Houston Yates linebacker Tyrell Graham had a plan on how he was going to announce to the public that he was going to sign with the University of Arkansas.
Although he had already privately informed the Razorback coaches and some recruiting writers, Graham (6-4, 210, 4.6) was planning on letting everybody else know after he took his official visit to Fayetteville on Jan. 21-23.
But his mom Phyllis got so excited about his choice, she wrote about it on an internet message board.
"Mom's already given it away so we might as well let everybody else know," Graham said while laughing early Monday afternoon. "Hey, I'm happy I am going to be a Razorback and now everybody will know how pumped I am about that. I love everything about Arkansas."
The standout linebacker becomes the 15th player tin the 2005 class to pledge to become a Razorback - including quarterback Cole Barthel, the former Atlanta Braves minor league baseball player who will be here for the start of classes on Jan. 17th.
Graham visited Kansas State in early December, but Arkansas leaped to the top of his list after new Razorback defensive coordinator Reggie Herring and UA recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn came for his home visit later that month.
"Coach Herring and Coach Vaughn just blew me away with their presentation," Graham said. "I got so excited I wanted to suit up right then."
Herring watched film of Graham, who the Razorbacks we e already on before the new coach arrived, and made him a priority for the position he coaches.
"He told me he thought I could be a great one, maybe even a Butkas Award winner one day and could be a big part of turning Arkansas' defense around like he did with the (North Carolina State) Wolf Pack when he made them the number one defense in the country," Graham said. "He told me he liked my size, my speed and the way I found the ball and got to him and did something with the guy once I got there."
One other thing clearly got the attention of Graham, an outside linebacker prospect who also was being recruited by Oklahoma State and Houston.
"He looked me in the eyes and told me straight out "I will not let you fail in the classroom or on the field," Graham said. "Some coaches will tell you anything they think you want to hear, but I could look at man and tell he was being honest with me."
Graham, who has family in Louisiana and made 80 tackles as a junior despite playing with a broken wrist, has been to Fayetteville once before.
"It was about four years ago when we were driving from Minnesota to Louisiana and we made sure to go through Fayetteville," Graham said. "We went by the stadium and I thought one day I might like to play there."
That was when the renovations to the stadium had begun, ones that added 20,000 seats and made it as good as their is in the country.
"They have great facilities and I'm especially excited about the new weight room," Graham said. "If I get in there and get stronger than I think I can be an absolute animal. I can cover sideline to sideline with my speed and just need to get a little stronger to fight off those blocks."
No doubt an earlier quote Graham made about the University of Texas made him a favorite right away in Arkansas.
"I just hate all that orange and all those people around here talking about them," Graham added. "I know the people in Arkansas hate them, too. All I have got to say is that Arkansas has beaten them three of the last four times they played and it would have been four of four if (Arkansas quarterback) Matt Jones hadn't fumbled late in the game."
Graham will be coming to Arkansas with the intent to play right away.
"They told me to come and get ready from day one and if I worked hard enough I would have a chance to get out there next year and make a difference," Graham said. "That is what I want to do."
Graham's On Board
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