Leading The Razorback Charge

Fayetteville High's trio of Austin Allen, Brooks Ellis and Alex Brignoni - all new Razorback commits - plan to help the Arkansas coaches as much as they can in recruiting a solid 2013 class. That will begin with a push to land a pair of fellow in-state stars in Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry and North Little Rock tailback Altee Tepenny.

Now that a trio of Purple Bulldogs have pledged to be future Razorbacks, they are anxious to make sure others end up doing the same.

Fayetteville High quarterback Austin Allen (6-2, 217), linebacker Brooks Ellis (6-3, 215) and safety Alex Brignoni (6-2, 195) all committed to Arkansas and current head coach John L. Smith on Monday.

"When we called Coach Smith, he made it clear to us how excited he was and how he wanted us to be the Bell Cows of this recruiting class and do what we can to help us land a great one," Allen said. "That's just what we want to do and are going to do."

The FH3 will start right away in state with Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry (6-6, 235) and North Little Rock tailback and Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny (5-11, 200).

"We want to make sure we get all the great players in Arkansas and that starts with Hunter Henry and Altee Tenpenny," Allen said. "We are going to get to work on that right away. We want them to stay in state and be Razorbacks. We have everything you need right here. This is a program on the verge of greatness."

Arkansas now has a quintet of commits in its 2013 class with all five pledges happening since the ouster of former head coach Bobby Petrino and the hiring of Smith on a 10-month contract.

The Fayetteville trio joins a Louisiana prep duo of Denham Springs tailback Kaleb Blanchard (6-1, 210) and Patterson tight end Deondre Skinner (6-4, 230) in being 2013 pledges.

"I think what we all see is a great university and a great football program that has a great future regardless of what has happened lately with the (head) coach," Allen said. "I think one thing we are going to see is that there are going to be a lot of these same coaches around here for the next few years anyway."

Allen knows that it is a big deal for the Arkansas program to haul in some commits early on to show stability in the program and get momentum going in recruiting.

"That's one of the reasons that we wanted to do this now," Allen said. "We all know where we want to be so let's go ahead, commit now and start helping right away."

Allen threw for a Class 7A state record 4,150 yards and tied his older brother's school record with 46 touchdown passes.

Ellis had 92 tackles – including 13 ½ sacks – while being named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Defensive Player of the Year.

Brignoni had 130 tackles, including a whopping 10 interceptions – a pair of which he took back for touchdowns.

"We all push each other and work really hard to get better every day," Allen said. "Our hard work has paid off, but won't stop now."

As a quarterback, Allen knows he is going to be looked at as a leader on and off the field.

"That's how things are and I am very happy to be a leader," Allen said. "It is about doing things the right way whether you are on the field or not. It's about setting the right example and doing the right thing whether anybody is looking or not."

Allen certainly has an interest in that because his dad Bobby Allen has been a long-time Arkansas assistant and his older brother Brandon will be a redshirt freshman quarterback next season.

"My dad and Brandon are real happy about how things went during spring practice and think we are going to have a great season," Allen said. "I think that is the one thing that will help a lot with recruiting – just going out there and winning football games like we have been doing."

While Allen and Ellis got their offers on February 2, Brignoni got his this past Saturday.

It was hard to tell who was more excited – Brignoni or his two best friends.

"We're really are the three best friends you could ever imagine and we began to talk a long time ago about how great it would be to play together in college," Allen said. "That became a reality on Saturday when Alex got offered. We've been celebrating it all weekend."

Allen actually had advanced knowledge of the offer.

"My dad called me Saturday morning and told me they had made the decision to go ahead and offer Alex and to tell him to call him up," Allen said. "I was thrilled for him. It was his dream, all of our dreams. I knew he was going to get an offer at some point, but it's great that it happened now."

That will allow the three to enter the 2012 season – which ironically begins at Razorback Stadium on August 30th against Memphis University High School – with a clear path to their future.

The Purple Bulldogs will be trying to repeat as Class 7A state champions.

"Now we can put all of our effort in to having a great season and helping to recruit some great players to be Razorbacks," Allen said. "It's great to have it all planned out and ready to go."


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