Arkansas back in the mix for Walker

In his weekly column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Memphis Christian Brothers star linebacker Chris Walker (6-3, 215) who will attend the Arkansas-LSU 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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No matter what anyone tries to tell you, winning is the best thing a football program can do when it comes to helping out recruiting.

That's no different at the University of Arkansas than it is anyplace else and it's clear that 10-1 is playing well with some kids who had pushed the Razorbacks to the side before this 2006 season began to play itself out.

One of those kids is Memphis Christian Brothers linebacker Chris Walker (6-3, 220, 4.55), who has plans to be in Little Rock this Friday when SEC West Champion Arkansas hosts LSU in a 1:30 p.m. showdown at War Memorial Stadium.

"I am coming to the Arkansas' game on Friday against LSU and am talking with (UA assistant) Coach (Danny) Nutt about setting up my official visit," Walker said. "They have really had a great season."

Walker took an unofficial visit to Arkansas back in the spring, but didn't mention them when it came to his leaders for most of the season.

However, the Razorbacks push to No. 5 in the country and the SEC Championship game has them squarely back on the radar and has Arkansas replacing Florida State in a top five that has been culled down from over 25 offers.

"When I came up there for the first time Coach Houston Nutt was telling me how good they were going to be, how they had a lot of young talent and how they were going to turn the corner this season," Walker said. "It's turn out exactly like he said it was going to.

"The Razorbacks have really showed me this year what happens when you work hard and believe in yourself," Walker added. "Their defense plays with such passion and heart and that really appeals to me."

Walker has made no secret that Tennessee has been the leader throughout his process, but also that he was not going just commit and be done with it.

"I really love the atmosphere at Tennessee and I feel really comfortable in Knoxville," Walker said. "It is right to call them my leader right now. But it is not a situation where that is definitely where I am going to go. I am going to take my other visits and see if there is a better place for me than Tennessee.

He is planning visits to Tennessee (Dec. 8-10), Alabama (Jan. 12-14), LSU (Jan. 19-21) and Clemson (Jan. 26-28) and will also make an official trek to Arkansas.

"We are working on setting that up right now," Walker said. "I think it may be the second one there in December when I get up to see Arkansas again."

Walker's team finished 7-5 and lost in the semifinals to McCallie but he has been named one of the four finalists for Mr. Football in Division 2AAA.

"I feel like I had a pretty good year, but we would have liked to have won more games and made it to the finals," Walker said. "I did a good job of using my speed to go from sideline to sideline and make tackles. That's my biggest strength is finding the ball and then making plays."

He had 40 tackles this season, a low number until you factor in the knowledge that teams ran away from him. He had seven tackles for lost yardage, two sacks, six quarterback hurries, forced two fumbles and recovered two as well,

Walker also contributed as a tight end, where a couple of the schools are actually looking at him playing in college to get him on the field quicker.

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…Arkansas is expected to host a ton of recruits this weekend in Little Rock on unofficial visits. No official visits can happen with games off-campus.

Most of the Razorbacks' top prospects have been invited to attend the game and have until today to get their requests for tickets in to the UA office.

Two of the prospects who are expected to be on hand are West Monroe (La.) defensive end Luther Davis and cornerback Terry Carter.

…A host of in-state players will also be there including Texarkana junior running back Dennis Johnson.

…Arkansas will not be able to host recruits on Dec. 1-3 because it will be playing in SEC Championship game, but does have plans to host recruits Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17 while in the midst of bowl preparations.

The Razorbacks, who already have 14 commitments, will also have recruits on campus on Jan. 19-21 and could have them on two others weekends in January as needed.

…Arkansas can count two scholarships back to next year and thus can sign a pair of junior college players at mid-term if it so chooses.

The top two likely candidates in that regard are former Razorback defensive line signee Freddie Barnett (6-2, 300) and Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College standout Larry Asante (6-1, 225).

Asante, who played linebacker for the Ravens but would be a strong safety at Arkansas, has already visited Kansas State, will be at Nebraska this weekend, will come to Arkansas Dec. 8-10 and then visit Clemson before making a decision.

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