Winston Commits to Arkansas

Arkansas picks up a play-making defensive end/linebacker commitment on Tuesday when Mobile (AL) Vigor standout JaMichael Winston (6-5, 240) pledges to sign with the Razorbacks.

Arkansas added a play-making defensive end/linebacker prospect to its 2012 recruiting class on Tuesday when Mobile (AL) Vigor standout JaMichael Winston committed to the Razorbacks.

Winston (6-5, 240) chose Arkansas over Mississippi State, Michigan State, Purdue, South Florida and Kentucky and had around 20 offers total.

Winston said it was the plan that Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson has for him that helped make his decision.

"I like the vision that Coach Robinson has for me," Winston said. "He is going to use me in a hybrid role where I am at defensive end sometimes and at linebackers other. He has a plan to put me in position to make plays, put pressure on the quarterback and just get after the offense."

Being able to play in the SEC is a big reason Arkansas was his pick as well.

"Arkansas has a great program, in the top 10 right now," Winston said. "They play in the best conference in America. That's where I want to play and now I know that there is no reason to wait.

In an earlier interview, Winston mentioned wanting to play for Auburn, who has not offered.

What if they do?

"Doesn't matter," Winston said. "I'm done with recruiting and I am not going to change my mind. I am going to Arkansas and that's that."

Vigor coach Kerry Stephenson said the Razorbacks are getting an outstanding player in Winston, who has not visited Fayetteville and will now begin on setting up his official visit date.

"Arkansas is getting an animal," Stephenson said. "I think he is now the best defensive end prospect in the state and he is also athletic enough to play linebacker. He's that hybrid guy that just makes plays. He already has 10 sacks this season and is making up for lost time."

That lost time Stephenson mentions refers to the fact that Winston missed the entire 2010 season due to a shoulder injury.

"He flew under the radar for awhile because of that shoulder injury, but people started coming through here this spring and saw what he had the potential to be," Stephenson said. "Arkansas loves his athleticism and thinks he can be a big-time playmaker for them."

Winston said it was extremely tough to miss an entire season.

"It was real tough sitting out my junior season, but it was for the best," Winston said. "I got healed up, feel great and I'm out there doing what I love now. "

Vigor is 5-2 this season and 3-1 in 5A Region 1.

"He has around 10 sacks this season for us, 30-plus tackles and has just been creating havoc all season," Stephenson said. "He is now 6-5 ½ and up to 240 pounds and just playing like a beast."

Winston is joined on the defensive line by Alabama defensive line commit Darius Philon and both have already accepted invites to play in the Offensive-Defensive All-American Bowl in Dallas.

"We just take care of business," Winston said. "He handles one side and I handle the other. We enjoy playing the game."

Winston, whose grandfather grew to 7-foot-2 and great grandfather to 7-5, sized up his game earlier this summer.

"I would say my speed and quickness of the ball are my biggest strengths," Winston told "I am going to be working on my strength, size and using my hands more. I want to get up to good size where I can function and still have my speed. I am being recruited as a defensive end and an outside linebacker."

Stephenson added that Arkansas was also getting a character guy.

"Not only is this kid a great player with his best football ahead of him, but he is just a heck of a kid," Stephenson said. "They are going to love him up there in Arkansas."

JaMichael Winston

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