Love Is Almost In The Air

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about the Razorback grid coaches hitting the recruiting trail this week before hosting at least six prospects beginning Friday. 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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While Arkansas football coaches hit the ground running as far as recruiting, Love is almost in the air.

Love as in Garland (Texas) North Garland linebacker Jermaine Love (5-foot-11, 225 pounds, 4.6 seconds 40-yard dash), who is one of at least six football prospects — four of which are on the defensive side of the ball — slated to be on hand for official visits this weekend.

Love joins Mobile (Ala.) Davidson defensive end DeMario Ambrose (6-4, 240), Trinity Valley (Athens, Texas) CC safety Nevin McKenzie (6-2, 210) and Norman (Okla.) High cornerback/wideout Ryan Broyles (5-11, 170) as uncommitted players who have confirmed their intentions to be in Fayetteville beginning Friday.

UA commits in tailback Brandon Barnett (5-9, 190) of Butler (Kan.) CC and Paris tight end Grant Freeman (6-7, 250) and Springdale kicker Alex Tejada (5-11, 170) are also due in.

There will also be several recruits on hand the following weekend — among them Rogers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba and Tulsa Booker T.Washington tailback Michael Harris.

"This is obviously an important time for us," said Chris Vaugh, Arkansas' director of on-campus recruiting. "We feel like our program has a lot to show off right now and being able to have recruits in there while we are getting ready for the one of the best bowls out there just makes it even easier."

But first, the UA coaches, who could have up to five different recruiting weekends before the national signing date on Feb. 7, have hit the ground running this week with in-home visits during the current contact period.

"Our guys are out on the road this weekend, getting in homes, meeting moms and dads and being able to now put a face with the voice that these players and parents have been hearing on the phone for so long," Vaughn said. "This is such an important time and we feel like we have to get out there and really take advantage of it."

While Arkansas coaches, players and fans are understandably upset with losing the last two games after a 10-1 start, being rewarded with a Capital One bowl bid has re-energized everyone involved.

That includes recruits such as Love, who has made little secret that he has the Razorbacks tops on his list over Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas and Texas A&M.

"That's a big time bowl and they deserve it because they are one of the top teams in the country and they are No. 1 on my list," Love said. "The thing that got me even more excited about them while I was watching the Arkansas-Florida game the other night was not only how good the Razorback are, but how young they are. They are already pretty good and with all those young guys they are just going to get better."

Love felt bad Saturday night for Arkansas punt returner Reggie Fish, whose fumbled point that turned into a Florida touchdown was one of the Razorbacks' three momentum-changing special team miscues.

Ironically, then-sophomore Love broke Fish's arm on a tackle when the two played in high school.

"I thought Arkansas was going to win until that happened," Love said. "I know he felt bad and I hope they aren't on him to bad. We all make mistakes."

Love has already visited Nebraska and Kansas State and could possibly still visit Texas A&M and Texas Tech – but he doesn't have trips set up to either one of those places yet.

He said he could also be done with his visiting as early as this weekend.

"I'm just going to get up there and make sure its like I think it is," Love said. "If it is, I won't be taking any more visits and I could just commit right away."

McKenzie, a former San Antonio prep prospect, is a big-time recruit that has plans to visit Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and maybe Louisville.

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