Recruiting Bonanza

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the upcoming Hawgs Illustrated Recruiting Issue, filled with a behind the scenes look at the 2011 signees and how the class came together. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

One of my favorite times of the year is when we sit down and start putting the Hawgs Illustrated recruiting issue together.

It's a labor of love and includes an in-depth look at all of the 30 Arkansas grid signees.

Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino shares his thoughts on the incoming group, one he is clearly happy about bringing into the fold.

"Since I've been here, I feel like this is the most complete (class) when you hit all the positions," Petrino said.

Through calls to players, coaches and parents, we try to turn over every rock and go behind the scenes on each of the signees while also listing their feats on the football field.

They tell us why they chose Arkansas and why they expect the Razorbacks to be playing for national titles while here.

This year's issue, set to hit the market around March 1, is being put together by a team that includes publisher Clay Henry, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers online sports editor Matt Jones, interns Zach Turner and Clint Mitchell, contributor Jimmy Carter and myself.

I know they are coming up with interesting tidbits just as I am through the course of digging into just what kind of players the Razorbacks are getting.

One signee was so anxious to sign with the Razorbacks that he drove a tractor through the snow to find a fax machine.

Two of the 2011 Arkansas signees have dads that are scouts for this year's Super Bowl teams Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

One of those signees was on the sidelines at the Super Bowl as a ball boy.

Another one of the signees has a head coach who has coached in the NFL and the USFL.

You talk about being hit with the way back machine – that's the first time I had thought about USFL in a while.

Back 1983, 1984 and 1985, the USFL played a spring/summer schedule and had big names such as Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie, Reggie White, Steve Young and Jim Kelly.

I actually went over to the Liberty Bowl in 1985 to see White and the Memphis Showboats play Walker, Flutie and the New Jersey Generals, who was owned by some guy named Donald Trump.

The only problem was the league lost money and lot of it - $163 million – and thus didn't survive.

Back to the signees, one coach notes that his Arkansas signee would bait the team's opposing quarterback into throwing the ball.

He would act like he was beat, just to get the quarterback to thrown the ball and then make a play.

"That won't work in college, but just tells you what kind of athlete Arkansas is getting," the coach said.

One Arkansas signee was once over 400 pounds. Another never played a full season because of injuries. One's dad played at the "U" and he himself was a teammate of current Razorback Knile Davis.

One had eight schools call the day after he committed to the Razorbacks, but he told them "too late, I am a man of my word."

It's clear that Arkansas has landed a class with character as well as a class of characters.

That's good for the team and the media.

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