A Big Plus For Recruiting

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton about the new SEC rule that will allow the Razorbacks to now host prospects on unofficial visits at both Little Rock games and also at the Southwest Classic when it resumes at Cowboys Stadium in 2014. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers.

News that Arkansas and Texas A&M will resume the Southwest Classic at Cowboys Stadium in 2014 is music to the ears of Razorback recruiting coordinator Tim Horton.

Not only does it give the program a presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but a new SEC rule passed this spring allows Arkansas to give recruits and their families tickets to the game.

In fact, the new rule also allows the Razorbacks to have unofficial visitors at both Little Rock games this season instead of having to pick just one of the off-campus "home" games to do so.

"I talked to a kid today from Louisiana that said Fayetteville was a little too far for him to make it on a Saturday, but Little Rock was not," Horton said. "So he will be able to come week two. He is a really good player with a lot of offers that we probably wouldn't have been be able to get to our games during the season otherwise.

"It is huge for us for situations like that and also for hosting kids from Texas in Dallas," Horton added. "It was a big change for us and a very positive one."

Arkansas will host a multitude of unofficial visitors this weekend for its season opener with Jacksonville State.

With the recent additions of Memphis East linebacker Marcus Robinson (6-4, 215) and Forrest City defensive end Tevin Beanum (6-4, 235), the Razorbacks suddenly find themselves with 14 commitments.

The 14 pledges are a number far exceeding what many so-called recruiting experts figured a program with a coach on a 10-month contract would be able to land.

"We are real pleased," Horton said. "We have lost a couple here lately that we would have really liked to have gotten, but at the same time those are guys that on signing date might come back to us. We'll just have to wait and see. I really think we will get one or two more in the next three weeks or so."

Horton made it clear that this coaching staff is recruiting as if it was going to be in place next season.

"Really it was very much the same approach taken after the last coaching change in the sense that we are recruiting for the University of Arkansas and – like last time – we honored all of the commitments and that is what will happen again. We are planning on it being John L. Smith and this being his first recruiting class. That is the way we are operating."

No matter who the coach has been at Arkansas over the years, recruiting efforts have always started in-state.

"You look at some of the better players we have on this year's team and they are in-state kids," Horton said. "That is the way it has always got to be – your foundation comes from in-state. We certainly don't need to lose any of the ones we want from Arkansas that is the right fit for us.

"There are some that have gone to other places, other Division I schools that maybe weren't the right fit for the Razorbacks – or us as a coaching staff," Horton said. "But we are real pleased with who we've got right now."

Almost every player on Arkansas' recruiting radar has expressed interest about coming in for the Razorbacks' Sept. 15th home game with Alabama – be it on an official visit or an unofficial one.

"That was a topic of discussion in our staff meeting today in fact," Horton said. "If we can get them to come another time officially, we would like to get them to come another time.

"…If at possible, we want it to be a little later because you want to be able to spend the most time you can with them," Horton said. "They are interviewing us at the same time we are interviewing them."

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