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.”