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January 10, 2005

Jan. 21 UA Visit Preview: The Running Backs

Arkansas is set to host 18 official visitors for the Jan. 21 visit weekend. With some key injuries at running back, that position has become a major point of emphasis for the Razorbacks to address in this class.

Arkansas is expected to entertain four of its top six running back prospects on Jan. 21, and it is as spectacular a group of prospects at one position as Arkansas has ever hosted.

Who:Darren McFadden, 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, 4.33 in the 40-yard dash

What: Running back or safety

Where: Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Oak Grove

When: Visit set for the Jan. 21 weekend. He committed on April 5.

Why: "Arkansas is where I have wanted to go since I was little." -Darren McFadden to Otis Kirk

Bio: McFadden has been regarded as Arkansas' top 2005 prospect since he was 15 years old. That is when he received a scholarship offer from the Razorbacks. Despite his elite ranking (No. 21 prospect in the country by Rivals.com), McFadden's upside is huge. When he plays his first game for the Razorbacks next season, he will only be 17 years old.

Other/Honors: Also received scholarship offers from Alabama and Tennessee, despite his early UA pledge. A five-star prospect, he is rated the No. 3 'athlete' in the country by Rivals.com. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette named him the state's Offensive Player of the Year this season. He was also tabbed as the 4A-Southeast Conference's Outstanding Back.

Statistics: McFadden rushed for 859 yards as a sophomore. Through 12 games his junior year, he rushed for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns on 204 carries (9.9 ypc). Through 12 games during his senior campaign, and a step up in classification to 4A, McFadden toted the ball 184 times for 1,956 yards (10.7 ypc) and 27 touchdowns.

Video Highlights: McFadden flies on the field

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Who: Roy Upchurch, 6-foot, 195 pounds, 4.53 in the 40-yard dash

What: Running back

Where: Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby

When: Visit date set for Jan. 21 at Arkansas. Visited Alabama this weekend. Will make decision after Arkansas trip.

Why: "I'm planning on a visit to Arkansas January 21st, and then I'll probably decide. Florida State is still involved (with Alabama) and that is my top three schools at this point." -Roy Upchurch to Tim Watts

Bio: A four-star prospect, Upchurch is regarded as the nation's No. 16 running back prospect and the No. 21 overall prospect in Florida by Rivals.com. His stock steadily increased over the season, and he reports scholarship offers from programs like Alabama, Florida State, Arkansas and Auburn. He transferred from FAMU High School after his sophomore season.

Other/Honors: Godby is also Arkansas recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn's alma mater. He is expected to be named to the Parade All-America Team when it is released. Despite an injury his junior year, he was named All-Big Bend honorable mention.

Statistics: As a junior, Upchurch rushed for 856 yards and 8 touchdowns on 142 carries (6.0 ypc). He also hauled in 17 passes for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a senior, a healthy Upchurch bullied his way 305 times for 2,543 yards (8.3 ypc) and 27 touchdowns.

Video Highlights: Upchurch plays solid in the backfield

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Who: Felix Jones, 5-foot-11, 197 pounds, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash

What: Running back or athlete

Where: Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington

When: Visit set for Arkansas on Jan. 21 weekend. Visited Texas A&M on Dec. 10 and will visit Tennessee next weekend. Those are his three finalists.

Why: "From what the coaches are telling me about the running backs, they're looking for a running back, but I like Arkansas anyway. The visit will tell me if that's the right school for me or not." -Felix Jones to Trey Biddy

Bio: A four-star prospect, Jones is rated the No. 19 'athlete' by Rivals.com. Rivals.com also rates him the No. 4 overall prospect in Oklahoma. Like Upchurch, Jones was injured much of his junior year, but his stock steadily climbed as the season came to an end. He led Booker T. to the Class 5A title game and a 13-1 record.

Other/Honors: The Tulsa World named him the Oklahoma Player of the Year. He is looking for early playing time and a great college environment.

Statistics: He rushed for 2,282 yards and 41 touchdowns on 205 carries (11.1 ypc). As a junior, before he broke his ankle, Jones rushed for 800 yards and 20 scores.

Video Highlights: Jones busts through the line

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Who: Jeremy Bibbs, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash

What: Running back or outside linebacker

Where: Port Gibson (Miss.) Chamberlain Hunt

When: Visit set to Arkansas on Jan. 21

Why: Bibbs got into some trouble as a junior. Despite not playing football his senior year to concentrate on academics, playing college ball is still a major goal for him.

Bio: Bibbs got into some trouble after his junior year and was put on 'probation' at his school, according to him. He transferred to Chamberlain Hunt, a boarding school, before his senior year started to concentrate on academics. Chamberlain Hunt has a basketball team, but the school does not participate in football. According to his mother, Winifred Scott, Bibbs had a strong effort in the classroom, with Algebra II being the only subject with which he had a bit of trouble, C.

Other/Honors: Bibbs did not play this season, but Rivals.com still regards him as the Magnolia State's No. 11 prospect, regardless of position.

Statistics: Bibbs rushed for 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior for Flowood (Miss.) Northwest Rankin, but he did not play his senior year after transferring.

Arkansas Official Football Visitors List

Join the discussion on these top running back prospects, and get more inside information, on HawgSports.com's premium message board, The Razor's Edge.

Up Next: Defensive Backs

GIVE HAWGSPORTS.COM A TRY. Click here to take advantage of our 7-Day Free Trial and get all the INSIDE SCOOP on Razorbacks football, basketball, recruiting and more, led by Hawgsports.com's staff of experts Otis Kirk and Trey Biddy. Read daily reports on the top prospects left on the Razorbacks' wish list as we count down to the 2005 National Signing Day. Plus, get the whole story on the Jan. 21 official visitors.


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