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THE RECRUITING GUY: Top Kentucky QB eyeing Arkansas

by Richard Davenport | March 20, 2011 at 2:48 a.m.

— Highly-regarded quarterback Zeke Pike has had Arkansas high on his list of potential schools for quite some time and plans to visit Fayetteville on April 1 for a weekend visit.

Pike, 6-6, 230 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Edgewood (Ky.) Dixie Heights has more than 50 scholarship offers, including ones from Arkansas, Alabama, Southern Cal, LSU, Florida, Michigan and Florida State.

“It’s been something I’ve been real anxious about, and getting to see the place and getting to meet and talk to some of the people,” Pike said. “I just want to get down there and check things out and get a feel for the place and get more comfortable.” As a sophomore, Pike completed 100 of 175 passes for 1,634 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Last season, he completed 136 of 235 passes for 2,218 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,072 yards and 17 touchdowns.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports said Pike is an elite prospect.

“He’s one of the premier players in the country,” said Lemming, who has covered the national recruiting scene for more than 30 years. “He’s big, strong-armed, does a lot of things good. He can run for a real big guy. He’s one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the country.

He’s perfect for Arkansas’ offense. You would think he would want to look at them real strong, which I know he is.”

Playing forward for the basketball team, Pike averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game to lead Dixie Heights to a 29-4 record and its first 9th Region championship since 1957. The season has been a source of pride for the town of about 10,000.

“It’s really big,” said Pike, whose father, Mark, played 12 years for the Buffalo Bills as a defensive end/linebacker. “We’ve been like superstars for the last week or so. There’s been a lot of media at school, and there’s been some luncheons for us. It’s real big for our school and for our community. We’ve made a little bit of history.” Because of basketball, Pike has only been able to visit one school, Purdue, in recent months. But with the Colonels’ 69-60 loss to Lexington Catholic in the state final Wednesday night, he traveled to Virginia and North Carolina this weekend. An LSU visit is planned for next weekend.

Pike said he likes what Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee have to offer him as a quarterback and how they developed former Razorback Ryan Mallett.

“I think their quarterback situation is perfect right now,” Pike said. “I know they’re going to get you ready for the NFL, and they’ve obviously done that with Ryan Mallett. I feel like I’m similar to Ryan Mallett, and I can run the ball a little bit, too.

“I feel like we have a lot of similarities in arm strength and stature and things like that. I’m excited. They developed him into a great quarterback. I know they can do that and they have the offense for that.”

While on the road recruiting for the 2011 recruiting class in January, Petrino and assistant coach John L. Smith showed Pike he was a priority when they visited his school and later that night attended his away basketball game.

Pike said he has been in steady contact with McGee and Smith.

“I call Coach McGee and Coach Smith all the time and talk to Coach Petrino every now and then,” he said.

The attention from Arkansas hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“They stay after me and they’re really recruiting me really hard and they’re all real good people,” Pike said. “I’m building relationships with them. I’m going to continue that and see where that goes when I get down there.”

While Pike plans to narrow his list of schools to 10 sometime after the spring, he announced Jan. 20 that Arkansas would be one of those schools.

“I think it’s a great program, and they’re on the rise right now,” Pike said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at:

rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 31 on 03/20/2011

Print Headline: THE RECRUITING GUY Top Kentucky QB eyeing Arkansas

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