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The Daily Call – Dec. 22, 2013

BY ANDRES FOCIL
The Daily Call – Dec. 22, 2013

Welcome to a special Sunday edition of The Daily Call.

This morning we shine the #HogHighlight on two former Razorbacks in Tyler Wilson and Whitney Jones, who both have been able to maintain and pursue professional careers in sports since their time in Fayetteville.

But first, as always, we also get you set for a full day of football and let you know when #NFLHogs will be in action.

#NFLHOGS

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, 19 former Razorback student-athletes are on teams in action today.

– Miami Dolphins (Nate Garner) at Buffalo Bills (Chris Gragg, Ronnie Wingo Jr.), Noon, CBS

– Minnesota Vikings (Jarius Wright) at Cincinnati Bengals, Noon, FOX

– Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (Knile Davis), Noon, CBS

– Tennessee Titans (George Wilson, Tyler Wilson) at Jacksonville Jaguars, Noon, CBS

– Denver Broncos at Houston Texans (Dennis Johnson), Noon, CBS

– New York Giants (Peyton Hillis) at Detroit Lions (Chris Houston), 3:05 p.m., FOX

– Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (Alvin Bailey), 3:05 p.m., FOX

– Pittsburgh Steelers (Felix Jones) at Green Bay Packers (Brett Goode), 3:25 p.m., CBS

– Oakland Raiders (Darren McFadden) at San Diego, 3:25 p.m., CBS

– New England Patriots (Jake Bequette, Ryan Mallett, D.J. Williams) at Baltimore Ravens, 3:25 p.m., CBS

– Chicago Bears (Jerry Franklin) at Philadelphia Eagles (Jason Peters), 7:30 p.m., NBC

WILSON ANXIOUS TO BEGIN ANEW IN TENNESSEE

Former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft following a record-setting career in Fayetteville. After spending most of the season on Oakland’s practice squad, the Greenwood, Ark., native was signed to the Tennessee Titans’ 53-man active roster last week. Wilson took the time to answer some questions heading into his first game with Tennessee.
How did you find out the Titans had signed you?
I was leaving the facility in Oakland Monday afternoon and turned my phone on. I had a few missed calls from my agent and some other people who already knew the situation. I talked with my agent and he said Tennessee had claimed me for their 53 and were going to fly me out that night. One of the secretaries called me, and I was on a flight three hours later and in Nashville early the next morning.
What was your reaction to going to Tennessee?
It was exciting to know that some team wants to put you on the active roster, but at the same time it’s kind of nerve-wracking to change. I had gotten acclimated and started making progress in Oakland, and now you knew you were going to have to press the reset button again. Long term, I feel like this is the best opportunity for me and got me back in an area of the country I’m pretty comfortable. My reaction was overly positive. I knew it was going to be another challenge and not an easy road, but this was going to be a positive for me.
What was it like to change teams during the season?
Even joining the Raiders was different because you walk into a locker room where there are already guys who have been playing there forever. You’re thrown in to start learning the offense with guys who have been through it. This is a similar situation. Guys are already in their routine, and you have to learn that and get acclimated quickly. You have to dive in and forget everything you’ve known previously to join the world they live in.
How was your first week with offensive coordinator and fellow former Razorback Dowell Loggains?
We have talked some Wooo Pig Sooie, but it hasn’t been a huge deal. Obviously he knew about me being from Arkansas, and we like to talk about our time in Fayetteville. We are excited to work together. I think he’s a good coach.
What has the reaction been from Razorback fans to your move?
A lot of my friends and family are happy that I’m playing closer to home because they have a chance to come watch me. Football in the south means a lot to people, and it feels good to be a part of something when people really care about it. You can go to work every day knowing that what you do is important and really take a lot of pride in it. That’s what’s most motivating about being at a place like this. People care about what you do. It’s a lot like Arkansas, and I think that’s why they’re productive.
How has your first year in the NFL been?
It’s been up and down, being on the Raiders active roster and off the Raiders active roster and now at Tennessee. You realize how unstable the NFL world is. There are a lot of changes every week, and it’s very seldom the same football team every week. You have to understand that every spot on an NFL roster is extremely important. The team is going to try to do what they have to do in order to win because there are only 53 spots. You have to be one of the top guys, and you have to prepare. It’s really tough your first year because you’re learning all the information and learning what’s expected of you and how to go about being a true professional. It’s not just about talent or carrying yourself the right way but really being on your craft.
You’ve had former Razorbacks on both teams this season. Is there school pride in the locker room, especially with other players from your school?
You definitely feel like you’re from the same fraternity. There’s a common bond. I remember when I first got to Nashville I was in the weight room and George Wilson came up to me and we were able to talk about Arkansas. You want to represent your state and your school well because down the line that gives people who play at the university hope that they can be successful. Darren McFadden has obviously had success in Oakland, and it was good to have somebody out there to call the Hogs with.
How important was it for you to graduate before going to the NFL?
We all know the NFL is not going to last forever. You want to play as long as possible, but none of us know how long we are going to be here. Whether it’s 15 years or five or two, eventually you’re going to have to do something else. I’m only 24 now so even if you play 15 years you’re still in your late 30s. Having that college degree does a lot for you. It gives you a lot of confidence, and having a piece of paper from a highly accredited university allows you to gain respect from people in the business world. Not only were you successful in the athletic world but academics as well. That’s tough but it was important for me. Both my mom and dad have a college degree from the University of Arkansas, so it was important for me to finish it out.

JONES CONTINUES BASKETBALL CAREER WITH NEW CONTRACT

Former Arkansas center and 26-year-old Whitney Jones was added to Gesam Gas Lucca’s (A1) roster recently. Jones played at Arkansas from until 2009 and is now in her fifth season as a professional basketball player.

Jones had already started the season at Valosun Brno in ZBL league in Czech Republic, where in 5 games she recorded 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Last season, she played at Bursa BSB (TKB2L) in Turkish league and averaged an impressive 20.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.9 spg and 1.7 bpg in 21 games.

The previous (11-12) season, she played at evo New Basket Oberhausen (DBBL) in German league. In 11 games she averaged 12.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1.0 spg that season, helping the team win the cup.During the 2010-11 season, Jones played at TED Ankara (TKBL) in Turkish league.Jones ended the previous (09-10) season at Alanya Bld (D2) in Turkish league, where she contributed to her team winning the league title. It marked a very spectacular season in her career, as she was selected as Eurobasket.com All-Turkish TBB2L Player of the Year. Most of that year, Jones was at Amazone (Promotiedivise) in Dutch league and in 6 games she averaged 8.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg.Jones has also played professionally in Turkey (Botas).

The daughter of Diann and Jerry Jones of Blytheville, Ark., Jones comes from an athletic family and was the first daughter of a Razorback to sign at Arkansas in women’s basketball. Her mother, Diann, was the first track and field national champion for the Razorbacks, taking the national indoor 600-yard championship in 1979. Diann’s mark of 1:21.22 remains the school record for the now retired event. Jones followed in her mother’s footsteps, competing in both basketball and track and field while at Arkansas.

Qualls Lands On #SCtop10 Again
Sophomore Michael Qualls is becoming a regular on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, as the high-flying forward came in at No. 8 on Saturday night with his second half dunk during the team’s 72-60 win over South Alabama. Qualls has appeared on the #SCtop10 three times already this season and leads the team with 15 dunks. #FayettevilleFlush

Coach Anderson postgame interview after tonight’s win over South Alabama in North Little Rock > http://t.co/GrjVd9To68 #WeHogs

– Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) December 22, 2013

Postgame interview with @WadeNoDwyane after the Razorbacks 72-60 win over South Alabama > http://t.co/CYaGiEs7ES #Fastest40

– Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) December 22, 2013

Too ambiguous? Know exactly what coverage we’re missing? Have a general question for the athletic department? Tell us. Shout atarkmr@uark.eduwith suggestions of what you would like to see covered and what the column is missing. Interaction is good. Think of this as your portal to all things Arkansas.


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