FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The first couple times it happened, Ricky Town was taken aback.
Town would be walking down the street, and someone trotting toward him would smile and offer a friendly, “Hi, how are you?”
“People are so polite here,” Town said Sunday during Arkansas’ local media day.
“They’re so nice. People actually say hello to you when you walk past them. At first, it was really weird, because everyone in L.A. just walks past you.”
Town spent his whole life in California before moving across the country to Fayetteville last August. He was a highly recruited prospect out of St. Bonaventure High in Ventura, Calif., choosing initially to stay close to home and play for Southern Cal.
He enrolled early for the spring 2015 semester, went through spring practices and summer workouts and then, abruptly, left the Trojans after a week of fall camp. A few days later, he announced that he would be a Razorback instead.
Town redshirted last season and is battling with Rafe Peavey, Ty Storey and Cole Kelley to be the Hogs’ backup quarterback behind starter Austin Allen in 2016.
He spoke with SEC Country during Arkansas’ media day about the competition, his life in Fayetteville and other topics.
Q: How is practice going so far?
A: It’s going really well. I’m enjoying it. It’s my first camp here, so I’m really excited. It’s fun. I’m learning a lot and trying to get better each day.
Has this been a less stressful offseason for you?
Yeah, for sure. Austin’s the starter and it’s great to learn from him and how he does things. He’s been under Coach (Dan) Enos for a year now, so it’s cool to learn from both of them.
Is the competition friendly for the most part?
We try to keep it as friendly as possible. I mean, we all want to be the starter, but we all learn from each other’s mistakes and what we do well and stuff. It’s a good brotherhood.
After all you’ve experienced in the last year, do you feel settled in Arkansas?
It’s been nice. Being so highly touted coming out of high school, there’s a lot of pressure on you. Especially for being so young. I think back on it, and I was just a high school kid. It’s been nice to get a little break from it. I’m excited to get back in it, though. I’m glad to be here in Arkansas. I think this is a great place.
Does this feel like home for you?
From the first week, I felt at home. This is where I should have been the whole time.
Can you remember an exact moment when this place started to feel like home?
It really hit me about a week in. I was talking to my teammates, and I’d only been here a week but they’d already accepted me like I’d been here three years already.
Was it strange for you to be completely out of the spotlight last year?
It was different, but I think it was a good learning experience. I think I needed to go through that. Being in a new area and a totally new state and moving away from home was nice. Razorback games are incredible. Southern football is totally different from what it’s like over there.