Nate Olson: Florida Back Hopes for Razorbacks Return

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Madre London left Arkansas to gain exposure. Now, he’s hoping for a chance to return to his home state to play college football for the Razorbacks.London starred as a running back on the Bryant ninth-grade team and was set to play for the Varsity Hornets during the 2011 season. He played 7-on-7 with Bryant that summer but transferred abruptly to powerful St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. London lived with his aunt before his mother joined the two in South Florida.

“I moved because my Momma thought it was a better opportunity for me,” London said. “When I first moved here I wished I was back at Bryant, but I had to realize that I had to deal with it and let it go and look at it as a business trip.”

The exposure the 6-foot-1, 202-pounder’s mother hoped for came last season. St. Thomas Aquinas won the 7A Florida State Title, as London helped the cause showing flashes of brilliance while sharing carries with senior Fred Coppet, who racked up 151 yards in the title game. Coppet later signed with Bowling Green.

London owns scholarship offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rutgers and South Carolina.

“Playing at St. Thomas Aquinas really helped my stock as a player. I gained offers and moved up in the ratings,” London said.

However, there is one more offer the hard-running London (4.53 speed) would like to see.

“It would mean a lot to me and my family and fans to play back at home as a Razorback,” he said. “The staff is unbelievable at Arkansas. They are all about winning and teaching their players to be better men, and I like the chemistry they have with the players — that’s what stands out to me.”

While a UA offer hasn’t been extended, new coach Bret Bielema and staff are aware London. Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, a South Florida native, is recruiting London.

The Razorbacks coaches and others had to be impressed with what London did at the Nike Combine in Dallas. London earned running back MVP honors with a strong showing. His overall performance shone brighter than a group of highly touted backs the camp attracts every year.

London won’t go to any camps this summer but has already decided on schools to visit. He plans trips to North Carolina, Boston College and Illinois. He’s worked hard this offseason and continues to work on his speed, keeping a low center of gravity and blocking.

The strengths that London has shown are an exceptional explosiveness, quickness, vision and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. His size and strength seems to fit the prototype of a Bielema back.

London will have more of an opportunity to show what he can do as a Raider as he becomes the featured ball carrier next fall. He hopes to rack up yards and wins and lead the squad to back-to-back state titles for the second time in a storied history that includes seven championships.

“Our team’s goal this fall is to beat everybody that we play, and to win state again this year,” he said. “But the most important goal is to stay humble and hungry and work hard, and not to take any days off.

“To win state again would mean a lot to me and my team knowing that we got the job done two years in a row and also to be able to end my high school career with a state championship. You couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”

Still, London is an Arkansan at heart. He left his comfort zone to test the waters of big-time prep football. He’s ready to be home.

“All my family and friends are still in Arkansas, and I would describe them as the true believers that knew since Day One I could make it at what I have always dreamed of — playing football.”

If London has his way, his cheering section won’t have far to travel to watch him carry the ball.

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