Signal Callers

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Ryan Aber writes about Alabama prep quarterback Carson Williams, Springdale's Mitch Mustain and potential visitors next weekend.

FAYETTEVILLE -- With quarterbacks Cole Barthel and Alex Mortensen transferring away from Arkansas, the Razorbacks would likely need to look for multiple quarterback options during the recruiting "season" anyway.

Although Mortensen has apparently decided to stay in Fayetteville and play for the Razorbacks, two quarterbacks still have offers on the table from Arkansas.

One is Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain. The other, Cullman, Ala., product Carson Williams.

Williams initially seemed set to commit to Army this weekend during his visit to West Point, but Arkansas' recent scholarship offer has made him reconsider, according to his parents.

Williams, who threw for 2,185 yards and 18 touchdowns and is a top academic student, will visit Fayetteville on Jan. 20-22, the next time the Razorbacks bring recruits to campus for official visits.

Williams' high school coach, Mark Britton, told The Cullman Times that Williams' decision would not be affected by Mustain's, one way or the other.

"I've watched Mustain play," Britton told the paper. "And I really think Carson could challenge him for the starting position. Wherever Mustain goes, he will have tremendous pressure to succeed, and I've seen players with tremendous accomplishments in high school not be successful at the next level. ... Wherever Carson goes, he'll be successful."

Williams also drew Ivy League interest from Princeton and Harvard but will make his decision between Army and Arkansas.

Williams did not return calls Thursday evening.

Mustain Moves Up

Despite his poor showing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain's stock is still rising.

Mustain, who turned in a solid week of practice leading up to the game, jumped up to No. 5 overall in the ESPN 150, a ranking of the top 150 college prospects.

"It may not have come through in the game, but in our opinion, he's probably the most ready-to-play quarterback in this class," wrote Scouts Inc.'s Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert.

Mustain is the second highest-ranking recruit on the ESPN list that has yet to commit. Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, ranked No. 4 on the list, has also yet to commit.

The other players on the list on Arkansas' radar are London Crawford (No. 82), a receiver who's given a verbal commitment to LSU, Damian Williams (No. 89) and DeAntwan Whitehead (No. 131).

Mustain appeared Wednesday on the radio show Press Row with Bo Mattingly and Mike Irwin.

The quarterback said on the show he would take two official visits before the Feb. 1 signing day but still wasn't sure where they'd be --Arkansas, Notre Dame, Alabama or Tennessee.

He also confirmed that Notre Dame had told him it had a spot open for Mustain if he wanted it. The Irish have two quarterbacks already committed, but one of them, Demetrius Jones, could switch positions.

"I can not even tell you how much I would like to be able to sleep these next three weeks and just wake up on signing day," Mustain said on the show."

Mustain also said he would like to have a redshirt season to prepare to play quarterback in college.

Setting Them Up

Arkansas has begun to schedule official visits for the final two weekends before signing day.

Eleven prospects, including Ashdown wide receiver Dee Williams, will visit Jan. 20-22. Others include offensive linemen DeMarcus Love and Heath Batchelor, linebacker Brandon Thurman and safety Adrian Davis. Williams, defensive end Braylon Broughton, defensive end/linebacker Donnell Sanders, defensive lineman Wes Tunuufi Sauvau and cornerback Mister Alexander will also visit that weekend.

Linebacker Martez Smith was originally scheduled to visit, but his visit was recently moved to Jan. 27-29, where he will be joined by offensive lineman Kit Coleman of Blytheville and wide receiver Duke Calhoun of Memphis Raleigh Egypt.

Smith is a recent addition to Arkansas' list of possible recruits after his strong showing in Shreveport, La., at the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic. Smith said at the game he had spoken with Razorbacks coaches during the week but looked forward to hearing more from them after he returned home.

"Recruiting has been better for me (because of this game)," Smith said after earning East defensive player of the game honors in Shreveport.

Smith said Arkansas could move near the top of his list of prospective schools, but as of last week he hadn't talked much to Razorbacks coaches.

Batchelor originally verbally committed to Georgia Tech but recently decommitted.

More visits for these weekends are likely to be scheduled in the next several days.


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