The Red Wolves staff is doing a fine job of reaching out to this year's recruiting class and reassuring the players the program will continue prosper in the coming years. Two Memphis area players, Alexander Karr and Marquez Lanton, appear to be sold on the idea and remain solid to their commitment to the university.
"Coach Grimes touched base with me on everything that's going on with the coaching change," said Alexander Karr. "I let him know I'm still on board. I'm planning on going to Arkansas State. I feel the same way about them now as I did before Coach Malzahn left. I'm very excited about their upcoming bowl game. I'm going to go down there and show my support for the team."
Karr, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive tackle committed to the program in October. He completed his prep career a month ago at Christian Brothers High School.
"We went nine and two on the season," Karr said. "I feel like I played well. I did better dropping back in pass sets and climbing up fast to the next level.
"Coach Grimes thinks I'm well-suited to play tackle in college. My goal is to come in and make an early impact."
Karr said he attended two Red Wolves games this season and will likely take his official visit in January.
Marquez Lanton has hampered by a turf toe injury this season at Memphis Academy of Health Sciences. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver is doing well in his recovery.
"I was only able to go in two games," explained Marquez Lanton. "I came back mid-season and tried to play, but I just couldn't go on it. I should be cleared by the spring so I can run track and start getting in shape for college.
Arkansas State has named defensive coordinator John Thompson the interim head coach for the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. It was Thompson who reached out to Lanton after the coaching change.
"When Coach Thompson called me I told him I was still committed," Lanton said. "I'm just waiting, you know, to see who the new head coach is going to be. It surprised me a little that Coach Malzahn left, but he's got to do what's best for his family. I'm looking forward to going in next season and working with Coach Woods. My goal is to come in and help them win games and keep the momentum going."
Lanton, who had previously committed to Cincinnati before changing his allegiance to Arkansas State during the summer, is the reigning Tennessee state champion in the long jump. Known for his ability to break big runs on special teams, Lanton has a personal bests of 10.81 in the 100 meter dash. He started on varsity football for the MAHS Lions as a freshman.