Hogs Look To Fill Needs With Recruiting Class

FAYETTEVILLE -- National Signing Day is three days away. That's more than enough time for some recruits to have a change of heart and start second-guessing their decisions about what schools to play for.

But barring any late surprises, Arkansas has put together a recruiting class that is considered to be solid, one that lacks a lot of big-name talent but fills some of the team's biggest holes.

Granted, Arkansas' coaches are holding out hope that they can pick up a few more top recruits by Wednesday. But for the most part, the bulk of their 2007 recruiting class has been finalized.

"From top to bottom, it's a pretty good group," national recruiting expert Jamie Newburg said earlier this week of Arkansas' 25 commitments.

Newburg had Arkansas' recruiting class ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference, but that's not as bad as it might seem considering that he had an astounding eight SEC schools ranked in his national top 30. The Razorbacks were just below at No. 33.

"That ain't bad," Newburg said.

A year ago, Arkansas' coaches put together a recruiting class that got fans excited about the future.

After all, the Razorbacks landed perhaps the most decorated recruit in school history, former Springdale High quarterback Mitch Mustain, as well as three of his top targets -- wide receivers Damian Williams and Andrew Norman and tight end Ben Cleveland.

But this year's group doesn't look as flashy on paper.

The strength of Arkansas' recruiting class is along the offensive and defensive lines. Those were two areas the coaches needed to address after losing three starters on the offensive line and another two starters on the defensive line.

The Razorbacks also picked up a pair of Texas quarterbacks in Joe Chaisson (Beaumont West Brook High) and Nathan Dick (Allen), the younger brother of Arkansas starter Casey Dick. The hope is that the two prospects can help make up for losing Mustain, who asked for a release from his scholarship late last month, but remained enrolled at the UA as a student.

But it's looking as if the Razorbacks might miss out on three of the state's biggest recruits -- Fort Smith Northside quarterback Kodi Burns, Pulaski Academy running back Broderick Green and Rogers offensive tackle Lee Ziemba.

Burns and Ziemba have committed to Auburn, and Green looks to be heading to the University of Southern California.

"Coming off winning the (SEC) West, you would think that (Arkansas) would have done better instate with the big-name guys like Broderick Green, Lee Ziemba and Kodi Burns," Newburg said.

"It's shocking that they're going to go 0-for-3 there, or at least it looks that way right now. ... But they still put together a pretty good group."

The Razorbacks have picked up 25 commitments, and that number could grow by the time Arkansas coach Houston Nutt introduces his latest recruiting class at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Osceola High wide receiver Cam Baker, the younger brother of current Arkansas wide receiver Chris Baker, took an official visit to Fayetteville this past week. He's expected to announce his decision on National Signing Day.

Meanwhile, there are a few more names on Arkansas' wish list, including cornerback William Cole (Cedar Hill, Texas) -- a four-star recruit who's expected to announce his decision tonight on television. Along with Arkansas, Cole is considering Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, among others.

But as far as star power is concerned, this year's recruiting class isn't as well-known as the one from a year ago that featured four of the infamous Springdale Five, as well as flashy wide receiver London Crawford.

"As far as the top-end guys go, I don't think (Arkansas' class) is what it was last year. But one or two guys isn't going to make or break a class," Newburg said. "It's a class, top to bottom, (that's) filling needs."



UA COMMITMENTS 2007

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. 40 Time School

Damario Ambros DE 6-5 250 4.7 Mobile (Ala.) Davidson

Brandon Barnett RB 5-9 190 4.4 Butler County (Kan.) CC

Jake Bequette TE-DE 6-5 240 na LR Catholic

Freddy Burton LB 6-3 185 na Morrilton

Adrian Campbell DL 6-5 255 4.8 Richardson (Texas) Berkner

Joe Chaisson QB 6-2 170 4.6 Beaumont (Texas) West Brook

Grant Cook OL 6-6 305 na Jonesboro

Tim Dial LB 6-3 210 4.4 Jenks, Okla.

Nathan Dick QB 6-4 205 na Allen, Texas

Jerry Franklin S 6-3 210 4.5 Marion

Juwan Franklin RB 6-0 185 4.3 Dunnellon, Fla.

Grant Freeman TE 6-7 250 4.8 Paris

Wade Grayson OL 6-5 255 5.1 Harrison

Bret Harris FS 6-0 200 na Irving (Texas) MacArthur

Michael Harris RB 5-10 190 4.4 Tulsa Washington

Patrick Jones DT 6-2 290 4.78 Lovejoy, Ga.

Brandon Lampkin DL 6-4 240 4.75 Tucker, Ga.

Jermaine Love LB 5-11 225 4.46 Garland (North), Texas

Walner Leandre FS 6-1 220 4.44 Blinn (Texas) Junior College

Isaac Madison CB 5-11 185 na Dallas Carter

Seth Oxner OL 6-4 285 Monticello

Rhett Richardson DS 6-2 215 4.7 Rockwall, Texas

Alex Tejada PK 5-10 170 na Springdale High

Crosby Tuck WR 6-1 180 4.49 Shiloh

David Williams TE 6-4 245 4.63 Central Ark. Christian


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