Arkansas’ Childs ready for Cotton Bowl, future

Greg Childs doesn’t think there’s anything special about the way

he has behaved this season.

The Arkansas wide receiver just smiles when he’s asked about his

on-the-field struggles and downplays the remarkably positive

attitude he’s shown while recovering from last season’s knee

injury.

Childs’ smile is nothing new to his teammates, who have watched

in awe and admiration as the senior has graciously slipped from

starring to a supporting role for the Razorbacks this season.

Behind that smile, though, burns the same old Greg Childs – one of

the top receivers in the Southeastern Conference for his first

three seasons, one who still fully expects to shine in the NFL.

Before he can start prepping for his professional career,

however, Childs has one piece of business left to take care of when

No. 7 Arkansas (10-2) faces No. 11 Kansas State (10-2) on Jan. 6 in

the Cotton Bowl.

”I’m just waiting my time; it’s coming real soon,” Childs

said. ”It’s going to be a show.”

Childs led the Razorbacks in nearly every receiving category as

a sophomore in 2009, finishing with 48 catches for 894 yards and

seven touchdowns. He was on track for even bigger things last

season as a junior, leading the Razorbacks with 46 catches for 659

yards when he injured his knee against Vanderbilt in the eighth

game of the season.

After an offseason of rehabilitation, Childs was clearly not

full-speed during Arkansas’ first preseason workout in August –

limping noticeably and dropping several balls. Despite the

insistence by Arkansas’ coaches and Childs that he was completely

healthy, his production this season was nowhere near what the

Razorbacks and the rest of the SEC had become accustomed to.

He finished the regular season with 16 catches for 192 yards,

both career lows, and was seventh on Arkansas in catches.

By all accounts, Childs didn’t let the drop in production affect

his attitude.

”I think that, more than all the positive things and all the

awards and all the numbers, the fact that you can look at somebody

and say, `He was a great teammate’ is, in my mind, more important

than all that other stuff,” Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson

said. ”And Greg has certainly been that. He hasn’t been selfish,

and he’s been one of my favorite teammates that I’ve had

here.”

Childs’ test of patience was made easier by a group of friends

on the team he had been around for four years. In some cases, such

as with former Warren, Ark., high school teammates Jarius Wright

and Chris Gragg, those ties went much deeper.

Wright surpassed Childs as the Razorbacks’ top target this

season, leading the SEC in catches (63) and yards receiving per

game (93.5). While Wright was having his breakout season, however,

he couldn’t help but notice the dropoff of Childs – who he’s known

since fourth-grade.

”Everyone has noticed it, and they’ve been proud of Greg,”

Wright said. ”I’ve been proud of Greg, knowing he hasn’t had the

ball as much as he wanted to, but for him to keep a smile on his

face, to walk around and smile and laugh and play just as hard

during the game, shows the type of person he is.”

The on-the-field dropoff wasn’t the only struggle for Childs

this season. He missed Arkansas’ game against Troy after the death

of his grandmother, and he said the lessons he’s learned will only

help him in the future.

”With anybody getting hurt and going through the things I’ve

went through, you always learn more about yourself as a person,”

Childs said. ”Just how you’re going to handle this and come back

from this. Maybe a year ago I wouldn’t have known how I would

handle this, but now I do.”

Those who know him best have no doubt he’ll have an impact

moving forward – both against the Wildcats and in the NFL.

”He’s gotten back his speed,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino

said. ”He’s worked hard at it in every drill and practice. So,

I’ve been really impressed with Greg. He’ll be back next

year.”