2008: Off and Running

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how Arkansas has at least five offers out to 2008 prospects and needs to be dishing out some more quickly to a bumper crop. 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 the University of Arkansas' 2007 recruiting class was just put to bed on Wednesday, work on the 2008 class actually began a long time ago.

It better have been because kids are making decisions quicker and quicker these days – ones like Dardanelle junior offensive lineman Matt Hall (6-10, 320), who was offered last summer and actually committed to the Razorbacks right before their season opener with USC.

He took the honor as the UA's first recruit of 2008, doing so several months earlier than current Paris senior and newly signed Razorback Grant Freeman, who committed the day after the 2006 class was put to bed.

"I'm going right after this press conference to text two more juniors after this," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said Wednesday afternoon moments after unveiling the 2007 class. "It's a year-round process now and you can't let up."

College coaches could begin sending mail to current juniors on Sept. 1 and there have already been several prospects on the University of Arkansas campus on unofficial visits for football games during the 2006 campaign.

There will be several more in the next couple of months with a small junior group brought in later this month and then a bigger Junior Day planned during spring practice.

"We have already given out several offers and we are going to be giving out several more as we go along here," noted UA assistant coach Chris Vaughn, who has served as the director of on-campus recruiting this past season. "It's all about building relationships and that is what we hoped to continued to do these next few months, getting them on our campus and getting out to see them during the evaluation time."

The University of Arkansas doesn't really need my advice, but that's not going to stop me from giving it.

It is simply get the offers out quickly. With this state producing more and more talent each season and out-of-state colleges trying to grab footholds, the home team had better be beating people to the punch these days.

There don't need to be any more Broderick Green or Zach Pianalto stories of not getting offered first.

Regardless of whether those kids would have come here if they had been offered first or not, best to not have that around as a easy excuse to run out when the barn door opens so to speak.

Time to get back to work on rebuilding that fence.

The fence had a few holes in it this season, ones that need to be shored up because you have the 10-win season and SEC Western Division Championship to use from the start with these 2008 class.

I am happy that the Razorbacks have already dished out at least five verbal offers to the mammoth Hall, the Warren duo of Greg Childs (6-3, 195, 4.5) and Jarius Wright (5-11, 180, 4.4) and the Camden Fairview pair of tailback De'Anthony Curtis and defensive end LaVunce Askew (6-3, 250).

If it was me running the show, the next five offers would be going out quickly to Camden Fairview quarterback Jim Youngblood (6-2, 212) , electrifying Central Arkansas Christian wideout/running back Joseph Adams (5-9, 175), Texarkana running back Dennis Johnson (5-8, 180), Pulaski Academy wide receiver Cruz Williams (6-4, 180) and Van Buren wideout Taylor Stockemer (6-4, 200).

I have seen enough of them live and on DVD to know that they are worth extending an offer to right now.

There are tons of other names that come to mind that appear to be solid Division I in-state prospects such as Greenwood quarterback Tyler Wilson (6-3, 180), Fayetteville wideout Gionni Harris (5-6, 160), Fort Smith Northside offensive lineman Austin Eoff (6-4, 305), Atkins athlete Terrence Bobo (6-0, 175) and Bearden athlete Dewayne Watts (6-1, 180).

Even more are Springdale Har-Ber offensive lineman Bryant Newell, tailbacks Tim Dunn (5-10, 182) of Little Rock Central and Deshawn Scoggins (5-10, 180) of Nashville, Conway wideout Isaiah Jackson and Warren's Anthony Davis (5-11, 185) and couple of athletes in Bryce Lunday (5-9, 175) of Sheridan and Pulaski Robinson's Marquis McFadden (5-11, 185).

There are more that will no doubt be under consideration, but my tired brain isn't exactly functioning at full capacity at the moment with this class just finished.

I wouldn't stop at the state line either as I would be all over Allen (Texas) wideout Dan Bucker (6-5, 180) , who caught 70 passes for 1,122 yards and 11 of Dick's 23 touchdown tosses this past season from new Razorback quarterback signee Nathan Dick.

Dick was the outstanding quarterback and Bucker the top receiver last summer as the Shootout of the South.

Shreveport Calvary Baptist wide receiver Khirey Cooper (6-2, 175, 4.5) already has an offer after an outstanding camp last summer.

There's tons more talent out there that can be jumped on early.

I say simply get to it.

While you're at it, somebody close that barn door.

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