Is there help on the way?
Well, that's certainly the goal as a clearly rebuilding University of Arkansas football team will be looking to add some immediate contributors at mid-term and on national signing date in February.
"That's the philosophy that you go into every year with as far as recruiting," UA recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn said. "To find some guys that can get on the field and make your team better right away. That could be by starting and changing the face of the team or by adding depth. This year is no different."
It doesn't take an expert to see the Razorbacks, who lost five starting underclassmen to the NFL or bad decisions, could use some help right away next season at a few spots on both sides of the ball.
"We definitely are looking for a couple of linebackers, a pass rusher, a couple of backs and some linemen," Vaughn said. "You have a few need positions obviously, but you also want to get the best players out there to round things out."
Although numerically there are not 23 initial grants available to get under the current UA total roster number of 83, don't be surprised if it inches that way from a current projection of 19 or 20 before it's over.
"That's the maximum amount of initial grants we can hand out," Vaughn said. "Whether we get to that point depends on a lot of factors, but you certainly recruit with the idea to get as many as you can in."
One of the biggest needs will be linebacker where you can expect the Razorbacks to try to sign at least one and maybe a pair of junior college linebackers to add to one or two prep ones.
"That's a position that you would love to get one or two older guys who can come in and play right away as well as some young ones that can get it done," said Vaughn, who just happens to double as the UA linebackers coach. "It's like the quarterback on offense. You can never have enough good ones. It is a position where a lot of plays are made and it is one of the most important spots on that side of the ball."
The Razorbacks already have one commitment at that spot in Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy linebacker Freddie Fairchild (6-3, 205), the former Little Rock Central star who signed with the Razorbacks last season and has already committed to do so again.
A few of the junior college linebackers that Arkansas is involved with are Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College's mid-term grad Dontrell Moore (6-2, 215), Hutchinson (Kan.) CC's David Dixon (6-2, 235) - a preseason first team JC All-American - and Itawamba CC's Jeremy Lyons (6-2, 235), Dodge City (Kan.) CC's Nate Harris (6-2, 227) and Steve Octavian (6-1, 230) of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Ill.
There are also several top high school linebackers in the mix with Bearden's Ben Owens (6-2, 210) and Little Rock Central's injured Antwain Robinson (6-1, 235), Tulsa (Okla.) East Central's Popsey Floyd (6-0, 220) and Houston Yates' Tyrell Graham (6-4, 205).
"We're going to go get us some playmakers," Vaughn said. "That's definitely the plan."
Dudley Dawson is a staff writer for Hawgs Illustrated. His column appears every Tuesday. Email: Dedsports@aol.com
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