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July 20, 2004Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Oak Grove athlete Darren McFadden, the Natural State's premier high school football prospect, is making his second-straight camp stop in Fayetteville (Ark.) this weekend.
McFadden is still being recruited by Tennessee and Alabama, despite his April 5 commit to Arkansas. His only written scholarship offer is from Arkansas because he committed so early, but the Volunteers and Crimson Tide have both verbally offered. All he would have to do is show interest to get it on paper. Right now, that is not going to happen. McFadden is looking forward to the July 23-24 Seniors Only Camp.
"Yeah, I'm really anticipating it," McFadden said.
Most prospects of McFadden's caliber who have already committed would likely sit out the camp, but McFadden enjoys the competition, and he cannot wait to start his playing days at Arkansas.
"He's in a class of his own," Oak Grove Coach John Mayes said. "He's just a real special kid, on and off the field. On the field, he's just an incredible athlete and a real gifted runner. He's one of those guys who looks like he's just gliding, but he can turn it on in a heartbeat. Some of the things you see him do on film are amazing. It will look like there's no way he's going anywhere, like two or three guys are going to have a shot at him, and then all of the sudden he'll hit that burst of speed and he's gone. Nobody even touches him."
McFadden said he will likely head to Fayetteville a day before the camp so he can meet with other another Arkansas commit and another prospect he would like to commit.
"I talked to Marcus Shavers a couple of times and those other guys (Colin Tucker) will be with him," McFadden said.
Shavers, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, is rated one of the top players in Texas for 2005. He could help at end or tackle. Tucker, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, is an offensive lineman from Richardson (Texas) Pearce. Tucker's father played under former Arkansas coach Lou Holtz, and Tucker has the Hogs high on his list. Arkansas and 18 other programs have offered Tucker. Shavers chose the Hogs over scholarship offers from Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
THE 2003 HOUSTON NUTT CAMP
McFadden, 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, has been a superstar at each camp he has attended, starting at age 15 when he ran a 4.37 at the Houston Nutt Camp and was soon offered a scholarship by the Razorbacks. McFadden followed that performance with 204 carries for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, earning all-state honors. There is little question all-America honors will follow his senior season.
Remarkably, McFadden has outdone his competitors as one of the younger prospects at the camps and on game days. He does not turn 17 until August 27, 2004, possibly making him the baddest 16-year old in the country.
THE NIKE TRAINING CAMP
In May at the NIKE Training Camp in Atlanta, McFadden's performance shot his stock through the roof. A good camp performance, and his reputation and game film, would have landed McFadden a spot among the top 50 players in the nation. His incredible play in individual drills and his 4.38 40-yard dash time put him at No. 34. Rivals100.com Recruiting Analyst Jeremy Crabtree was impressed.
The Natural State of Arkansas is one of the most underappreciated states in the nation when it comes to Division I players, but Little Rock (Ark.) Oak Grove running back Darren McFadden showed why he's been called the state's top prospect with a sparkling performance Saturday.
Measuring in at 6-foot ? and 198 pounds, McFadden ripped off a 4.38 40 and then followed it up with a 4.4 minutes later. McFadden showed great hands in the position drills, ability to make sudden changes of direction and could hardly be covered in one-on-one drills.
With his long and lean frame, there were whispers amongst the more than 100 college coaches on hand that he might even project as a blue-chip safety prospect. Either way, McFadden looks like he has all of the good of a player that could be a national top 50 prospect and one heck of a grab for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
McFadden's rating makes him the most highly regarded prospect to commit to Arkansas since offensive tackle Shawn Andrews and cornerback Ahmad Carroll in 2001. Both were drafted in the first-round of this year's NFL Draft.
Before the NIKE Camp, McFadden said he figured he would run in the 4.4-second range, because he has been trying to improve his strength, and he hadn't been doing much running. He is unsure of his current bench press max, but he recently pressed 315 pounds three times.
THE 2004 HOUSTON NUTT CAMP
McFadden came into the Houston Nutt Camp on June 6-9 committed to the Razorbacks. He ran his fastest 40-yard dash time in 4.33 seconds. After Marianna's Marcus Brown ran a 4.26, McFadden's eyes lit up. He immediately asked where Brown was, so he could defend his title as the fastest player at the camp he did with a 4.37 clocking, beating Brown by a step-and-a-half.
McFadden was named Camp Most Valuable Player, though he was about the only prospect that went through the entire camp without pads.
"Darren is going to succeed at whatever he does," Mayes said. "He will be a standout in the SEC, it just depends on the year. He might have a little adjustment period since we run the wishbone here and not the I-formation used at Arkansas. He's not a power back, but he has the strength to run over you."
McFadden currently has a 2.6 GPA and he has scored 16 on the ACT. He will not take the exam again until after football season.
"I'll probably wait until after the first semester of English and then go over there and take it again," he said.
MCFADDEN FLIES ON FILM
To check out McFadden's incredible on-field play, click HERE to view his highlight reels.
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