Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema made quite the impression in Newton, Texas right after his hire and he and his staff by landing cornerback D.J. Dean and they are back this season trying to land his cousin – one of the nation's top tailbacks.
Newton's Kevin Shorter (6-0, 190, 4.4), who rushed for 12 yards a carry as a junior, will announce his decision Saturday at noon between Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M according to his head coach W.T. Johnston, a Hot Springs native.
"Coach Bielema and his staff have done a great job recruiting Kevin, just as they did with D.J.," Johnston said. "Arkansas really got it right and hit a home run by hiring Coach Bielema. I can't tell you how impressed I am with him. He is just a honest, straight up guy that just blows you away when he is in the room with you."
Shorter actually is cousins with Dean – who has been one of the stars of the Razorbacks' freshman class - and has lived in the same house. He is also related to former Razorback cornerback Greg Gatson.
"Kevin's mom and D.J.'s moms are sisters and both the sisters and the kids are very close," Johnston said. "He's going to make his own decision, but there is no doubt that the family wants them to be together at Arkansas so they can all travel together and see both of them play."
Johnston actually believes it is down to a two-way race for Shorter, who has over 25 offers from every part of the country.
He has visited Arkansas three times unofficially since the spring, including a three-day visit earlier this month.
"It seems to me to be just Arkansas and Texas right now," Johnston said. "I don't think Texas A&M is in it anymore with Kevin. I don't really talk to him about the schools a lot because I don't want anybody thinking I am trying to influence him."
Johnston said that Shorter's versatility is what makes him such a highly-regarded back – evidenced by the fact that he rushed for over 1,800 yards and 31 touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 315 yards and four more scores.
He also picked off three three passes and made 57 tackles while playing safety on defense.
"He has the speed to run away from you, the power to run over you and thinks he is going to score on every carry," Johnston said. "But the big thing is that he is a complete back. He is such a great receiver out of the backfield. He is an every down guy. You don't have to bring him out on third down or anything like that. He is as good a receiver out of the backfield as I have ever seen.
"The one thing I am sure of is that his best days are ahead of him," Johnston added. "I bet a year from now when he is starting college he is going to be a 6-1, 215-pound guy who will be even more of a terror to tackle."
There have not been very many interviews during the recruiting process with Shorter, who is one of 17 starters returning from a team that enters the season ranked No. 1 in Class 2A-Division I.
"He is a really quiet kid, doesn't like to talk that much and really doesn't like to do interviews," Johnston said. "In fact, the more you call him and hound him, the less he is likely to talk to you in the future. He's a nice kid, but he just likes to keep to himself and his friends and doesn't crave attention or publicity.
"But you get him on the football field and give him the ball and he plays very, very loud," Johnston added. "He is special and just like D.J. Feels like he can do anything."
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