It’s a Tuesday evening in late May, and Neal Barlow is a little nervous.
Barlow, already moved into his Fayetteville dorm and taking summer classes at the University of Arkansas, has his first college quiz the next day. It’s in a communications class, and while he’s not exactly sweating it, he has no past experience to draw on.
“It’s still new for me,” Barlow said. “I’m anxious to see the difference between high school and college tests.”
Academics aren’t the only area where things promise to be accelerated for the former Pulaski Academy wide receiver. When Barlow hasn’t been in summer school, he’s been working with both rookie and veteran Razorbacks teammates with Arkansas’ strength and conditioning coaches. When he hasn’t been doing that, he’s been working to digest Razorbacks Coach Bobby Petrino’s massive playbook.
While grasping the offense has been overwhelming at times, Barlow said there isn’t much of a push from the football staff to have everything down at this early date.
“I think they realize different people are different style learners,” Barlow said.
Facing a learning curve is something of a new experience for Barlow, who chose Arkansas over Kansas, Missouri, Tulsa and LSU. He caught 81 passes for 1,164 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior while leading Pulaski Academy to the Class 5A state title. [read more]