Saturday, January 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Day gets recruiting over fast, commits

Leader sports editor

Juan Day is very soft spoken, but his play said enough to garner a scholarship offer from the Arkansas Razorbacks this week. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior from North Little Rock responded by making a verbal commitment to the Razorbacks on Monday, hoping to become one of a long line of ultra successful running backs to play for new Hogs’ coach Bret Bielema.

“Arkansas is the school I’ve always wanted to play for,” Day told The Leader on Wednesday. “I wanted to go ahead and get the recruiting thing out of the way so I can focus on being a better teammate and winning a championship.”

Arkansas is the first BCS school to extend a hard offer, but other major universities are showing a serious interest. Among the schools that have been the most interested in Day are Auburn, Georgia Tech and Memphis.

Last season Day played in just nine of the Charging Wildcats’ 12 games because a helmet-to-helmet hit in the Searcy game left him with a concussion.

In those nine games, he carried 127 times for 922 yards. That’s a 7.25 yards-per-carry average.

Day said the recruiting circus and media attention surrounding senior teammate Altee Tenpenny had something to do with his decision to commit early.

“(Altee) said you get frustrated sometimes with all the attention,” Day said. “Sometimes he just wanted someone to ask him how his day was going instead of where he’s going to school. That’s not all we’re about so I just want to try and not have to deal with that.”

Day certainly is not just about football. Among the list of things he enjoys besides football, his first answer was, “I just like hanging out with my family.”

Day is the son of Roosevelt and Wynona Day of Little Rock and has three siblings that he’s clearly proud of. Speaking barely above a whisper for most of the conversation, Day’s face broadened into a big smile and his voice became louder when he decided to interject something that had not been asked.

“I have something else to say,” Day began. “My little brother Alex is playing here next year and he’s going to be a great talent. He’s in eighth, going into ninth grade and he’s going to be really good. I’m real proud of him.”