There will not only be a lot of talent on the football field on Saturday night for the Arkansas-USC game, but a ton sitting in the stands as well.
The Razorbacks' football program is officially hosting four prospects, the basketball team hosting the state's premier basketball player in James Anderson and the two sports are combining to bring in over 30 more of the nation's best prep prospects on unofficial visits.
"When you have a game that is this hyped and this excitable, I think the atmosphere these young people are going to see Saturday is unbelievable and we want to take advantage of that," notes Chris Vaughn, the UA's director of on-campus recruiting. "It's going to be a huge, huge selling point for us so we wanted to get the best young men in here this weekend that we could."
The Arkansas grid program is officially hosting Bixby (Okla.) defensive end Jared Glover, the Harrisonville (Mo.) duo of defensive end Michael Keck and safety Steven Collins and Oklahoma City Millwood wideout Tramain Swindall.
It's been unusual for Arkansas to have this many official visitors on a game weekend under UA head coach Houston Nutt since some NCAA rule changes a couple of years ago, but the magnitude of this game as well as Monday being a holiday and there being no school for the prospect makes it a opportune time.
"A lot of guys are now coming through and seeing schools in the summer time so the next obvious thing for them to do is to see the game atmosphere," Vaughn said. "They have been here for the extensive academic meetings, have sit down and talked with the coaches, have met with Coach Nutt - all this during the summer. All that's really left for them is to see a game day atmosphere since the recruiting process has sped up so much."
The holiday really helps the situation according to Vaughn.
"They can now play Friday night, get here on Saturday morning and there is no rush where they have to leave here on Sunday by some certain time," Vaughn said. "It gives them more time to be with the coaches after the game. When it's just Sunday, you basically have a breakfast and they are hitting the road. Now we will have a breakfast, lunch and dinner and plenty of time for them to find out everything they needed."
There will also be 25 prospects on unofficial visits including the top four consensus players in Arkansas in Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba (6-7, 295), Fort Smith Northside quarterback Kodi Burns (6-2, 190), Pulaski Academy running back Broderick Green (6-1, 235) and Central Arkansas Chrisitan tight end David Williams (6-3, 245).
Also UA commitments who will be on hand are Paris tight end Grant Freeman (6-7, 250), offensive lineman Grant Cook (6-5, 305) of Jonesboro and Monticello's Seth Oxner (6-5, 295), Little Rock Catholic (defensive end Jake Bequette (6-5, 240), Jenks (Okla.) linebacker Tim Dial (6-3, 210), offfensive Wade Grayson (6-4, 260) and Shiloh Christian wideout Crosby Tuck (6-1, 185).
"We will try to get them to know our family a little bit better, touch on our academics and just let them see what we have here that we think is so special," Vaughn said. "It is a real good situation for us."
It also is a time – Sept. 1 - when UA coaches are able to contact junior prospects.
"Beginning September 1 it is a evaluation period and you can call the kids and contact them via mail," Vaughn said. "It is an ongoing process. Now, September 1 we can not only start an evaluation period, but also are able to call the seniors once a week. So we are recruiting for the 2008 class while still recruiting for the 2007 one. It is an ongoing process that never stops."
UA head basketball coach Stan Heath is also using the recruiting weekend as a big selling point with Anderson being the lone official visitor and joins the Springdale Har-Ber High duo of UA commit Nate Rakestraw and Michael Sanchez in being on campus this weekend.
The Hoop Hogs will also be hosting 2008 prospects in Fort Worth (Texas) North Crowley guard Willie Warren (6-4, 190); Gig Harbor (Wa.) forward Clarence Trent (6-9, 200), Verdigris (Ola.) guard Rotnei Clark (5-11), Little Rock Episcopal forward Brandon Moore and 6-10 Maryland prep center Maurice Sutton of Largo High in Upper Marlboro.
They'll also be one 2009 prospect in Daniel Orton, a 6-10 forward from Oklahoma City Bishop McGuinness. He is the cousin of UA assistant coach Orande Taliaferro.
UA FB Official Visits
• Jared Glover, DE-LB, 6-5, 220, Bixby, Okla.
• Steven Collins, S, 6-1, 180, 4.5, Harrisonville, Mo.
• Michael Keck, DE-LB, 6-4, 210, 4.62, Harrisonville, Mo.
• Tremain Swindell, WR, 6-2, 170, 4.4, Oklahoma City Millwood
- - -
UA FB Unofficials
• Cam Baker, WR, 5-11, 170, 4.3, Osceola
• Jake Bequette, DL, 6-5, 240, Little Rock Catholic
• Kodi Burns, QB, 6-1, 190, 4.65, Fort Smith Northside
• Freddy Burton, OLB, 6-3, 195, 4.4, Morrilton
• Adrian Campbell, DT, 6-5, 241, 4.96, Richardson (Texas) Berkner
• Grant Cook, OL, 6-5, 305, 5.1, Jonesboro
• Rudell Crim, RB, 5-11, 194, 4.38, Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards
• Tim Dial, TE-OLB, 6-3, 220, Jenks, Okla.
• Jerry Franklin, S-OLB, 6-3, 195, 4.6, Marianna
• Grant Freeman, TE, 6-7, 240, 5.1, Paris
• Wade Grayson, OL, 6-4, 260, 5.2, Harrison
• Broderick Green, RB, 6-1, 235, Pulaski Academy
• Chris Harris, WR-FS, 5-11, 184, 4.6, Bixby, Okla.
• Paul Henry, OL, 6-8, 255 5.2, Fort Smith Northside
• Darcel Johnson, RB, 5-11, 210, Marianna
• Seth Oxner, OL, 6-5, 290, Monticello
• Matt Simpson, QB, 6-3, 205, Shiloh Christian
• Alex Tejeda, K, 5-10, 170, Springdale
• Crosby Tuck, WR, 6-1, 185, 4.43, Shiloh Christian
• David Williams, TE, 6-4, 250, 4.8, Central Arkansas Christian
• Aaron Williams, RB-OLB, 4.65, North Mesquite (Texas)
• Lee Ziemba, OL, 6-6, 295, 5.1, Rogers
- - -
Junior College Prospects:
• Kevin Hubbard, DE-OLB, 6-3, 235, 4.6, Independence (Kan.) CC
• Allen Bell, CB, 6-1, 194, 4.4, Independence (Kan.) CC
- - -
• Matt Hall, OL, 6-9, 330, Dardanelle
• Cruz Williams, 6-4, 195, 4.4, Pulaski Academy
o o o
• James Anderson, 6-6, 190, Junction City
• Nate Rakestraw, 6-5, 212, Springdale Har-Ber (UA commit)
• Michael Sanchez, 6-9, 220, Springdale Har-Ber (likely reclassifying to 2008)
- - -
• Willie Warren, CG, 6-4, 190, Fort Worth North Crowley
• Clarence Trent, F, 6-9, 200, Gig Harbor, WA
• Rotnei Clark, G, 5-11, Verdigris, Okla.
• Brandon Moore, 6-8, Little Rock Episcopal
• Maurice Sutton, 6-10, C, Largo HS, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
- - -
• Daniel Orton, 6-10, F, Oklahoma City Bishop McGuinness
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