Friday Night Lights

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how the Cotton Bowl and the next few Friday nights could be real big in elevating the grid program to an even more elite level. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers.

The next few Friday nights are going to go a long way in just how elite the Arkansas football program becomes in the near future.

The No. 6 Razorbacks (10-2) could certainly up their prestige and elevate their 2012 preseason standing with a win over No. 8 Kansas State (10-2) this Friday night in the Cotton Bowl.

The game inside Cowboys Stadium is the only bowl being played on Friday night and is nationally televised by Fox, which gives Arkansas a major stage to play on.

"I think it is certainly something that excites our football team and our players to know that we are the only thing on at that time," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "We get to go on national TV and try to put on a show. That is the one thing you try to do as a football player. You put a lot of hard work and dedication into working on your skills and your craft and now you get to go on national TV and display it and have one of your performances."

The following three Friday nights will then see a plethora of big-time prospects who could continue that climb all taking their official visits to campus.

"We all know how important recruiting is to a football program and we believe that we are off to a great start," Petrino said. "Now we just need to close on some great ones."

The Razorbacks are expected to have at least six official visitors on Jan. 13-15, including committed pledges in Longview (Texas) wide receiver Eric Hawkins and Mobile (AL) Vigor defensive end Jamichael Winston (6-5, 240).

Other prospects expected in that weekend include a trio of linebacker prospects Beau Hankins (6-2, 230) of Birmingham (AL) Jackson Olin, Harding Harper (6-2, 210) of Montgomery (AL) Carver and Vin Ascolese (6-2, 215) of North Bergen (NJ).

The Razorbacks will also be trying to flip Missouri cornerback commit Will Hines (6-1, 180) of Waco, Texas.

That will lead into a Jan. 20-22 weekend that could have one of the greatest collections of talent to ever visit the campus at one time.

That list will be headed by a trio of five-star prospects in Springfield Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 230), Chicago (IL) Simeon offensive lineman Jordan Diamond (6-6, 290) and tailback Trey Williams (5-9, 175) of Houston (TX) Dekaney.

There's also a highly-sought after four-star middle linebacker prospect in Van (Texas) standout Dalton Santos (6-3, 250), who is currently committed to Tennessee.

Some other four-star recruits due in Jan. 20th are Atmore (AL) Escambia defensive tackle Tyler Nero (6-2, 285), Houston (TX) Westside offensive lineman and Texas A&M committment Germain Ifedi (6-6, 315), Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral cornerback Davonte Neal (5-9, 175), Wilmer-Hutchins (Texas) safety LaDarrell McNeil (6-2, 190) and Sugar Land (Texas) Hightower athlete Bralon Addison (5-10, 180).

Several three-star prospects are also slated to take official visits including Hoover (AL) Spain Park cornerback Chris Humes (5-11, 190), Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln wide receiver Raph Andrades (6-1, 175 and South Carolina defensive end commit Darius English (6-6, 220) of Powder Springs (GA) McEachern.

They'll join a bevy of Razorback commitments expected to be here as well including linebacker A.J. Turner of East Poinsett County – the state's top player – a pair of offensive linemen in Pottsville's Jeremy Ward and Memphis Ridgeway's Cordale Boyd, Olive Branch (MS) wideout D'Arthur Cowan, Tallahassee (FL) Godby linebacker Jakarri Thomas and Norman (OK) tailback Donovan Roberts.

The two players who have confirmed they have plans to take official visits to Arkansas on Jan. 27-29 are Citron (FL) North Marion tight end Sean Price (6-4, 225) and Tulsa Booker T. Washington cornerback Jared Collins.

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