Down the Recruiting Stretch

Texas prep linebacker Jermaine Love - who will announce his decision Thursday - is one of the many top prospects left out there that could allow Arkansas to close its 2007 class strong. 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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Now that the 2006 season has been put to bed, it's time to move toward putting the 2007 recruiting class there as well.

The University of Arkansas football program enters the new year with 17 public commitments and is expected to add one more very quickly when Garland (Texas) North Garland linebacker Jermaine Love (5-11, 225) announces his choice during the Jan. 4 Offense-Defense All-Star game on ESPNU.

That would leave just seven spots to be filled – with some slight wiggle room - and a little over a month to finalize things with recruiting weekends set for Jan. 13-15, Jan. 19-21, Jan. 26-28 and at least one prospect on Feb. 2-4.

"We will do whatever we can to close out recruiting in great shape," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "We've had a very good start with it, but now you want to close great."

One spot is certainly there for Rogers five-star offensive lineman Lee Ziemba (6-7, 305), who is set to play in Max Emfinger's All-Star Game on Jan. 5 in Shreveport and then visit Auburn on the weekend of Jan. 12-13.

Another would also certainly go to River Ridge (La.) John Curtis five-star tailback Joe McKnight (6-1, 190), who is slated to visit Arkansas the weekend of Feb. 3 – his final of five official visits.

McKnight is in San Antonio this week for Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Game, which will be televised live by NBC at noon.

"Miami, LSU, USC, Arkansas and Ole Miss are my final five," McKnight said Sunday night. "They are all even at this point. I am visiting Ole Miss on the January 12, USC on January 19, LSU on January 26 and Arkansas on February 3. I am also going to visit Miami mid-week."

Another young man that Arkansas is extremely high on is Cedar Hill star William Cole, who just finished up leading his team to a 16-0 season and state title while rushing for a whopping 2,954 yards.

Cole, who starred as a quarterback but projects to a wideout or corner in college, is due in for an official visit to Fayetteville on Jan. 19-21 with Texas still looming as a possibility and other visits set up to Kansas and Missouri.

McKnight joins Florida prep standout Juwan Franklin (6-0, 175, 4.4), who visited Arkansas officially in December, as running backs apparently still in the picture although Franklin could also be a cornerback.

It's thought the Razorbacks will sign at least one more wideout to go along with Shiloh Christian star Crosby Tuck – be it Irving (Texas) MacArthur four-star wide receiver Ron Brooks (6-0, 170, 4.4), Tatum (Texas) four-star prospect Darnius Moore (6-0, 175, 4.4), Norman (Okla.) High's Ryan Broyles (6-0, 170, 4.4) or Texas prep star Jonathon Jones (6-4, 190).

Brooks and Broyles have already visited Arkansas while Moore is due in the weekend of January 19-21, right after he and Broyles both visit Tennessee the week before.

"I like Arkansas because I know that I could come play there early and because they had a very good record this season," Moore said Sunday night. "I think it is a good school."

It seems the Arkansas quarterback focus has narrowed to two signal callers – Beaumont West Brook's Joe Chassion (6-3, 180, 4.6) and Durham (N.C) Hillside's Michael Johnson (6-2, 205) – although it has not yet offered either.

Johnson, who threw for over 3,142 yards and ran for just over 500, has already visited Arkansas while Chaisson is due in Jan. 13-15.

Chaisson passed for 1,789 yards this season and ran for 771 while combining for 28 touchdowns.

"If I get up there and everything is like I expect it to be, I could see myself committing on the spot," Chaisson said. "Arkansas is at the top of my list now and the only visit I am going to set up at the moment."

The Razorbacks are also expecting to get a visit in January from Indianapolis Central tight end Adrien Robinson (6-5, 225).

Arkansas should haul in two more defensive lineman with Richardson Berkner's Adrian Campbell (6-6, 260) and Mobile (Ala.) Davidson's DeMario Ambrose (6-4, 240) having already visited and College Park (Ga.) North Clayton star Jeremy Elder (6-3, 280) likely to in January.

Former Razorback signee Freddie Barnett (6-2, 305) is another option if he were to get clearance by the NCAA and SEC while Blinn (Texas) Junior College defensive end Alex Cook (6-3, 225) is also still a possibility.

Love should wind up the linebacker recruiting, but there will still be two or three secondary prospects to get in the fold.

Those could come from corners that include West Monroe (La.) star Terry Carter (5-10, 170, 4.4), Broyles and Fayette-Ware (Tenn.) corner Wade Bonner (5-10, 180, 4.4) and safeties Stefoin Francois (6-0, 190, 4.5), current Alabama commit Chris Lett (6-1, 210) of Pensocola, Fla., Trinity (Texas) JC safety Nevin McKenzie (6-1, 205) and LaMarque (Texas) prospect James Thomas (6-0, 182).

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