Late Intrigue

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the three (or more) visitors Arkansas is welcoming in during the last weekend before Wednesday's national signing date.

As is normal with the last week of recruiting, there is plenty of intrigue involving the University of Arkansas football program.

That includes a trio of young men coming to see the Razorbacks this weekend for official visits - Egg Harbor Roll (NJ) Cedar Creek quarterback Damon Mitchell (6-3, 205, 4.4), Osceola athlete Korliss Marshall (6-0, 185, 4.3) and Houston (Texas) Bellaire tailback Denzell Evans (6-0, 205, 4.5).

The most drama involves Mitchell, who acquired over 20-plus offers from West Virginia and others during the recruiting process before committing to Georgia Tech in July.

The dual-threat signal caller went on to pass for 2,025 yards and 22 touchdowns and rush for 1,027 yards and 21 scores as a senior.

He stayed strong with the Ramblin' Wreck until a Sunday night visit from Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who had been recruiting him for Wisconsin when he was the head coach there.

At that point, Mitchell – whose nickname is Duwop - decided he would take an official visit to Arkansas, who might have some last-minute surprises as well besides the aforementioned trio.

"It's an SEC school, and I feel like I owe it to myself to check it out," Mitchell told the Philadephia Inquirer earlier this week. "I have to take a look at it."

Georgia Tech was not pleased as one would expect and told Mitchell that if he got on a plane to Arkansas he would no longer have an offer from it.

The Yellowjackets upped the ante and appeared to move on Wednesday night when they offered McEachern (GA) High quarterback Ty Griffin (6-0, 190) and got an immediate commitment.

Mitchell could end up at Rutgers if things didn't work out with Arkansas, but Cedar Creek head coach Tim Watson would be surprised if Mitchell doesn't end up a Razorback.

"You're talking about the SEC West with 'Bama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida," Watson said. "He'll have to step up, but it would force him to be the best player he can be."

Bielema actually offered Mitchell – who just started playing quarterback as a junior - as a safety at Wisconsin before he began to develop as a quarterback as a senior.

Just as with Plantation (FL) South Plantation tailback Alex Collins, Mitchell will actually be making his second official visit with Bielema as he visited Wisconsin in October.

Mitchell got the nickname Duwop very early in life.

"I was a little kid watching my mom cook and listening to the radio and I wasn't dancing to any of the songs throughout the day," Mitchell told Scout.com. "I was just watching and eating here and there. All of a sudden a doo wop song came and I stood up and started rocking out, dancing and stuff.

"My mom said, ‘Look at him do the doo wop' and my aunt said, ‘Look at ‘du' do the doo wop.' They called me ‘du' as a little kid and the song kind of sealed the deal."

As a freshman, Mitchell rushed for 937 yards and 12 touchdowns, passed for 859 yards and nine more scores and also recorded 43 tackles, three interception and 12 passes broken up.

Marshall is a young man who has always been regarded as one of the state's best athletes and it was thought he was just a qualifying ACT score away from getting some big offers.

After rushing for 1,711 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, he got his offer from Arkansas on Wednesday and is taking his visit this weekend before firming things up with a commitment.

Marshall – who has a huge fan in former Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner - rushed for 4,347 yards and 60 touchdowns in his Osceola career, but could end up at tailback, wideout or cornerback whole also returning kicks as a Razorback.

Marshall's previous offers were fro Arkansas State, UCA, UAPB, Missouri State and UAB, where he was previously scheduled to visit this weekend.

Evans is a Houston commit, but hoping for a Razorback offer this weekend and says he will flip right away if he gets one on his visit.

He rushed for 2,350 yards and 26 touchdowns the past three seasons with 825 yards and seven scores this season while playing both offense and defense.

Evans is the teammate of Arkansas offensive line target Dwayne Johnson (6-6, 275), who is choosing between the Razorbacks – where he took his official visit to Arkansas last week - and Nebraska and could announce any day.

Arkansas is still waiting to hear on seven players that have already taken official visits to Fayetteville.

Those prospects include a pair of skill guys in tailbacks Alex Collins of Plantation (FL) South Florida and Altee Tenpenny of North Little Rock.

The offensive linemen Arkansas had in still considering the Razorbacks are Miami Booker T. Washington's Denver Kirkland (6-5, 335), Houston Bellaire's Dwayne Johnson (6-6, 275) and Phoenix (AZ) Mountain Pointe's Kenny Lacy (6-5, 270).

The other visitor who still has Arkansas alive is Tulsa Booker T. Washington safety and Oklahoma commit Dominique Alexander (6-2, 200) - who was once a Razorback commit and recently visited both Arkansas and Kansas State.

Collins and Lacy are both set to announce on Monday while Kirkland will announce his choice on Wednesday on ESPN.


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