When 2014 offensive linemen Natrell Curtis took the field for his team's preseason scrimmage on Tuesday, he noticed a faction of especially vocal adults. They weren't sporting his school colors or cheering for the opposition. No, this was an independent third party dressed in an unmistakable shade of red.
So much for a football player blocking out his surroundings on game days. It didn't take long for 6-foot-3, 285-pound prospect to figure out what was afoot. The strangers were Arkansas fans getting a look at players they hope will land on the Razorbacks' roster sometime down the road.
On Tuesday night, Curtis was one of the group's main targets.
"Those fans really showed me love out there," Curtis said. "I couldn't believe they came out to a scrimmage."
The incident may have ruined Curtis' chance of playing coy. See, for a player that insists he doesn't have an early favorite in the recruiting process, he has a lot more to say about the Razorbacks than he does about any of the seven other college programs that have offered him a scholarship.
Get him started and he'll border on gushing.
"Me and (Arkansas offensive line coach Chris Klenakis) have a really special relationship," he said. "Honestly, if any school is standing out, it's them."
Curtis refers to Klenakis simply as "Coach K" and admits the Razorbacks' coaching staff has already made a lasting impression. Still, he's careful not say "favorite," even if his word choice seems like a technicality.
"I'm open to every school," Curtis said. "I like them all. I'm pretty much wide open right now."
Boise State, Arizona State, Colorado and Vanderbilt round out his list of major scholarship offers at this time. He says he won't worry about scheduling unofficial visits until he wraps up his junior season at Phoenix's Mountain Pointe High school.
Mountain Pointe opens its season against perennial Arizona powerhouse Hamilton on Aug. 24.