McFadden Takes Over Top Spot

FAYETTEVILLE -- Pulaski Oak Grove running back Darren McFadden received two first-place votes to take the top spot previously held by Fort Smith Southside receiver Slick Shelley in the Arkansas Top 30 prospects list.

Shelley had held the top spot since the spring.

McFadden, who's verbally committed to Arkansas, is one of the top running backs to come out of the state in some time. He proved that in camps this summer and has earned several preseason all-American teams.

Little Rock Central safety Kevin Thornton remains in the No. 3 spot while Texarkana tailback Brandon Barnett and Bearden linebacker Ben Owens Jr. made the biggest jump into the top 10, coming in at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Arkansas commitments Cord Gray (No. 6) and Joey Crossland (No. 8) and North Little Rock's Jamar Love (No. 7), Little Rock Mills Elston Forte (No. 9) and Little Rock Central's Antwain Robinson (No. 10) round out the top 10.

The only prospects from Northwest Arkansas are hard-hitting Springdale free safety Matt Taylor at No. 15 and Fayetteville linebacker Matt Bonner at No. 29.

TOP 30 ARKANSANS*
First-place votes in parenthesis.
Rank Position Prospect Height Weight 40x School
1 RB Darren McFadden(2) 6-1 185 4.3 Pulaski Oak Grove
2 WR Slick Shelley (1) 6-3 180 4.4 FS Southside
3 FS Kevin Thornton 6-1 190 4.5 LR Central
4 RB Brandon Barnett 5-8 175 4.4 Texarkana
5 LB Ben Owens, Jr. 6-2 205 4.6 Bearden
6 DT Cord Gray 6-2 270 5.0 Wynne
7 ATH Jamar Love 6-2 190 4.4 North Little Rock
8 OT Joey Crossland 6-6 305 5.1 Russellville
9 SS Elston Forte 6-1 174 4.5 LR Mills
10 DE Antwain Robinson 6-3 220 4.7 LR Central
11 SS Hezekiah Smith 6-0 185 4.5 Sylvan Hills
12 FB Reggie Arnold 5-11 220 4.4 LR McCllelan
13 QB Rod Coleman 6-2 185 4.4 Camden-Fairview
14 QB Brice Beck 6-3 225 4.8 Blytheville
15 FS Matt Taylor 6-3 205 4.6 Springdale
16 OL Drew Gardner 6-5 320 5.3 Hoxie
17 C Walter Archie 6-1 305 5.5 Texarkana
18 WR Stewart Franks 6-2 190 4.5 LR Central
19 ATH Marcus Brown 6-1 185 4.3 Marianna
20 CB Ricardo Kemp 5-11 175 4.5 Warren
21 ATH Evan Van Dolah 6-2 225 4.5 Mountain Home
22 ATH Robert Mingo 6-2 180 4.5 Dumas
23 RB Mickey Dean 5-10 200 4.5 LR Central
24 DE Wes Patton 6-6 260 4.9 Centerpoint
25 DL Brandon Bradford 6-0 250 5.2 Malvern
26 LB Jared Dorn 6-2 220 4.8 Pine Bluff
27 ATH Daryl Adams 6-0 185 4.6 Warren
28 WR Chris Smith 6-1 175 4.4 Blytheville
29 LB Mark Bonner 6-1 190 4.6 Fayetteville
30 WR Brandon Payne 6-2 180 4.5 El Dorado

* Information for this list which ranks the top college prospects, not the top high school players, was compiled from various sources throughout the state and will be updated each month. Listed positions are not necessarily the position the prospect plays in high school, but rather what they're projected to play in college.

The final votes were made by Morning News correspondent Brett Bradley, Hawgs Illustrated's Dudley Dawson and Red Zone Recruiting's Pat Jenkins.

Send prospect highlight tapes for consideration to The Morning News, c/o Brett Bradley, 203 North College Ave., Fayetteville, AR, 72701. Questions or comments about the Top 30 Arkansans may be e-mailed to: redzonerecruiting@yahoo.com.

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