Big Night

Arkansas' 2006 recruiting class could be bolstered by the addition of two defenders Wednesday night as both North Little Rock linebacker Van Stumon (6-3, 230) and Bainbridge (Ga.) defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard (6-3, 260) announce their decisions.

Both North Little Rock standout linebacker prospect Van Stumon and Banbridge (Ga.) defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard will announce their college choices Wednesday in what could be a banner recruiting night for the University of Arkansas.

While Sheppard (6-3, 260) has certainly made it no secret that he plans to tell Razorback assistant coach Chris Vaughn he's headed to the UA during a home visit tonight, Stumon is keeping an element of surprise on whether he will be commit number nine in the UA's 2006 class.

Stumon (6-3, 230, 4.6) will publicly announce his choice between Arkansas and Purdue around 9:45 p.m. during the sportscast of Little Rock television station Fox 16 - just hours after having a home visit from Razorback head coach Houston Nutt and assistant Danny Nutt.

"They (Fox 16) just called and asked me if I wanted to make my decision on TV and I thought that sounded like fun," Stumon said. "It's also a way to get it out so everybody will know and there won't be any questions about it."

Stumon, certainly the most-talked about player in the state who did not wear a Springdale uniform this season, sit down with his family - father Melvin, mom Carla and little sisters Melira (10) and Myra (6) on Tuesday night to discuss the matter.

"We sit down as a group and went over the pros and cons of both schools and then we each had a vote - all five of us," Stumon said. "We all agreed."

Stumon had over 80 tackles while playing defensive end for North Little Rock this season in addition to running back on offense.

In college, both of the schools are planning on planting him smack dab in the middle of the defense.

"Both of them are looking at me at middle linebacker," Stumon said. "It will be a transition for me in that I am used to coming off the end and now will be there in the middle and covering more ground. There will be more things to react to and more responsibilities, but I am looking forward to it."

Stumon says he has tired of the recruiting process and that's why he chose to only take the two official visits to Arkansas and Purdue.

"The pressure and calls just picked up even more after the season, but I knew that was the two schools I was most interested in so they were the only ones to go take a look at," Stumon said. "It's been a little stressful and I'm ready to announce this decision and get things back to normal a little bit."

Speaking of rumors, Stumon said he had heard about the speculation on message boards that Purdue might no longer be offering a scholarship to fellow North Little Rock defensive end Jonathon Nixon.

"I'm ot really sure about that whole story and situation now," Stumon said, "so I'll just leave it alone."

He admits to reading articles about himself and listening to what people have said about him on the radio and wondering where some of that was coming from - like a reported soft verbal to Purdue.

"I'd talk to people and then read things or hear things and know that's either not what I said or not what I meant and my words were mixed up," Stumon said. "But that's just part of the deal I guess. Soon everybody will now what I am thinking and where I am going to be for sure."

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