Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
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QB commit finding Hog supporters in Georgia
University of Arkansas 4-star quarterback commitment Malachi Singleton (right) of Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb High School found an unexpected fan in certified clinical medical assistant Katie O’Reilly following a recent foot surgery. O’Reilly, an Arkansas fan who moved to Georgia from New York four years ago, said she “was star struck” meeting Singleton. (Photo courtesy Margaret Singleton)
University of Arkansas 4-star quarterback commitment Malachi Singleton is getting help from a converted Razorbacks fan while recovering from recent foot surgery.
Singleton of Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb High School had an X-ray on his foot before the season-opener against Westlake and it showed a partial fracture, but he still played in the first two games.
It was before halftime of the second game against Buford when he realized the foot was broken. Determined to play, he taped it up and still played the second half.
He had surgery on Sept. 9, and during his first post-surgery doctor’s appointment, he and his mother Margaret met certified clinical medical assistant Katie O’Reilly.
Originally from Long Island, N.Y., O’Reilly moved to Georgia about four years ago and met her boyfriend, Kasey, who’s from Mountain Home. Kasey’s mother and brother also live in Georgia and are rabid Hog fans.
“They’re very big Arkansas fans,” O’Reilly said. “We watch every Saturday and they kind of made me a fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks.”
When O’Reilly realized she would be treating a future Razorback, she was ecstatic.
“I ran in [the room] and said, ‘Oh my God, I’m a fan’,” she said. “I wanted to say Woo Pig, but I literally had no words. I’m a fan is all I could say. I was so excited.”
Singleton hasn’t been exposed to many Hog fans in the Atlanta area since his recruitment, so he was equally excited.
“It was awesome, you really don’t see too many [Arkansas] fans in Georgia because they’re all Bulldog fans, but so whenever you see one [Hog fan], it’s always a good thing,” Singleton said.
O’Reilly had to inform Kasey, his mother and brother that she met Singleton.
“I text all of them, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, do you know who Singleton is?’ and they said ‘Yes, of course’,” O’Reilly said. “I was star struck.”
O’Reilly said it wasn’t hard catching Razorback fever.
“Just the energy with the family, just watching the games,” she said. “The Hogs are just a cool idea. I feel like it’s really original It’s just different, We have fun watching them. Our little niece is 3, and all she does is yell, Woo Pig Sooie.”
Her boyfriend and his brother are fixated on the Hogs during game days.
“I think it’s funny to watch my boyfriend and his brother watch football because they don’t speak,” O’Reilly said. “You have to walk them food because they won’t leave the couch. You kind of have to watch from afar and leave them alone.”
While Razorback fan sightings around the Atlanta area have been sparse, Singleton’s mother has seen fans showing up at North Cobb games.
“She was telling us how diehard they were,” she said of O’Reilly. “We experienced it at the ball games. The first two ball games that Malachi played, there was a plethora of Razorback fans that came. Even on Friday night I saw a guy dressed in Razorback gear. I think the Razorback fans are just one of a kind.”
After experiencing a small dose of the celebrity status he’ll receive as a Razorback in Fayetteville, Singleton is humbled but is also ready to embrace it.
“I’m ready for it, I’m ready for everything that comes with it,” Singleton said. “I know I have my family to here to guide me down the right path.”
ESPN’s No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the nation for the 2023 class, Singleton and his mother stay in touch with O’Reilly.
“We definitely keep tabs on him for sure, making sure he’s doing good,” O’Reilly said. “He’s royalty basically.”
Singleton, who plans to graduate in December and enroll at Arkansas in January, visited the doctor’s office a third time on Monday to have his stitches removed.
While he hopes to return to action for the playoffs, he’s learned to take nothing for granted while also being appreciative of his family.
“I have to play every snap like it’s my last,” Singleton said. “My family has definitely kept me going through this process. Kept me encouraged, kept me going. It was disappointed knowing how much work I put in and like my teammates knowing I can’t go out there who more is really disappointing.”
He values Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and their support.
“They’re really been encouraging,” Singleton said. “They’re ready to see me on the Hill.”
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