Hogs Hope Seven Is Lucky

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas football coaches are expected to host seven prospective student athletes for official visits, beginning today.

Among the visitors are Texarkana running back Brandon Barnett (5-foot-9, 185 pounds), Norcross (Ga.) Meadow Creek defensive end Antonio Forbes (6-4, 265), Houston (Texas) Spring Woods athlete Catron Houston (6-0, 185), Itawamba Community College linebacker Jerome Lyons (6-2, 218), Mesquite (Texas) Horn tight end/defensive end Cordero Moore (6-2, 245), New Orleans (La.) L.B. Landry linebacker Rob Russell (6-0, 215) and St. Francis, Wis., offensive lineman Jose Valdez (6-6, 308).

The visits will wrap up Sunday with a meeting with Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.

TEXAS ATHLETE OPEN MINDED
Houston, a receiver/running back/defensive back, will arrive in Fayetteville today to begin his third official visit.

Houston has already visited Arizona State (Nov. 13) and Texas Tech last weekend and was impressed with both schools.

"They both went well, but Texas Tech stood out a little more, because they throw the ball more than most schools," Houston said. "It's been a great learning experience for me so far. Most schools are recruiting me to play receiver, which is fine with me.

"I'm going to visit Kansas State (Dec. 10) and I may take my last visit or just take some time and decide which school fits me the best."

Houston has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Arizona State, Kansas State, SMU, Texas Tech and Tulane.

"All those are good schools, but I'm interested in visiting Arkansas and Kansas State and see how they all compare," Houston said. "I'm just looking for somewhere to fit in. Arkansas has such a rich tradition. I know that if I choose Arkansas then I'll have the chance to play early and receive a good education.

"But what impresses me the most about Arkansas is they don't have any professional teams, so that means that all eyes are on you."

For the season, Houston had 90 rushes for 934 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also hauled in 31 receptions for 621 yards and 9 touchdowns and was named the District 18-5A Most Valuable Player.

Houston runs the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds and is in line to fully qualify academically with a 2.7 GPA and 860 on his SAT.

GEORGIA PROSPECT HAS ARKANSAS TIES
Forbes, one of the top defensive end prospects in the South, said he has heard enough about Arkansas to write a small book which isn't surprising considering former Hogs assistant George Pugh is his high school coach.

"I'm elated about the opportunity to take my first official visit to Arkansas," Forbes said. "Coach Pugh has told me so much about the program and school. He told me how great the fans, coaches and academic support staff care about their athletes."

Forbes has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Alabama, East Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, among others.

"Arkansas is the only official visit that I've set so far," Forbes said.

Forbes bench presses 315 pounds and squats 420. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds.

This season, Forbes recorded 131 tackles and 12 sacks which earned him the Gwinnett County Defensive Player of the Year award.

"It was nice to get selected, but I still have to continue to work and get ready for college football," Forbes said.

"Most schools are recruiting me as a defensive end, but some schools are telling me that I could play multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball," Forbes said. "My motor is always running, you won't catch me taking any plays off. I take pride in playing with a high level of intensity and I have a lot of athletic ability."

Forbes isn't naming a clear favorite just yet, but that could change depending on this weekend.

"If I choose Arkansas, I hope the fans have my back and support me, because they're definitely getting a playmaker," Forbes said.

BRETT BRADLEY COVERS RECRUITING FOR THE MORNING NEWS. HIS COLUMNS APPEAR ON FRIDAYS.

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