son of late Razorback basketball player Larry Marks and he has been a huge Arkansas fan while growing up.
But it was Ole Miss getting to the table first on Thursday when it put an offer down for O'Grady, who is coming off a breakout season with 45 catches for 884 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"Getting my first offer really means a lot of me," O'Grady said. "It's a big thing. I have always wanted the opportunity to play college football and this means that if I keep working hard that it will happen for me."
Arkansas, Auburn and Alabama are among others showing interest in quarterback-turned-tight end O'Grady, who is obviously right in the Razorbacks' back yard.
"Obviously I would love to play for Arkansas," O'Grady said. "That has been a dream and I hope I get the opportunity to do so. Not only is it the team that I grew up loving, but it is a great school for a tight end. They run a lot of 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers) and 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end) so that is perfect for me."
He understands why Arkansas goes about recruiting in a certain way.
"I think they do things the right way," O'Grady said. "This was my first year to play tight end and I split out a lot. They told me they want to see me block and play with my hand on the ground. They'll get to see that this spring or in camp. I certainly understand that they want tight ends that can do it all and not just catch passes."
Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton noted that in an earlier article about O'Grady being named the All-NWA Media Co-Newcomer of the Year with Bentonville sophomore quarterback Casey Ford.
"He doesn't have to be a great blocker, but he needs to be able to get down in the dirt and show that he can block," Patton said. "If he can add some strength, this time next football season he's got a chance to be the best we've ever had come through here."
O'Grady did indeed make the move from junior varsity quarterback as a sophomore to starting tight end for Fayetteville as a junior this season.
"I have been a quarterback growing up, but our coaches thought I might make a good tight end so they put me out there in practice and I started making a lot of catches in our 7-on-7 games," O'Grady said. "It turns out I am kind of a natural and it worked out really well for us."
He is playing basketball for Fayetteville right now with an eye toward attending camps and trying to cement his Arkansas offer.
"I am going to go to a camp at TCU (Nike Camp) and definitely go to Arkansas' Camp in June," O'Grady said. "I'm just going to try and keep working hard in class and on the field to show them I can do it on the next level."