Arkansas is in position to land a middle linebacker early in the recruiting process this year instead of at the end.
Marrero, La., John Ehret three-star inside linebacker De'jon Harris (6-1, 230) said Monday night that he could have a decision ready in a couple of weeks between leaders the Razorbacks and Oregon.
He recently visited Arkansas for the program’s Red-White game and left very impressed with the Razorback linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves, defensive coordinator Robb Smith and head coach Bret Bielema.
“The facilities and coaches are Arkansas are great,” said Harris. who visited along with John Ehret wide receiver Tyron Williams. “I really loved my first visit there and visiting with Coach Hargreaves.
“He made it clear to me how much Arkansas wants me and needs me in the middle at linebacker. He talked about how I could come in and see playing time and help out right away.
“I really liked how Coach Smith and his first-team defense really control the team (the second-team) they were going against. He really knows what he is doing.
“I really have a great relationship with those coaches at Arkansas. That’s a very big factor for me. I got a chance to talk about 40 minutes with Coach Bielema and I’m just really impressed with all those guys."
Harris, who had 82 tackles, 15 tackles for lost yardage, three forces fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three passes deflected, admits he almost committed to Arkansas on his visit.
“I really thought about it and talked to my mother and my coach at my school about it. My mother said to go ahead if that’s what I am feeling. But my coach said I should wait until after our spring practice.
“He said I should wait and see who comes in for our spring practice – which started today (Monday) – and see what my list looks like after that.
“He said if I wanted to commit to Arkansas or Oregon after that and thought those were still the places for me, then it would be time to do so.”
Harris views himself similar to Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight (6-0, 236), who was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fifth round of last weekend’s NFL Draft.
“I watched the way he (Spaight) played and I think that is the kind of guy I am,” Harris said. “I love to hit and I can cover the field from side to side and I can play the run really well and also do a good job with pass coverage.
“I also think my football IQ is off the charts. I really study the game and watch film like college players do. I want to learn everything I can, give myself every advantage that I can out there on the football field.”
Oregon – a place he has not yet been - was Harris’ first offer and he has added several since.
Arkansas, Tulane, Memphis, Troy, Louisiana Monroe, Arkansas State and Western Kentucky are his other offers with LSU, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Tennessee also showing interest.
“I haven’t been to Oregon,” Harris said. “If I decided that was the best place for me then I guess I would commit and visit later.”
He expects his high school team to put forth a big-tine defense this season – especially with four-star prospect Michael Divinity (6-2, 205) beside him at linebacker.
Divinity has offers from Arkansas, LSU, Oregon, Florida State, Ole Miss, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.
“We have nine of 11 starters coming back on defense so we should be able to really be able to get it done on that side this season,” Harris said. “We have to replace a lot of our offensive line, but I think we have a chance to be really, really good.”
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