Hewitt, Powers commit to Arkansas

Arkansas runs its total of commitments to 23 with the Sunday morning commitments of Alfred State (NY) Community College free safety Matt Hewitt (6-3, 205, 4.6) and Tanner (Ala.) High linebacker-running back Ryan Powers (6-1, 200, 4.4).

Matt Hewitt's head has been spinning a little bit since December, when the Alfred State (N.Y.) Community College free safety standout expected to sign with either Purdue or Illinois as a mid-term juco transfer.

When it turned out Hewitt didn't have all the credits he needed to transfer, both of those schools dropped off of him.

For a couple of weeks or so, he appeared headed to a 1-AA school such as Rhode Island, Youngstown State or Southeastern Missouri State where a Purdue assistant had become head coach.

But then his coach heard of Arkansas looking for a free safety and the Razorbacks popped up on the radar along with Cincinnati and SMU.

It didn't take long for him decide which visit to take after Razorback assistant Alex Wood showed up in New York.

It also didn't take long to decide to commit to Arkansas, something he did on Sunday along with Tanner (Ala.) linebacker/running back Ryan Powers (6-1, 200, 4.4).

"I have committed to Arkansas and I truly feel blessed," Hewitt said. "For a while there I thought things were truly falling apart completely for me, but I can't imagine how it could end up any better for me. I am going to reward the coaches and Arkansas' fans for this opportunity they have given me."

It's not as if Hewitt hasn't proven himself on the field by being the leading the Northeast Football Conference in average of tackles per game as both a freshman and sophomore at Alfred State and entering this past season as a preseason All-American.

Hewitt, originally from Inglewood, N.J., had 103 tackles as a freshman and 87 as a sophomore (that's over 10 a game each season) while combining for seven interceptions in the those two seasons.

"I think my height gives me an advantage back in the secondary and I also have good hands, which you don't see sometimes with a lot of D-backs," Hewitt said. "I think I also hit well, but feel the best about my coverage skills."

Hewitt was actually a quarterback in high school, but was allowed to play free safety in the last game of his senior season.

"I had 15 tackles and I light came on and I thought this is the side of the ball I need to be on," Hewitt said. "Because I was big and fast they had been trying to make me an offensive player all my life, but in that one game I knew I had more of a defensive mentality."

Because his SAT score was where it needed to me, he went the juco route and Alfred State gave him the opportunity on the defensive side of the ball.

"They got a look at my tape playing defense and liked what they saw," Hewitt said. "It's been a great experience for me at Alfred State and I am so much more ready to play in the SEC now."

Hewitt says new Arkansas quarterbacks coach Alex Wood was a big factor as well.

"When he made the trip all way up to New York to see me while the others were just calling, it told me a lot about how much they thought of me," Hewitt said. "They watched tape on me and he said the Arkansas coaches were very excited about how they had a chance to get me and couldn't believe there was still a player out there like that.

"Coach Wood is very professional, very businesslike, makes you feel comfortable, but is also very serious about what he is doing," Hewitt added. "I think he is going to be a big asset for Arkansas."

He was impressed with what he found at the University of Arkansas.

"The facilities are just wonderful as is the area," Hewitt said. "I didn't know what to expect from Arkansas, but it is a big-time program with some nice people there and fans who love their team."

Wood needs to complete an English class to be eligible at Arkansas.

"All I need to do is pass a correspondence English class and I am good to go," Hewitt said. "I am planning on getting that done and moving right down there in May."

o o o It appears there is going to be a fight at the bat rack over new University of Arkansas commit Ryan Powers (6-1, 200, 4.4), who starred at both running back and linebacker for Tanner (Ala.) High.

"The running back coach (Danny Nutt) told me he wants me to start out at running back, but the linebacker coach (Reggie Herring) said he wants me to start out at linebacker," Powers said Sunday night. "I guess they will get it figured out, but it doesn't matter to me. I just want to be a Razorback."

Powers, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and made over 80 tackles this season, chose Arkansas over offers from Southern Mississippi and Memphis and the opportunity to grayshirt at Alabama.

"It's not that Southern Mississippi isn't a good school or anything, but Arkansas is a great one with great facilities and coaches," Powers said. "I like the indoor workout field they have, that big weight room and the stadium, man that's big-time. That is a big, big difference in the two schools."

Matt Hewitt

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