Impact Defenders

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about some of the defensive prospects such as Chris Wade and John West that the Razorbacks will have in for official visits this weekend.

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As we saw by the end the football season, Arkansas' defense made great strides from the first game - or more accurately the third game.

Now with a couple of official recruiting weekends coming up in December, it just needs a little nip-tuck with a couple of big-time playmakers.

Guys like defensive end Chris Wade (6-foot-6, 255 pounds, 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash) of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and safety John West (6-2, 190, 4.4), both of whom will be on official visits this Friday through Sunday, could give hard-nosed Razorbacks defensive coordinator Reggie Herring a few more weapons to work with next season.

"I saw how good they began to play as a defense and think I could come over there and add to that," said Wade. "They are still at the top of my list."

Wade said on Sunday night that fellow NEO defensive end Tim Johnson (6-5, 270), an Oklahoma commit, is likely to make the visit to Fayetteville with him as well.

"We are still working on him and I think he is going to at least take the visit," Wade said.

While Wade is scheduled to be a May graduate, West is a December one who will make a decision quickly and be able to go through spring practice at his school of choice.

"I'm really looking forward to getting down there and checking things out," West said. "Arkansas is big-time football and a place I think I can fit right in at."

Those two will join around 15 or more recruits this weekend with top prep standouts like Birmingham (Ala.) Huffman defensive end DeAntwan "Peanut" Whitehead (6-6, 245) and UA offensive line commit Myron McKinney (6-3, 305) and his linebacker teammate Blaine Hainbach (6-1, 225, 4.5) of Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam North.

Three Texans are scheduled to be in, including UA commit Torian Wilkins (5-10, 185, 4.4) of Brookshire Royal, Carrollton Creekview's Jeremy Beal (6-3, 250, 4.7) and Dallas Kimball defensive end/linebacker Robert Williams (6-4, 200, 4.6).

Also expected in from Florida are the trio of Tallahassee Rickards cornerback Ryan Hill (5-11, 185, 4.5) and wide receiver Cartlton Salters (6-1, 185, 4.5) and athlete Ochuko Jenije (5-10, 177, 4.39).

There should also be a trio of Georgia prospects in linebacker LaMarcus Thompson (6-1, 203, 4.5) of Stone Mountain Redan, tight end-defensive end Terrance Campbell (6-4, 230) of Austell South Cobb and wideout Stephaun Raines (6-0, 172, 4.4) of Dalton.

There are likely to be several more prospects either added or maybe even some subtracted as the week goes along and events unfold in Fayetteville.

Although Wade has made it clear that the Razorbacks are head-and-shoulders above his other choices, he did say Sunday night that he had plans to visit Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas and either Rutgers or Baylor.

"Arkansas knows they are number one in my book, but I do think it's wise for me to take a few more visits," Wade said. "I don't think anything will compare to Arkansas."

Wade, who originally signed with Missouri out of high school before detouring to NEO, will be bringing his parents along with him this weekend.

"They came over with me to see a game, but now we are all going to get a chance to look at what the school has to offer as well as the football program," Wade said. "I think they are pretty excited about coming over this weekend just like I am."

NEO finished up a 9-3 campaign on Sunday with a 21-19 win over Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in the Dalton Defenders Bowl.

Wade missed the last three games of the season with a meniscus tear.

"I'm good," Wade said when asked about the injury. "I'll be good to go when it's time."


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