Lining Up The Talent

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the Arkansas football staff on the road recruiting this week while setting up big weekends in Fayetteville Dec. 10-12 and Jan. 14-16. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

For the second time in three years, Arkansas has taken down LSU and Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino and his assistant coaches have hit the door running.

Running as in fanning out across the country to recruit and try to finish as strong on the recruiting trail as they did on the field at War Memorial Stadium.

Petrino or assistants have popped up in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.

The Razorbacks, who already have the eighth-best recruiting class nationally according to, are poised to have two big recruiting weekends in the next month with Dec. 10-12 and Jan. 14-16 set up to host the most recruits.

The first one is important in part because it comes right before the national juco signing date of Dec. 15th.

Arkansas already has a pledge from the two junior college standouts that shared the Region I Co-Defensive Player of the year in Arizona.

Arizona Western College cornerback Isiah Wiley (6-0, 189) committed last summer while Phoenix College linebacker Alonzo Highsmith (6-1, 220) committed this week..

Wiley was also recently elevated to a 4-star prospect from a 2-star grade by Scout national analyst Scott Kennedy.

"The long and the short of it, is the kid plays hard," Kennedy writes. "He's taken his ability at corner to the safety position where he just itches to hit someone. (He has the) speed of (a) corner with a linebacker mentality. He wasn't challenged vertically by the passing game, but knowing that he's played corner, I don't worry too much about his coverage skills.... and knowing what I know about corners, most don't hit like Wiley does."

Highsmith, son of the former Miami and NFL star of the same name, had 94 tackles this past season with 12 tackles for lost yardage, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and also had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.

He chose Arkansas over Washington, Cincinnati and SMU.

Arkansas is also in the hunt for another AWC product in offensive lineman and former Tennessee freshman All-American Aaron Douglas (6-6, 280).

The AWC duo is playing this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the C.H.A.M.P.S Heart of Texas Bowl as the Matadors (10-1) battle Blinn College (7-3) in Copperas Cove, Texas.

Arkansas is also after the Butler (KA) Community College pair of defensive end Cornellius Carradine (6-6, 255) and quarterback Zach Mettenberger (6-5, 250), the former Georgia quarterback.

Top-ranked Butler (11-0) will play No. 2 Navarro College (10-1) Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Citizens Bank Bowl - the NJCAA National Championship game - in Pittsburg, Kan.

Navarro features freshman defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (6-3, 300), the former Tulsa standout and Arkansas signee who is expected to join the Razorbacks on the field for the 2012 season.

The Razorbacks hope to have all those guys in Dec. 10-12 along with Red Stick (NJ) Catholic tight end/defensive end Jack Tabb (6-4, 235) and a trio of other team's commits.

Those three are Ole Miss commit and Alabama prep DE/LB Kameron Wood (6-4, 235), Texas Tech wideout pledge Derek Edwards (5-11, 170) of Brenham, Texas and Nebraska commit and Mansfield (Texas) Legacy cornerback Tevin Mitchel (6-0, 180), the son of former Arkansas prep standout and Oklahoma Sooner Eric Mitchel.

Among the plethora of prospects due in on the Jan. 14-16 is Edwardsville (IL) tailback Rodney Coe (6-3, 240).

Coe has already visited Iowa and Illinois, will visit Kansas this weekend and then will make his final official visit to Arkansas.

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