Crossland Staying Firm On Verbal Pledge

FAYETTEVILLE -- Russellville High offensive lineman Joey Crossland gave a verbal pledge to the Arkansas coaches last summer, but that still hasn't stopped schools from continuing to recruit him.

"It's great to have so many schools still showing interest in me, but I'm totally committed to Arkansas," Crossland said.

"My mom has been telling the other coaches we appreciate their interest and time."

Crossland is still receiving calls from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Nebraska.

"Those are the main ones still calling me and trying to talk me into at least taking a visit," Crossland said.

"It would just be a waste of my time and their time, so I'm not going to take any of them. The only official visit I'm planning is to Arkansas."

Crossland (6-foot-6, 305 pounds) is ranked as the No.8 in-state college prospect by The Morning News.

"It's an honor to be ranked as one of the Top 10 prospects in-state," Crossland said.

Crossland has plans to attend the Arkansas-Ole Miss game tomorrow unofficially.

"I'm coming up to Fayetteville to attend the game, it's going to be my new home away from home," Crossland said.

"I really just wanted to stay home and play in front of my family and friends. Arkansas is struggling right now, but they have such a young team, playing that many underclassmen is only going to make us that much tougher in the next few years."

Russellville head coach Jeff Holt decided to switch Crossland over from defensive tackle to offensive tackle last spring.

"He's such an intelligent young man it wasn't that hard of an adjustment for him," Holt said.

"He's going to play on the offensive line in college, so the move is only going to benefit him in the end."

"It was tough at first, but I think I've made a nice adjustment," Crossland said.

"I've got all the basic techniques down, I'm not hesitating on my assignments anymore. I'm averaging around 5 pancake blocks a game."

Crossland ran the 40-yard dash in 5.17 seconds last summer at the Houston Nutt football camp.

"I'm going to continue to work hard in the weight room and try to knock a few more tenths off my 40 time," Crossland said.

GRID NOTES
Pulaski Oak Grove running back/safety Darren McFadden received four first-place votes to remain in the top spot in The Morning News Top 30. U.S. Army All-American receiver Slick Shelley previously held the top spot and is now No. 2. McFadden is still being considered as a possible candidate to also play in the U.S. Army All-American game.

Little Rock Central safety Kevin Thornton remains in the No.3 spot followed by Arkansas commitment defensive tackle Cord Gray No.4 and linebacker Ben Owens Jr. of

Bearden rounding out the Top 5.

Texarkana running back Brandon Barnett comes in at No.6 followed by North Little Rock athlete Jamar Love No.7 and Arkansas commitment offensive lineman Joey Crossland at No.8, he's followed by Little Rock Central defensive end Antwain Robinson at No.9 and Little Rock Mills safety Elston Forte holds down the No.10 spot this month.

LOCAL NOTES
Fayetteville High junior wide-receiver Eric Shaffer received an invatation last week to attend the U.S. Army Junior All-American combine that runs in conjuction with the U.S. Army All-American game.

"It's an honor for me to be nominated to attend, I've got plans to go," Shaffer said.

"Hopefully, I'll get the chance to represent my school and state next year in the game."

Shaffer is already drawing interest from Alabama, Arkansas, Duke, LSU, Michigan and SMU to name a few.

BRETT BRADLEY COVERS RECRUITING FOR THE MORNING NEWS. HIS COLUMN RUNS EACH FRIDAYS.

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