Greenlaw celebrates adoption as representative in Atlanta

By: Bob Holt , Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw is interviewed during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference media days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw is interviewed during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference media days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (AP Photo/John Amis)

— Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Dre Greenlaw, a senior from Fayetteville, tweeted Tuesday that he has officially been adopted by Brian and Nanci Early.

The Earlys have been listed as Greenlaw’s parents since his playing days at Fayetteville High School.

“Officially ‘adopted’ and part of the family!” Greenlaw tweeted. “Was family anyways man paper don’t make a difference! Thank you for taking me in Pops and treating me like your own!!”

Brian Early, the defensive line coach at Arkansas State University, previously was a quality control coach for the Razorbacks and defensive coordinator at Fayetteville.

“I could have already been adopted when I was 14, when I was first taken in,” Greenlaw said. “But we had decided to wait until I was 21. I turned 21 last month.

“There are certain benefits for being in college through the DHS [Department of Human Services]. I would receive those benefits until I was 21. But now that I’m 21, I had the choice to make between if I wanted to just become my own man — which I am — and still stay in the DHS system, or be with the people that took me in, and they care for me and show that they love me and I got the same respect back for.

“Paper or no paper, they’re still my parents.”

Repping Arkansas

Safety Santos Ramirez, guard Hjalte Froholdt and linebacker Dre Greenlaw — all seniors — represented the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville at SEC media days.

“This day has been great,” Ramirez said. “I’ve absorbed everything. Every interview that I had, I really just saw it as an opportunity.

“I’m just blessed to be here and grateful to represent the Razorbacks and really let everyone know, we’re still a force to be reckoned with.”

Froholdt said it was “awesome” to be at media days.

“Honestly, I think it’s been a great experience,” Froholdt said. “I think you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. If you’re willing to answer questions, and you’re willing to talk more than a reporter is, it’s not going to be that bad.

“What you guys want is some good material, and if I give it to you, you’re not going to bug me more.”

Circle Aug. 3

Arkansas’ first practice of camp will be Aug. 3, Coach Chad Morris said.

“We’re excited,” Morris said. “I wish we could fast-forward to do that, but we’ve got hideaway meetings next week that every member of our program will be a part of, and we’ll bring lunch in and we’ll go through every turn and crack and corner in this program.

“When we walk out, from the analyst to the quality control to the volunteers, they know how this program will be ran. They’ll know the standard that we set forth.”

Morris said the Razorbacks will have “what we call our big weigh-in” and hold a team meeting Aug. 2, then will practice the next afternoon.

Counting the days

Chad Morris, who majored in math at Texas A&M, accurately stated Tuesday the number of days since he was hired at Arkansas on Dec. 6.

“It’s been 223 days since we started, and since we got to Fayetteville, since the plane landed, and a lot of things has happened between then and now,” Morris said. “And there’s a lot of similarities from some of my previous stops as we build this program moving forward and taking on the blueprint to turn this program around into a championship-caliber team.

“The alumni and the fans, the entire state has welcomed us with open arms, and the passion for the Hogs, for the Razorbacks, for the university. I thought I knew. I had no clue until I traveled around our great state, and to hear the stories that have been told and been able to listen to and share with me their special place in their heart for the Razorbacks.”

Ramirez the grad

Arkansas safety Santos Ramirez will wear an SEC graduate patch on his uniform this season. He graduated in December with a degree in life science and education.

“Getting my degree was something that was big for me because it meant a lot not just for me, but for my family as well,” Ramirez said. “All of my little brothers and sisters and little cousins, everybody can look up to me knowing that they too can go to college and get that one day.

“No matter what you go through in life, you all have to stay focused on that goal and make my momma proud. It excites me knowing that I have my degree.”

Ramirez said he isn’t working on a master’s degree, but he will take the class hours necessary to maintain his eligibility in the fall.

“Right now I decided to put that on hold,” he said of pursuing a master’s. “I was going to work on it, but if I know I’m not going to give my best at something, I’m not going to do it. And I kind of needed a little break from school.”

When Matt Leinart was a senior quarterback at USC in 2005 — and helped the Trojans beat the Razorbacks 70-17 — he needed just one class to complete his degree, so he took ballroom dancing.

“So far I still have to go in and talk with my academic adviser about the specific things I want to take,” Ramirez said. “But I’m trying to take something like that, too. I’m trying to take a breathing class or … I did my time, man. I’m trying to make sure I make it as easy as possible for me.

“But I’m going to show up and make sure to do all of the right things.”

Winkel injured

Freshman offensive linemen Ryan Winkel, who figures to redshirt this season, suffered a pectoral injury, Coach Chad Morris confirmed.

The injury likely ensures Winkel will redshirt.

Arkansas Bulldog

Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott has strong ties to the state of Arkansas.

Scott, who was hired at Georgia before last season after being at North Carolina, played at Crossett High School and Arkansas Tech University. He was an Arkansas State assistant and a graduate assistant at Arkansas Tech.

“That guy’s a character, man,” Georgia senior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said. “I can’t help but love him. He’s a great coach. He coaches everyone differently, and he gets the job done. It’s effective, it’s efficient, the fastest way you can possibly do it by playing the best you can.”

Scott graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2008 with a sociology degree and added master’s degree in 2010.

“He’ll probably laugh if he hears this, but he just loves to talk,” Ledbetter said. “Every meeting we have, there’s probably 15 definitions you’ll hear.

“Like I can tell you the definition of ‘hard’ in the dictionary. It’s ‘strong, resistant to pressure, not easily broken or penetrated.’ That’s the exact definition, because he says it every day.

“That’s how he lives his life, off of definitions. He’ll tell you that growing up, if he didn’t know the meaning of a word, he’d look it up, study it and figure out how to adopt that word into his everyday living.”

‘Kind of crazy’

Arkansas has beaten Ole Miss the past three seasons with some wild finishes.

In 2015, the Razorbacks won 53-52 in overtime after they converted a fourth-and-25 play keyed by tight end Hunter Henry’s lateral and Alex Collins’ run.

Arkansas won 34-30 in 2016 when Jared Cornelius scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:20 left, and safety Santos Ramirez forced a fumble on a fourth-down run by quarterback Chad Kelly.

Last season, the Razorbacks rallied for a 38-37 victory but didn’t lead until Connor Limpert’s 34-yard field goal with four seconds left after Ole Miss was ahead 31-7 in the second quarter.

“A lot of respect for them,” Ole Miss Coach Matt Luke said of the Razorbacks. “Any time you play anybody in the Southeastern Conference, you have to be ready to go.

“Those games have been kind of crazy with the fourth and 25, and obviously last year us struggling to close it out. I think Coach [Chad] Morris will do a great job, and looking forward to playing them this year.”

He’s gone

A reporter asked Georgia Coach Kirby Smart, “With Eason, Fromm and Fields, have you ever seen a better stock of quarterbacks in your career?” The question was in reference to Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm and Justin Fields.

Smart gently broke the news that Eason, who opened 2017 as the Bulldogs’ starter before suffering a knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener, was no longer on the team after transferring to the University of Washington.

“Yeah, if we had all three of them, we’d be sitting pretty good,” Smart said. “Eason is gone. He transferred.”

All three players were five-star prospects. Fromm came in for Eason in the 31-10 victory over Appalachian State in the opener, then led the Bulldogs to a 20-19 upset at Notre Dame in his first start. Fromm went 12-2 as a freshman starter, guiding Georgia to the national championship game. Fields, of Kennesaw, Ga., was the No. 1 ranked prospect in the past signing class.

Bad block

SEC supervisor of officials Steve Shaw’s rules presentation included a few clips on new interpretations of blocking below the waist, and one of them featured Arkansas.

In the Hogs’ season-ending loss to Missouri last year, a Tigers offensive player released into the secondary and delivered a cut block on safety Josh Liddell to spring a running play. The block now would be illegal because it came below the waist and occurred after the ball had gone out of the tackle box.

“I’m pretty grateful, because I hated that,” Georgia defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said of the rule change. “For guys to dive at me knees? I’m like, ‘C’mon, man, just block me if you can.’

“Football is going to be dangerous no matter what, but I think they are making it safer, which is definitely good.”

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