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In just a couple of weeks, Little Rock Catholic tight end Garrett Uekman will be in Fayetteville with a point to prove.
That would be that Uekman (6-2, 245) is the – or at least a - tight end that the University of Arkansas should offer in its 2010 recruiting class.
He already has an offer from LSU (as well as UCA), but admits that he grew up wanting to play for the Razorbacks.
“I was born and raised in Little Rock and I have grown up all my life loving the Razorbacks and going to a lot of their games,” Uekman said. “That’s the offer I really want and where I have always wanted to go.
“That’s not to say it is just automatic that I would go there because I need to be in the best situation for myself, but it sure would be hard to turn down,” Uekman said.
Arkansas has held off so far because Uekman went through an injury-plagued junior season.
“What Arkansas coaches have told me is that they just want to see me a little bit more since I missed so much time last year,” Uekman said. “They want me to come up to their camp that starts on June 7 and let them get another look. If I need to I will come back for the July one.”
He does like what he sees of the Arkansas coaching staff.
“I have been up there several times and they are a close-knit bunch of guys who really know what they are doing,” Uekman said. “I really like what I see from them.”
That especially goes for Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton.
“I really like Coach Horton,” Uekman said. “He is a really nice guy. I just don’t think they get any better than him. I can’t say enough great things about him. He is just a fantastic person.
“I also like Chip Long, who helps out with the tight ends,” Uekman said. “They know exactly what it takes to be successful on and off the field.”
The fact that Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams caught 61 passes for 732 yards last season doesn’t hurt as well.
“Oh, yes that is a big factor,” Uekman said. “They really get the ball to the tight end.”
LSU put its offer on the table back in March.
“I knew they had been following me for awhile, but still I was surprised and honor to get an offer from a program that just won the national championship two years ago,” Uekman said. “It was really nice to get it.”
Uekman admitted he thought momentarily about going ahead and committing to the Tigers.
“Yes, I did, but I sit down with my family and we just thought this was real early in the process and I should just wait awhile and see what else happens,” Uekman said.
Uekman still manage to catch 52 passes and haul in five TD passes while working his way a deep thigh bruise that hampered him throughout the season.
“I got hurt in the first quarter of the first game, had to miss the second one and then had to miss time in a lot of the other ones,” Uekman said. “I can understand why Arkansas would want to see some more of me and that I am healthy.”
Uekman, whose favorite NFL player is Dallas tight end Jason Witten, has added 25 pounds in the offseason.
“I feel really good about my pass catching ability and my ability to run routes,” Uekman said. “I think the added weight is going to help me be able to be a better blocking tight end and stay on people to the whistle.”
Other schools who have shown interest in Uekman are Alabama, Stanford, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Arkansas State.
“I plan to be at both Arkansas camps and at LSU’s second camp,” Uekman said. “We will be in a 7-on-7 passing league where schools come to War Memorial Stadium to play us on four Mondays in July. I’m really looking forward to the summer.”