Arkansas now has a Baker’s Dozen of 2017 football pledges.
New Orleans, La., De La Salle senior outside linebacker Josh Paul (6-2, 205) committed to the Razorbacks on Wednesday afternoon.
"I liked the campus, the coaches, I liked the whole football program,” Paul said. “They’re really successful with the player’s academics and that played a big role.”
Arkansas is getting a talented player according to De La Salle head coach Ryan Manale.
"They’re getting a player with plenty of upside," Manale said. "His weight isn't where it needs to be but in a year you’ll see him gain 25 to 35 pounds of muscle at Arkansas."
Paul, who was in Fayetteville for Arkansas’ one-day camp on June 11, chose the Razorbacks over other offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Ball State and Tulane among others.
"He said he didn’t realize how nice it was and everyone there were very receptive to him," Manale said. "He just felt like it was home. He really connected to (Arkansas wide receivers) Coach Michael Smith and felt very comfortable and didn’t see any reason for him to go anywhere else. "
He got an offer from Arkansas back in March and becomes the 13th pledge for the Razorbacks in the 2017 class and become yet another prospect landed by Arkansas wide receivers coach Michael Smith, who has landed 14 since 2014.
“It’s his personality,” Paul said of Smith. “He’s straightforward, he keeps it honest. He’s just a great guy.”
Paul fell in love with Fayetteville.
“Everyone is like a big family,” Paul said. “They’re all like one. Everybody supports each other, looks out for each other and takes care of each other.”
Paul had 43 tackles, nine tackles for lost yardage, five sacks and four interceptions last season and was named to the New Orleans Advocate's All-Metro for Classes 3A, 2A and 1A.
"My phone has been blowing up with different coaches and colleges asking me if he really did commit," Manale said. "They’re getting a player that was definitely wanted. He’s really under the radar because he’s a kid that has never really done the camps and 7 on 7’s and stuff like that."
Louisiana's top in-state program had Paul on its radar.
"LSU tried to get him to camp and he just didn’t go," Mauale said. "I was in contact with them multiple times to get him up there."
Manale said Paul was getting attention albeit he hadn't landed a lot of elite offers as of yet.
"A lot of them aren’t the prestigious 32 major Division I (schools), but he had 32 Division I offers," Manuale said. "At least that came through my desk. He definitely got the attention for a kid that doesn’t go to camps."
De La Salle matched its best start in school history by winning its first nine games before losing to Arkansas quarterback signee Cole Kelly threw four touchdown passes and led his Teurlings Catholic squad to a 36-14 win in the Division II state quarterfinals.