The University of Arkansas football program got a big one on Thursday - literally and figuratively.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M defensive end Chris Wade (6-6, 255, 4.6) - a player expected to make a big impact on the Razorbacks' defense next season - officially committed to Arkansas on Thursday afternoon.
Wade did so when UA defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and Razorback assistant Bobby Allen - who spearheaded the recruiting effort of the former Broken Arrow (Okla.) High star and who signed with Missouri his first time around - came over to see him.
"It was Arkansas at the start and Arkansas at the end, Arkansas all the time," said Wade, who put on 35 pounds of muscle since arriving at NE0. "I can't wait to get over there."
Obviously the trio of Razorback coaches expressed their happiness about him becoming the Razorbacks' 20th verbal pledge of the 2006 recruiting class.
"They were all very happy about it, just like me," Wade said. "Tell them (the Arkansas fans) I am a Razorback."
Wade, who had 60 tackles and 5 sacks this season despite missing the final two games of a 9-3 season due to a knee injury, also visited Kansas State and Baylor and also had offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Louisville and Ole Miss.
"Man, I love the fans over there and I can't wait to play for them, play in the SEC and just get with it," Wade said.
Wade had publicly said Arkansas was a clear favorite all along, but he knows Razorback fans were worried when he headed to Kansas State last weekend.
"I know people were a little worried but I was always coming to Arkansas," Wade said. "I just wanted to take my mom (Gloria) up to Mahanttan and show her that everything was definitely better at Arkansas."
Five other NEO defensive players - four of them defensive guys - had committed to Kansas State in December and went to Manhattan to visit with new Wildcats head coach Ron Prince.
"They were all begging me to come up there and play with them, but I told them we are all big boys now and ya'll go do your thing for K-State and I am going to go do mine for Arkansas," Wade said.
He is expected to join current UA players Jamaal Anderson, Zach Snider, Antwain Robinson and Anthony Brown and possibly signee Donnell Sanders (6-2, 230) if Sanders is healthy in giving the Razorbacks' a strong defensive end corp next season.
"I am coming over there and plan on doing what it takes to earn me a starting spot and make an impact for Arkansas," Wade said.
Wade feels he has the game to make an impact right away.
"I am big, strong and fast and have a lot of desire to make plays," Wade said. "I've got to continue to work on my hand-to-hand combat inside and take that to another level, but that's what I am going to be about."
Wade makes 20
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