Fast And Physical

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with Richland (Texas) junior linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga (6-3, 226, 4.6), one of Arkansas' top 2012 targets and someone who was on hand for the Razorbacks' 58-21 rout of UTEP. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

One of the best prospects in the house last Saturday night at Arkansas' Reynolds Razorback Stadium just might be the best junior outside linebacker in the state of Texas.

Richland Hills standout Jeremiah Tshimanga (6-3, 226, 4.6) already has offers from Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and has other schools like Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, LSU, Texas Tech, and Notre Dame showing interest.

"I am still kind of young and looking over all the schools and I wanted to come up here because the head coach (Bobby Petrino) personally invited me," Tshimanga said. "These are great facilities and I really enjoyed talking to the coaches and the players."

The trip to Fayetteville was one of curiosity, but definitely got his attention. Tshimanga was born in the Congo region of Africa and came to the United States when he was 3 years old.

"I am definitely interested in Arkansas," said Tshimanga, regarded as one of the top 50 juniors in the talent-rich state of Texas. "They are in the best conference out there and are really a program on the rise. I think I want to come back and check it out on an official visit when it comes time next season."

That would be music to the ears of the Arkansas staff because of the mentality that Tshimanga brings to the field – one similar to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, his favorite player.

"I play fast and I play physical," Tshimanga said. "I am a hard-hitter and just like contact out there on the football field and that helps because that is what you want from a linebacker."

It was actually the second time that Tshimanga had seen Arkansas this season. He was also at the Razorbacks' win over the Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

"I was at that game and knowing I would get to play there once a season is good for both Arkansas and Texas A&M," Tshimanga said. "It is a great facility and an amazing place. Going to that game really gave me a chance to check both teams out and I liked things I saw from both."

Tshimanga, whose older brother has grown to 6-6, 260, has become somewhat of a specialist in dislodging the ball from the ballcarrier.

"One of my big things is my ability to cause fumbles," Tshimanga said. "I caused seven as a sophomore and I think six this season."

His cousin Reggie Wilson is a freshman defender at Texas.

Richland didn't have the year that he had hoped for, but it wasn't necessarily on the defense.

"We ended up short and didn't make it to the playoffs," Tshimanga said. "We lost our last game. We had a really good defense, but our offense was kind of young and it was a tough season."

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