Beating a Path to Springdale

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson write about how Arkansas has now offered Springdale wideout Andrew Norman and how many coaches are pouring in to the check out the Red Bulldogs.

Andrew Norman became the fourth - and possibly not last - Springdale junior prospect that the University of Arkansas has offered a scholarship when he got a call from Razorback head coach Houston Nutt on Sunday night.

But that certainly hasn't stopped other staffs from dropping by the school as evidenced by the fact that Texas coaches - including Longhorns head coach Mack Brown - were in Springdale on Monday morning to check out the wealth of major college prospects on the Red Bulldogs' roster.

Oklahoma's coaches will be on hand today and be followed in by those of Michigan, Georgia and Miami the rest of the week after Tulsa and Texas Tech started the parade last week as an evaluation period.

"It's been pretty interesting," Springdale head coach Gus Malzahn said. "There were three Texas coaches here by 6:30 this morning and we've got a lot more coming in. Most of them are talking about coming back during spring practice."

Arkansas coaches - and the rest of the Division I programs - are in the second week of a evaluation period that allows them to be on the road four out of five weeks.

The Razorback staff will be out the rest of this week and then back in the offices next week as they begin to whittle down a database that has some 5,000 names of junior prospects at the moment, according to UA recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn.

"Certainly we won't see all 5,000 of these kids in this four-week period, but we will see a whole lot of them," Vaughn said. "This is such an important time for us to get out, actually see this kids and evaluate how they might fit in our program.

"You get out and get a feel for this kids and really start to narrow the focus of which ones you will put the time in recruiting and which ones might not be the right fit for you for whatever reason," Vaughn continued. "It really is a great time for gathering information."

Certainly the Springdale kids have continued to gather offers with quarterback Mitch Mustain numbering 23, wideout Damian Williams 21 and offensive lineman Bartley Webb 14 at last report.

The numbers have also started to grow for Norman (6-2, 170, 4.55), who now has offers from Arkansas, Louisville and Kansas after a junior season in which he caught 44 passes for 535 yards and 5 touchdowns.

He had been expecting a Razorback offer might come his way, but wasn't sure about the timetable.

"I thought they were going to, but didn't know whether it might be this summer or during the season," Norman said. "He (Nutt) said he thought I was a very good receiver and liked the way I caught the ball. I was happy about it."

Norman is also garnering interest from Texas, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Kansas State and Tulsa.

"He is extremely athletic and really judges the ball in the air well," Malzahn said. "He's as good as I have ever seen at that. He also is a very good route runner and I am not surprised at all that he is getting the offers."

Springdale tight end Ben Cleveland also numbers three offers now with Colorado State joining Tulsa and Arkansas State in putting down offers.

All of these young men will no doubt be watched very closely when spring practice opens at Springdale on May 16.

It is a precursor to a season that will start Sept. 2 on the road against Shreveport Evangel and one in which they will be the heavy favorite to win the Class AAAAA state title after losing in the semifinals in 2004.

"I think we are all anxious to get to it," Malzahn said. "We are expecting a great season."


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