Sack Artists

In his weekly column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how Arkansas is cleary trying to land some defenders who can get to the quarterback.<br><br> This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website. Click on a banner to find out the details.<br><br>

There is very little doubt that the University of Arkansas is looking for a few good sack artists, the guy that like to introduce themselves to the quarterback over and over and over.

They've already got one committed in Allen (Texas) High standout Marcus Shavers (6-4, 255), who will be in the nationally U.S. Army All-American Game on Jan. 15.

The Razorbacks are also the leader in the clubhouse for Norcross (Ga.) Meadowcreek defensive end Antonio Forbes (6-4, 260, 4.6), who got a home visit last week from Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and offensive line coach Mike Markuson.

"The fact that they sent so many coaches to see me was very impressive, especially because the head coach showed up," Forbes said late Monday afternoon. "Sometimes you get a special teams coach from some of these teams. But the fact that Coach Nutt was here makes me feel very, very wanted."

Forbes had 136 tackles, 13 sacks and 10 forced fumbles this season while playing for former Arkansas assistant coach George Pugh.

He visited Arkansas officially on Dec. 3-5 and also has visits set for Alabama (Jan. 7-9) and Louisville (Jan. 14-16) but is unsure if he will take the other two.

"Arkansas was the first team to get on me during the summer and they have been my leader all along," Forbes said. "They remain my leader."

o o o Another such guy is Hawaiian-born Soli Lefiti (6-5, 255, 4.8), who just finished up a season in which he recorded 11 sacks for Palomar Junior College in Vista, Calif., and someone who is one of 25 or so recruits expected in Jan. 21-23.

Lefiti give a soft verbal to Wyoming over the weekend, but said late Monday night he is still visiting Arkansas and will switch to the Razorbacks if they offer him a scholarship - which they have not done yet.

"Arkansas is where I really want to go, but they have not offered me a scholarship yet and I want to save my spot with these guys in case they do," Lefiti said. "I think Arkansas is going to offer me, but I've got to protect myself. Hopefully it will all work out with Arkansas. It's not like I signed with Wyoming."

The Razorbacks have been recruiting him for about a month with assistant coach Roy Wittke leading the way.

"That's when they first got in touch with me and they've let me know they are looking for someone like me who can get to the quarterback and can come in right away and play," Lefiti said. "My pass rush is my biggest thing."

Lefiti, who was born in Oahu, has already taken a visit to Wyoming and also has a scholarship offer from San Diego State.

"The visit to Wyoming was okay, I guess," Lefiti said. "It was just all right. Nothing special. But I suspect I will see more what I am looking for in Arkansas. I don't know a lot about them, but I know enough to know the college is in Fayetteville and they play in the SEC and they play big-time football."

o o o

Mesquite (Texas) Horn's Cordero Moore is another defensive end that was scheduled to visit Arkansas on Jan. 21-23, one of his four visits he had planned to make before before making a decision.

He said he planned to still visit, but then Moore (6-4, 255, 4.6) - who had 16 sacks among his 70 tackles this season - visited Oklahoma last weekend and committed to the Sooners on Monday.

"I took a visit to Oklahoma and thought it was great," said Moore, whose defensive line coach is former Razorback Issac Davis. "The facilities were great, the players were cool and it was a nice school."

o o o

West Monroe (La.) defensive end Matt Slocum (6-4, 250, 4.6) did not take a scheduled visit to South Carolina this past weekend, but does have visits set to Tulane (Jan. 7-9), Louisiana Tech (Jan. 14-16) and Arkansas (Jan. 21-23).

Despite missing three games due to an injury, Slocum had 5 1/2 sacks and 70 tackles for a team that lost the state title game to Evangel when it failed on a two-point conversion with seconds left.

"The best thing I have is quickness off the ball and I know Arkansas is interested in getting somebody who can get to the quarterback," Slocum said. "I am very interested in Arkansas. It's a nice place and I love their coaches."

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