Heroic Hornet

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Tulsa Washington tailback Michael Harris (5-9, 190, 4.4), who will be one of the top prospects on the Arkansas campus this weekend. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website. Click on a banner for details.

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The University of Arkansas, in addition to hosting ESPN's College GameDay TV and raido shows, will be entertaining an outstanding group of talented recruits this weekend.

But only one of them is about to bust over 2,000 yards rushing for the season and 5,000 for his career.

That would be Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington tailback Michael Harris (5-9, 190, 4.4) , who rushed 19 times for 410 yards and seven touchdowns in a game against Sand Springs this season and has gone over 300 in two more contests.

"I am coming over to the Arkansas-Tennessee game this weekend on an unofficial visit and I am really looking forward to it," Harris said. "It's going to be a big-time atmosphere with GameDay and all over there. I came to a couple of games last season, but no this is going to be a whole different level of things."

Harris took over as the star rusher at Washington for his good friend and currrent Razorback star Felix Jones, who is putting the hard sell on him to come to Arkansas.

"I just got off the phone with him," Harris said Sunday afternoon. "He's telling me how great it would be if I came over and played there at the same time he's there. I think he is just doing excellent over there just like Arkansas' team is doing."

Harris, who is being courted by Razorback offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, has offers from Arkansas and Texas Tech.

"Right now I would say Arkansas has the advantage with me," Harris said. "I just really like the way they run the football."

The SEC West-leading Razorbacks (8-1, 5-0) will be hosting three Texas prep prospects and an Alabama one on official visits and a bevy of 2007 recruits on unofficials such as Harris and Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba (6-7, 305).

Ziemba had previously planned to go with Fort Smith Northside quarterback Kodi Burns to Auburn this weekend for official visits and while Burns is still going, Zimeba changed those plans due his state playoff game on Friday (against Conway, 7:30 p.m. at Gates Stadium) and the Tigers' game with Georgia getting moved to an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.

"This weekend I would like to go to the Tennessee-Arkansas game because I think that is going to real cool," Ziemba said. "All my friends are calling wanting to go with me. They all want me to take them and hang out with the GameDay stuff and all that. That should be a lot of fun."

The three Texas players slated for official visits are North Garland linebacker Jermaine Love (5-11, 225, 4.46), the Irving MacArthur duo of wide receiver Ron Brooks (6-0, 170, 4.4) and safety Bret Harris (5-11, 180, 4.5) while Silas (Ala.) Southern Choctaw linebacker Terrell Johnson (6-0, 200) will also be on an official trek.

All sounded excited when contacted Sunday night and told GameDay would be in Fayetteville on Saturday.

"We are going to use it immensely for recruiting," UA coach Houston Nutt said. "It's going to be fun. The world is going to be able to see our facilities, the passion of our Razorback fans, our stadium. Having (Lee) Corso and (Kirk) Herbstreit here, it's going to be exciting. We have to make sure that we concentrate with what's happening."

Harris will make the trip over after he leads his Hornets (9-1) against visiting Enid (6-4) in a first-round state playoff game.

"He's a great running back," Washington coach Antwain Jimmerson told the Tulsa World. "People don't realize how big he is at 5-9, 190. You aren't going to bring him down with a arm tackle."

Jones had 2,538 yards and 48 touchdowns his senior season for Washington.

"Felix Jones was probably a little more athletic because he played basketball and ran track," Jimmerson told the newspaper. "And he's a little more shifty. But Michael is physically stronger."

Harris has been held under 100 yards only twice this season and that was because Washington won handily and he saw limited action.

His most important performance may have been 38 carries for 265 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-37 win over Jenks earlier this season.

It has been a phenomenal year for Harris, who has rushed for 1,984 yards and 31 touchdowns this season and is Washington's all-time career-leading rusher with 4,945 yards.

He's also scored three other touchdowns by taking back two punt returns and taking a pass in.

"I would say that the work I put in during the offseason was a factor, but the biggest factor has been how great our offensive line has played," Harris said. "My strength is my vision and once they blow open the holes and I get in the secondary I just do my thing."


•  Springdale Har-Ber shooting guard Nate Rakestraw (6-5, 212) will sign with the Razorback basketball program in a 3:30 p.m. ceremony at his school. As of this moment, he is the only one that will for sure sign with Arkansas on Wednesday.

Jeff Brooks, a 6-8, 200-pound small forward from Louisville (Kent.) Doss is still trying to decide between signing early with Arkansas or Penn State or possibly waiting until the spring.

* Junction City star James Anderson (6-6, 190) will sign with Oklahoma State or Kansas on Wednesday per his coach Joe Paul Hammett.

Michael Harris

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