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For Whom I Will Be Rooting

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(Author's note: The grammatically correct headline above is dedicated to Ms. Bell, my ninth-grade English teacher. By the way, Ms. Bell, I still think you were too tough on my "Catcher in the Rye" essay.)

Obviously, I want every single one of the Razorback players to do well this upcoming football season. And in the end, as long as the team has a good season, I'm not gonna worry too much about which player does what.

Having said all that, there are some players that, for various reasons, I will be rooting extra hard for this fall. And - drumroll, please - those players are:

De'Anthony Curtis - The highly touted running back (he was ranked the No. 6 high school back in the country by Rivals.com and named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Offensive Player of the Year) endured a disappointing and fumble-prone freshman year. He played in 10 games and rushed for only 76 yards on 23 carries. Perhaps because he's a native Arkie or perhaps because it would be nice to someone rebound from such a difficult debut (or both), I'm really rooting for Curtis to have a strong showing in 2009.

Dennis Johnson - He wins points in my book for being one of the rare non-nauseating aspects of last year's special teams play (his 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Tulsa game was especially awesome), but he's really on this list for his inspiring effort in the stunning season-finale comeback win over LSU. Against the Tigers, with star running back with Michael Smith on the sidelines, Johnson accumulated 230 all-purpose yards, rushing for 127 yards and a TD on 18 carries. On some of those fourth-quarter drives, Johnson simply refused to go down after being hit by the LSU defenders and almost seemed to be willing the team downfield. It was a performance I won't forget any time soon.

Tyler Wilson - I hope Ryan Mallet lives up to the hype and then some. But I would also like to see Wilson make some big contributions before the season is out. He was impressive in his brief appearances last season, and I've admired how he's made Mallet work for his first-string status. I have to ask, though: Can my mind really handle the presence of not one, but two SEC-caliber quarterbacks in a Razorback uniform? Honestly, if both of these guys prove to be the real deal, we should all start preparing for a gigantic meteor to crash into Earth.

Reggie Fish - After his heartbreaking fumble of a punt against Florida in the 2006 SEC Championship game, who wouldn't like to see Fish achieve redemption somehow, someway? I mean, come on, anyone who writes a rap - albeit a profoundly goofy one - about the Hogs deserves something good to happen to them.

That's enough from me. For whom will you be rooting this season?