Swing Of Emotions

Arkansas running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton - who got three new running backs to add to his mix - talks about a day that began with the loss of the nation's top prospect but ends with the addition of some defensive firepower.

From a shot in the gut to getting the wind back in their sails.

That describes the Wednesday for Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton and the rest of the Razorback staff.

It began with Springfield (MO) Hillcrest Dorial Green-Beckham – the nation's top-rated prospect – choosing Missouri.

It ended with the Razorbacks landing Mobile (AL) Vigor defensive tackle Darius Philon, who appeared headed to Alabama earlier in the day.

"That is a good way of saying it," Horton said of the analogy. "Like (Arkansas head) Coach (Bobby) Petrino said, we wish Dorial well, but at the same time we got four great receivers that we feel really good about and we are excited about.

"We were glad to get a couple of great ones late that we did as well," Horton added.

The current class of 24 newcomers included two early enrollees in Los Angeles (CA) Harbor defensive end/linebacker Austin Flynn (6-5, 255) and former Fayetteville tight end Demetrius Dean (6-3, 250) and is ranked 20th nationally by Scout.com.

It is ranked as high as 14th by Max Emfinger, but also ranked 11th of 12th in the SEC by ESPN.

Those rankings could rise with the possible addition of Chicago (IL) Simeon five-star offensive lineman Jordan Diamond (6-6, 290) or Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral wideout DaVonte Neal in the coming days.

"I think this is a class that filled all of our needs, I think it is a class that is very, very athletic, I think it is a class that has got great speed and I think when you look at it, it is a class that has won a lot of game and a lot of these kids have won at the highest level. We are really happy with it.

"We filled basically all of our needs," Horton said. "Every year you want to get longer and get faster and we certainly did that.

"Everybody wants to talk about today, but this class will really be defined in three years," Horton said. "But today we really do feel good about it."

Horton, who coaches Arkansas' running backs, will have some talented new youngsters to add to his existing talent.

Allen (Texas) tailback Jonathan Williams and Norman (OK) star Donavan Roberts will definitely start in the backfield and so might Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial star Nate Holmes.

"They (Williams and Roberts) are both tough kids, hard-nosed kids and both kids that come from very good football programs," Horton said. "They have kind of been the bellcows of their team.

"Donovan rushed for over 5,000 yards, Jonathan rushed for 3,500 yards and so this are kids – both of them – who wanted to come and be mentored by (current Razorbacks) Knile Davis, Ronnie Wingo and Dennis Johnson, which is a little unusual because it is going to be hard to beat those three out.

"But in a year they will have a chance to be the guy," Horton added. "I really like their character, like their worth ethic and am really pleased with both of them."

Holmes could land at either tailback, be a wideout or could even end up at cornerback.

"That is going to be a good fight this spring (between the coaches) because because boy his video is impressive," Horton said.

"That is another quality that you see in this class," Horton added. "We have a lot of kids that can play multiple positions. That is kind of what we can recruit in the past and Nate is a guy that can play running back, could play wideout, could play corner. I think that will be a good fight.

"As the running back coach, it is good to have a head coach that is an offensive guy," Horton continued.

Here is the 2012 Arkansas signing class:

Austin Flynn, DE-MLB, 6-5, 255, Los Angeles HarBor (Enrolled in school at UA)

Taiwan Johnson, DE, 6-3, 235, Manvel, Texas

Eric Hawkins, WR, 6-0, 170, 4.34, Longview, Texas

Jonathan Williams, TB, 6-0, 208, Allen, Texas

Deatrich Wise, DE, 6-5, 235, Carrollton, Texas, Hebron

Cordale Boyd, OL, 6-3, 292, Memphis Ridgeway

Brandon Lewis, DE, 6-5, 230, Memphis Ridgeway, Tenn.

Ray Buchanan, Jr. , CB, 5-11, 176, Suwanee, Ga. Peachtree Ridge

Jeremy Ward, OL, 6-4, 290, Pottsville

Keon Hatcher, WR, 6-2, 205, Owasso, Okla.

A.J. Turner, LB, 6-2, 210, East Poinsett County

D'Arthur Cowan, WR, 6-3, 180, Olive Branch, Miss.

Jared Collins, CB, 5-10, 170, Tulsa Booker T. Washington, Okla.

Will Hines, CB, 6-1, 180, Waco, Texas

Donovan Roberts, TB, 6-0, 205, Norman, Okla.

Otha Peters, LB, 6-1, 223, Covington, La.

Nate Holmes, ATH, 6-1, 180, Port Arthur, Texas, Memorial

Defonta Lowe, ATH, 6-3, 180, Bearden

Jeremy Sprinkle, TE-DE, 6-5, 215, White Hall

Demetrius Wilson, WR, 6-3, 180, Glendale, Ariz., CC

Vin Ascolese, LB, 6-2, 220, North Bergen, N. J.

Jamichael Winston, DE, 6-5, 240, Mobile (AL) Vigor

Demetrius Dean, TE, 6-3, 245, Fayetteville (enrolled in school at UA)

Darius Philon, DT, 6-1, 280, Mobile (Vigor), Ala.

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