UA adds pledges of Williams, Casey

Recent commitments by Desmond Williams on Sunday and Kentucky running back Joe Casey on Monday give the Razorbacks 28 known verbal pledges.

Texas prep safety Desmond Williams saw no reason to wait on Sunday at the end of his official visit to Fayetteville so he pledged to be a Razorback to head coach Houston Nutt before he left the campus.

Williams, a 6-2, 201-pound defender from Euless Trinity High, chose the Razorbacks over Texas A&M, Arizona and LSU, where he was scheduled to visit next weekend.

"The visit went great and it was just the kind of place I was looking for," Williams said. "I think I can come in and get some early playing time at free safety. I loved the facilities and the coaches and the players so there really was no reason to wait."

He's a great catch for the Razorbacks considering he is one of top 50 players in Texas according to the Dallas Morning News and Arkansas lost a lot of its secondary starters and reserves.

"I'm going to be a Razorback and I feel great about it."

Williams is considered a big-time hitter.

"He's our eraser," Euless Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver told the Dallas Morning News. "He makes up for mistakes up front."

Williams knows of that long line of big hitters that Arkansas has produced.

"When you see guys like (former Razorbacks) Steve Atwater and Kenoy Kennedy and Ken Hamlin playing in the NFL, you know there is a tradition at Arkansas," Williams said. "I want to come in and add to that."

o o o Paducah (Ky.) Tilghman running back Joe Casey (6-foot-1, 215, 4.4), a second-team USA Today All-American, said Monday night that he's now commited to Arkansas.

Casey gave the Kentucky coaching staff a verbal pledge in early June, but has changed his mind and says he will sign with Arkansas on national signing day.

"I'm definitely signing with Arkansas on signing day," Casey said.

"Then, it's up to the coaches on which route I take to end up at Arkansas. I haven't set a time for my press conference, but it's going to be at the school."

Casey could end up at either a junior college or a prep school.

"I've got total trust in the Arkansas coaches, I know that they're going to do what's best for me," Casey said. Coach Danny Nutt is coming to my house tomorrow night for an in-home visit."

As a senior, Casey rushed for 2,204 yards and 36 touchdowns and as a junior he totaled 2,358 yds and 34 TDs.

For his career, Casey rushed for over 6,000 yards and 88 TDs.

"Kentucky assistant Joker Phillips is suppose to be coming for an in-home on Wednesday night, but my mind is already made up," Casey said. "Whenever I first commited to Kentucky, they showed me a lot of love, after they thought they had me, things changed."

"I'm real comfortable with coach (Danny) Nutt, he's an awesome recruiter, who wouldn't want to play for him," Casey added.

Casey said he and his teammate - wide receiver Curtis Hamilton - are scheduled to officially visit Arkansas this weekend.

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Although it has been long thought that Marlin (Texas) duo of safety D'Nerian Wrighter (6-1, 205, 4.4) and cornerback Matterial Richardson (6-0, 190, 4.5) were headed to Arkansas, they still have not publicly announced that intention.

But Wrighter was quoted in the Memphis Commerical Appeal on Thursday as saying that the fact that Arkansas had some many defensive backs leaving was perfect for the duo.

"This came at a perfect time for us. There's not too many folks who get a chance to start in the SEC," Wrighter said. "We're gonna wait until (Feb. 4) to announce it, but, yeah, we'll sign with Arkansas."

The pair took visits to Houston this weekend, but Wrighter, who had 11 interceptions while Richardson picked off six, said it was still all Arkansas.

"It was nice and all that (at Houston), but it ain't where we are going to be playing college ball at," Wrighter said. "It's not out there here (in Marlin, Texas) yet, but we are 100 percent Razorbacks. That's for certain."

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The Razorbacks are also close to getting a decision from Little Rock Parkview tight end Marc Winston (6-5, 235).

He visited Arkansas officially this past weekend after previously having visited Florida and Duke.

"It was a great visit and I got to see some things that even I haven't seen before on all my trips," Winston said. "It was a lot of academic stuff and some athletic stuff as well. Just a great visit."

It is down to just the Razorbacks and the Gators, who will both make pitches in Winston's home this week with Florida assistant DeWayne Dixon in on Wednesday and Arkansas assistant Danny Nutt in on Friday.

Winston said he probably would not do anything before the two coaches visit this week, but most likely will before a previous date of Feb. 2 he had set to announce.

"No, I am probably going to just wait and talk to them and think about it a little," Winston said. "But I don't really see myself waiting until Feb. 2 like I thought I would earlier."

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Arkansas also continues to wait on the decisions of three other players in defensive linemen Fred Bledsoe of Little Rock Central and Ernest Mitchell of Newnan, Ga., and cornerbacks David Haynes and Kyle Williams.

Bledsoe visited Arkansas this weekend and will make his decision public on signing date Feb. 4 at 4 p.m.

Mitchell (6-1, 285), who was at Arkansas the previous weekend, visited Florida State this weekend and then promptly canceled next week's visit to Clemson.

He told The Insiders network that it was down to Arkansas and Florida State and he would host Razorback head coach Houston Nutt on Tuesday and Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden on Thursday before making a decision.

Haynes (5-9, 165), a standout for McGregor (Texas) High, committed to SMU, but is now weighing an offer from Arkansas that he got on Friday.

"Right now he is still committed to SMU, but he does now have an offer from Arkansas and is contemplating that and just thinking about what he wants to do," David Haynes, Sr. said of his son on Sunday night. "I am just going to let him make that decision."

Kyle Williams, a former Arkansas prep star now at Navarro (Texas) Junior College, visited Texas A&M this past weekend.

"It was nice," Williams said.

He has already visited Kansas State, TCU and Arkansas.

"They are all still alive," Williams said.

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Arkansas also racked up a couple of highly-regarded walk-on commitments on Sunday.

One was from Fort Smith Southside kicker Jeremy Davis (5-11, 170), who will also play golf for the Razorbacks.

"The visit this weekend was great and they treated us how you should be treated whether you were a walk on or someone who was getting a scholarship," Davis. "In the end I have always been a Razorback fan and wanted to be both a Razorack football player and golfer."

Some 75 percent of Davis' kickoffs went through the end zone this season, his longest field goal of the season was a 53-yarder against Springdale and he averaged 45.1 yards per punt.

"They have a great punter up there already in (Jacob) Skinner and a good short field goal kicker in (Chris) Balseiro, but they have told be that I would get the chance to kick off this season and also be the long field goal kicker. They also told me that no one has a lock on any position."

Davis will be with the football team in the fall and then join the golf team when that season is over.

"Golf is a big part of this as well," Davis said. "I have finished in the top 10 in every tournament I have played in and qualified for the Junior Worlds and the Big Eye National. I am going to play golf for a program that I think we will the national title in a year or two. I will miss the four fall tournaments, but be around to play in all the spring ones and the national tournament."

Arkansas also notched a commitment to walk on from Conway offensive lineman Collin Sears (6-5, 305), who opened holes this season for running back Peyton Hillis, another Razorback commitment who rushed for over 2,600 yards this season.

(Mike Capshaw and Brett Bradley also contributed to this story.)

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