A Return to Recruiting

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coaches are confident they can return to recruiting full steam next month with a positive approach, despite any interest Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt showed in LSU.

Nutt withdrew his name from consideration after talking briefly with LSU athletic director Skip Bertman this week.

Arkansas assistants fielded calls from recruits during the dead period, which ends Monday, and tried to reassure them everything was going to be OK.

"There were some (recruits) calling and asking if coach Nutt is going to be here and of course, the answer we gave them is that we're recruiting for the University of Arkansas right now," said Hogs recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn. "Now that we know that he is going to be here, it just goes to show you that this is a very special place."

Arkansas commitment Marcus Shavers was starting to hear more and more rumors about the future of Arkansas coach Nutt.

"I was starting to wonder what really was going on," Shavers said.

"It kind of scared me, I couldn't believe it. This just shows that Arkansas and coach are the real deal."

Shavers (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) had thoughts about his immediate future and things were starting to become a little blurry.

"I know that if he had chosen to go to LSU, then I probably would have waited to see who was going to replace him at Arkansas," Shavers said.

"LSU wouldn't have been in the running though, I took them off my list early because they already had so many young defensive linemen. I'm just glad that he decided to stay at Arkansas, now I don't have anything to worry about."

Shavers has spent his holiday break training for the U.S. Army All-American game scheduled for Jan. 15.

"I'm leaving for San Antonio on Jan. 9," Shavers said. "I've got a personal trainer that works me out on Monday through Thursday. I'm working on my explosion, speed and quickness.

"All the Arkansas fans are going to have the chance to see me play."

Shavers tallied 55 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 caused fumbles and 1 fumble recovery this season.

He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and bench presses 320 pounds.

"I can't wait to get to Arkansas, everyday I push myself with hopes of playing next year," Shavers said.

Little Rock Central free safety Kevin Thornton is the highest ranked in-state prospect who remains uncommitted. He watched the situation with Nutt and LSU closely from Nutt's hometown, but wasn't concerned about any of the TV and newspaper reports.

"I was thankful he removed his name from the LSU job, but I didn't think he was going anywhere," Thornton said. "It just shows everyone that he wanted to stay home."

Thornton (6-1, 195, 4.4) is scheduled to officially visit Arkansas the weekend of Jan.28. He's received interest from several top programs, but the Razorbacks own his only official visit scheduled to date.

"I'm still considering taking a official visit to Memphis," Thornton said. "There are some people that want me to, but I haven't set anything up yet though."

The Morning News ranks Thornton the No. 2 college prospect in Arkansas.


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