Norton makes it 11

Versatile Texas prep star Jerell Norton talks about his decision to become the 11th commit/signee for Arkansas in its 2006 class when changes his pledge to Arkansas on Wednesday.

New University of Arkansas commit Jerell Norton may have been a man of many positions, but he certainly knew how to do one thing extremely well.

That was find the end zone - something Norton (6-0, 180, 4.4) did a whopping 32 times while playing wideout, a little running back, three games at quarterback and even some cornerback this season for Cedar Hill (Texas) High.

Norton, who committed to the Razorbacks on Wednesday, rushed for 997 yards, passed for 572 and had another 859 in receptions during a spectacular 2005 campaign and chose Arkansas over Tulsa, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and SMU.

"I just love everything about Arkansas and feel I am truly blessed to be going there and I want to be a blessing once I get there," Norton said. "I think God has led me to this wonderful place and I feel like I can be a blessing for him while I am there the next four or five years."

Norton, who was recruited by UA head coach Houston Nutt and Razorback assistant Bobby Allen, said that he was almost sold on Arkansas even before he arrived on campus.

"Coach Allen came to my school and went straight to the counselor's office to see where I was with my academics," Norton said. "There were some of the others saying you'll be fine, we've got these courses and everything will be fine. But Coach Allen was straight with me about how they expect to have student-athletes, not just athletes. He told me the truth, what I had to do to be a part of the program and how nothing would be given to me. It showed he cared more about me as a man and not just a player like some of the other coaches."

Norton, who is on course to be eligible now, committed to Tulsa earlier in the summer, but saw his options widen after a solid start to his senior season.

He decided to visit Arkansas and TCU, but has since decided to cancel visits to Oklahoma State, SMU and Baylor.

"When I got home from Arkansas, I pretty much knew it was the place for me, but I prayed about it and made sure this was where God was leading me," Norton said. "I loved the people up there and how much they care for you, the fans and the coaches and the facilities. And I really like Coach Nutt and think he is putting together a great team for next season and I want to be part of that family."

Norton says that Nutt is wanting him as a wide receiver but that Allen is begging for him as a cornerback.

"I am excited about playing receiver, but Coach Allen thinks I have great potential as a cornerback," Norton said. "I'll just get up there and play wherever they need me. That's the kind of person I am, one who does what is best for the team, not for himself. I pride myself on that."

Norton was the district MVP while leading his team to a 7-4 mark this season, one that ended in a first-round loss to Allen.

"It was a great year for us, but we made just too many mistakes in the playoff game and you can't do that against a team like Allen," Norton said. "But I know what I am doing today is not a mistake. I am very happy I am going to be a Razorback."

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