Springdale junior wideout/tight end Zack Pianalto says he remains firmly committed to defending national champion Texas.
But there's little doubt that his old high school coach is going to see what he can do about changing the prospect's mind between now and signing day next February.
Tulsa offered Pianalto (6-4, 215, 4.63) first, but when the Longhorns offered him after an unofficial visit, he jumped right on it because space the Texas scholarships were going fast.
"It's a great school and I didn't have to think about it too long," Pianalto said. "Especially since I didn't have an offer from Arkansas at the time."
The Razorback staff offered a couple of weeks ago when new Razorback offensive coordinator and former Springdale coach Gus Malzahn came to his school and inform new Springdale head coach Kevin Johnson.
"It happened about two weeks ago and I am honored that they offered," Pianalto said. "It's a privilege every time to get an offer. I wish they had offered back when Texas did. I can't really say it would have mattered, but I also can't say it wouldn't. I don't know what I would have done."
Malzahn and new UA quarterbacks coach Alex Wood - a former NFL offensive coordinator - will be in Springdale today to watch Pianalto and his teammates workout.
"I called Coach Malzahn after I got the offer and he said he knew I was very happy about my commitment to Texas, but that he was going to recruit me and wasn't going to give up on me coming to Arkansas just yet," Pianalto said.
Pianalto, who obviously has grown up a Razorback fan, doesn't try to hide the fact that he was hurt by not being offered by Arkansas before Texas.
"Coach Malzahn has told me that they had a couple of tight ends they had offered, but they went through spring practice and he and (UA head) Coach (Houston) Nutt decided they needed to offer another one," Pianalto said. "That's because of what they want to do with their offense and the kind of tight ends they have up there right now. I was hurt it didn't happen earlier, but I am at least happy they have done so now."
Since four Springdale standouts off the 2005 Class AAAAA state championship team have already signed with Arkansas - including a couple that were committed elsewhere first - it's normal that some Razorback fans are hoping Pianalto flips as well.
It doesn't seem to be bothering Texas coaches according to Pianalto, who caught 17 passes for over 400 yards and four touchdowns last season.
"I haven't spoken with them since Arkansas offered, but my dad talked to (Texas tight end) Coach (Bruce) Chambers and told him I am still solid," Pianalto said. "I don't think they are too worried about it. When I was down there, they told me they expected it to happen sooner or later so I am sure they weren't dumbfounded by it or anything."
Pianalto was pleased to hear that Arkansas and Texas have signed a contract to play in 2008 and 2009, but was surprised.
"The Texas coaches told me that they weren't going to play Arkansas any more and then all of a sudden I hear it is going to happen," Pianalto said. "I'm sure they will be great games."
The 2006 Springdale team will have quite an act to follow after the 2005 one went 14-0 and ran roughshod over everyone to the state title.
"It was an amazing year and a great thing to be a part of," Pianalto said. "I know everyone things we are not going to be as good this season, but I think we have a lot of talent coming back and great chemistry."
Springdale had six players signed Division I scholarships off of the 2005 team and Pianalto thinks this year's team will come close to that total.
"I think we will have as many as five with myself, Jamie Jones, Eric Jones, our quarterback Jeremy Paxton and our kicker Alex Tejeda," Pianalto said. "I think we are going to have a great year."
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