The University of Arkansas has made the Dean's List when it comes to recruiting.
Now the goal is to rise to the top of it.
Katy (Texas) tailback Aundre Dean (6-1, 205, 4.5), the sixth best running back in the country according to Scout.com, is one of 11 recruits taking their official visits to Fayetteville beginning Friday afternoon.
His mom was born in El Dorado, attended the University of Arkansas and Dean has spent several summers in Little Rock, but never been to Fayetteville.
"When you have two guys like Darren McFadden and Felix Jones both coming out in the first round of the NFL draft this year, that tells you Arkansas is a place you should really look at if you are a running back," Dean said. "I'm looking forward to getting there and checking it out."
Like McFadden and Jones, Dean is no average running back and is the 57-th best prospect nationally regardless of position according to Scout.com.
Dean, who played in the Under Armour All-Star game in Orlando in early January, had over 2,500 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns.
He did so while leading Katy to a 16-0 mark and a state title.
"I feel like I have really good vision, really good speed and size," Dean said. "I am still working on being about to make my cuts without having to stop and getting in and out of them better."
Dean was previously committed to both Texas A&M (as a junior) and UCLA (this summer), two places where the coaching staffs got canned.
"It's not really that frustrating and I must tell you I am glad those schools made the switch now instead of waiting until I got there and then changing coaching staffs," Dean said. "I actually look upon it as a blessing and think things will work out the way they are supposed to."
Dean took official visits to Louisville (Friday-Sunday) and Alabama (Sunday-Monday) last weekend.
One got a passing grade, the other – well, not so much.
"I really like the coaches at Louisville and had a very good visit there and liked what I got to see," Dean said.
"Alabama, it's a great place but I didn't like my visit there at all," Dean added. "The visit was just all about football and it didn't seem like a family place and I didn't feel welcomed at all. They are definitely out."
New UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel visited Dean in his home earlier this week and he is also still considering Texas A&M.
"I am going to go over there Monday, just on an unofficial visit to watch film and meet those new coaches," Dean said. "I have talked to Coach Mike Sherman on the phone, but that's it."
The previous Arkansas staff was recruiting Dean, but not as hard as the new one.
"That is why I am coming down there, to see if it is the right place for me," Dean said. "I am looking forward to meeting the new coaches and just checking everything out. Like I said, if you are a running back, Arkansas is the place to check out."
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