Rushing Razorback

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Texarkana junior tailback Dennis Johnson (5-9, 197, 4.3) about the prospect's recent offer from Arkansas. 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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Last week at a Razorback Club meeting in his hometown, Texarkana tailback Dennis Johnson was given a lot of free advice.

Pretty much all of it centered on him continuing to be a Razorback – just switching from an Arkansas High jersey to a University of Arkansas one.

"It seems like everybody that was there came up and said you need to go to Arkansas," Johnson said. "Of course, that's what everybody around here tells me anyway."

As of Friday, Johnson (5-9, 197, 4.3) has an official offer to do just that as he became the seventh in-state 2008 prospect to get a scholarship offer from UA head coach Houston Nutt and his staff.

"I'm just ecstatic about it," Johnson said. "I got a text message about it around 7 p.m. and it made me feel great for them to be my first offer and to know how much they want me."

It no doubt won't be the last offer for Johnson, who rushed for 1,734 yards as a sophomore and 1,600-plus as a junior.

He is also getting interest from Auburn, LSU, Texas, Miami, Florida, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame just to name a few schools.

"Arkansas sits at the top with me," Johnson said. "I am going to visit some other schools like LSU. Florida and Auburn, but Arkansas is my top school."

Certainly part of that has to do with the fact that Johnson attended Arkansas' recent Junior Day back on Feb. 24th.

"It was an awesome experience to get to meet with the coaches and see all the facilities, not only their athletic ones but their academic ones as well," Johnson said. "A lot of people talk about their great stadium and all that, but I think their academic facilities are second to none. That has to be a big factor in my decision. I want to get a great education, not just play football."

Johnson capped his junior season in grand style in the Class 6A state title game by rushing 33 times for a season-high 258 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 27-7 win over Mountain Home.

"Winning the state title as a junior was just such a great experience for our team and myself," Johnson said. "It was just awesome and that about sums it up. I think the only things that could possibly feel better would be to repeat again next season or then go on to win an SEC Championship or national title once I get to college."

Johnson is one of those rare combinations of speed and power – the speed evident once again on Saturday when he ripped off a 10.35 to win the 100 meter dash at the Watty Myers Relays at Texas High.

Not bad at all for the first track meet of the season.

"I have been very blessed with my speed," Johnson said. "I think my speed and my vision on the field are my biggest strengths. I would like to get a little better at running the ball inside. You can always get better at every aspect of the game and can't stop working."

Johnson has plans to attend at least one of Arkansas camps this summer as well as go to one at LSU.

"It's still kind of early to know what I am going to do this summer, but I will definitely got to camps at Arkansas and LSU," Johnson said. "I might make it up to both of Arkansas, the regular one (in June) and the Senior Day one."

Asked to compare his running style to someone, Johnson went old school.

"I think I would like to be compared to Barry Sanders," Johnson said. "He can run away from you, run over you, change directions and make you miss. That's the kind of guy I am striving to be."

O o o

Jenirro Bush, the 6-7 guard/small forward from Mississippi that is committed to the basketball Razorbacks, will try to take the next-to-last step today towards a Class 2A state title.

Bush will lead East Oktibbeha (31-4) against West Lowndes in a 2:30 p.m. semifinal game in hopes of reaching Friday night's title game.

Bush, who can play point guard, off guard and small forward, and his Titans will be trying to beat West Lowndes for a fifth time this season.

…Razorback signee Nate Rakestraw and potential signee Michael Sanchez will lead Har-Ber into the Class 7A state title game against Fort Smith Northside on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. in Hot Springs.

…Verdigris (Okla.) star Rotnei Clarke – a 2008 Razorback recruit - just keeps raising the bar on his performance and did so again with a season-high 57 points Friday night in a 82-74 win over Adair before an estimated 3,000 fans.

Clarke, who had his average of 36 points per game by halftime, has led the Cardinals to a Thursday 3:30 p.m. Class 3A semifinal round game vs. Vian.

He has averaged 46.3 points per game in his four postseason games so far.

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