In the end, the opportunity to play big-time football in the SEC trumped the comfort of staying home.
Snow (UT) College linebacker Robert Atiga (6-3, 240) said as much Wednesday when the late 2011 signee chose Arkansas over Oregon State.
"I am going to be a Razorback and am very excited about the chance to play on Saturdays in the SEC with the best of the best," Atiga said. "I called (Razorback head) Coach (Bobby) Petrino to let him know and he said he was very happy that I was going to be a part of helping Arkansas win a national championship."
Atiga, who had 5 sacks among his 53 tackles last season, will have three years to play three and will be immediately eligible to play for Arkansas this fall.
"I am going to finish up my classes here and then I will be down there in July to being working out with my new teammates," Atiga said. "Like I said before, the SEC calling is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am going to answer that call."
Atiga visited Arkansas this past weekend after also taking official visits to Oregon State and Washington, where his uncle is an assistant.
His parents were a bit surprised that he was not choosing a college nearby.
"My parents thought I would be staying out West, but they are behind me all the way and want me to do what I think is best for myself," Atiga said. "They said they were going to come watch me play wherever I ended up."
He is a legit 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker.
"They measured me and weighed me when I was there this weekend and that is exactly what I was," Atiga said. "They liked the fact that I was the size I said I was."
Atiga got his eligibility waiver late and it has turned out to be a huge benefit for Arkansas, who gave a release to Austin Moss.
"Arkansas needs a linebacker and I am going to come in and work hard and be that guy for them," Atiga said. "I am a guy that can provide a great blitz, but am also a run stopper. I think I can come in and be what they want me to be right away."
Atiga to Arkansas
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