Some things are bigger than football. In 88 days our beloved Razorbacks will take the field to kickoff the 2013 season, but for the second consecutive year, will be a man short.
Garrett Uekman, who passed from a condition that caused an irregular heart beat in 2011, was the last man to wear number 88. Uekman, a top 10 Arkansas recruit, recorded 56 catches for 600 yards as a senior at Catholic High. He chose his home team Hogs over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and others. After redshirting his freshman year, Uekman saw action in 9 games in 2011, including the Mississippi State game in Little Rock. There, Uekman played in his final Razorback game before family and friends in his hometown at War Memorial Stadium.
The only player to wear the number 88 since Uekman's death was tightend Austin Tate, Uekman's best friend. Since then, the number has been vacant and many have argued that it should be retired along with Clyde Scott's 12 and Brandon Burlsworth's 77 as honored numbers of Arkansas Football.
The Garrett Uekman Foundation was founded shortly after his death to raise money for heart disease research. I encourage all of our readers to visit the non-profit organization's website at gu88.org, where you can make donations, sign up to volunteer, and keep tabs on the organization's events such as the 2013 7on7 Tournament in July.
Rest In Peace, Garrett.