Swinging For Mr. Cooper

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how Arkansas and Nebraska are battling for Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist football and baseball star Khiry Cooper (6-2, 175). 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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One would think that University of Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn and his staff are fans of the potential 2008 football recruiting haul.

In addition to quarterback/pitchers Tyler Wilson of Greenwood and Jim Youngblood of Greenwood, he might get a center fielder out of the haul as well.

After taking an official visit to Fayetteville last weekend, Shreveport Calvary Baptist wideout/outfielder Khiry Cooper (6-2, 175, 4.5) has his decision down to Arkansas and Nebraska, where Van Horn used to coach.

"My visit went great and I got to meet with both the football and baseball coaches and came away impressed with both of the staffs," Cooper said. "It really turned my head."

Cooper, who is visiting Nebraska this upcoming weekend, was actually offered a scholarship by the former Arkansas football staff before the summer of his junior season.

He impressed coaches enough during a football camp to warrant the early offer.

"I just came in and worked hard and they decided to go ahead and offer me a scholarship," Cooper said. "That visit gave me a chance to check the place out and I liked it."

His return trip to Arkansas this past weekend further cemented his affinity for a school that joined Florida, LSU and others in offering scholarships.

"They have great facilities," Cooper said. "They have done a lot to the baseball stadium since I was here the first time and it is even more spectacular."

Cooper hit .436 on the baseball diamond last season with 16 steals and 3 homers for the Class 1A state championships.

Like Wilson and Youngblood, his name is being bandied about as possible early selection in next June's Major League Baseball Draft.

"Yes, that is a possibility and I have had a few people talk to me about it," Cooper said. "But right now I am just getting ready for this baseball season and working through recruiting."

Cooper, who caught 60 passes for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, listened intently to new UA head coach Bobby Petrino's pitch.

"I got to meet all the coaches and sit down with Coach Petrino and went over what they were planning to do on offense," Cooper said. "They are going to throw the ball a lot and talked about how I would have the opportunity to come in and make an impact right away. That interests me."

Nebraska's recruiting effort of Cooper is led by Ron Brown, a former LSU coach that Cooper has grown close with over the years.

"He's a cool guy and a great man of faith," Cooper said. "I've known him for a while and think a lot of him."

Cooper says that he will make his decision soon after his return from Nebraska with the national signing date looming a week from today on Feb. 6.

O o o

Arkansas is expecting to host around 15 more recruits this weekend on official visits.

Ferbia Allen, TE-DE, 6-5, 220, Pine Bluff Dollarway

Demerius Dareus, DE, 6-5, 245, Birmingham Huffman

Marcel Dareus, DT, 6-4, 275, Birmingham Huffman

Elijah Epperson, TE, 6-4, 225, 4.5, Humboldt, Tenn.

Albert Gary, RB-CB, 5-10, 176, 4.5, North Marion (FL) High

Matt Hall, OL, 6-10, 320, Russellville

Ronald Holiday, ATH, 6-3, 225, Atlanta (Ga.) Douglass

Dominic Maldonado, OL, 6-4, 290, Eureka, Mo.

Jerico Nelson, RB-CB, 5-10, 195, 4.5, Destrehan (La.)

Andrew Power, TE, 6-5, 245, , Myrtle Beach (SC) High

Chris Ragget, DB, 5-11, 190, 4.4, Beaumont (Texas) Ozen

DeShawn Scoggins, RB-CB, 5-11, 195, 4.4, Nashville

Zach Stadther, DT, 6-2, 275, North Little Rock

Johnny Thomas, DB, 6-0, 180, 4.5, Texas City, Texas

Mike Williams, CB, 6-0, 170, Beaumont Westbrook

The Razorbacks currently have 19 commits after landing four players in the past few days and reaffirming the commitment of another.

The latest commitment was added Tuesday morning with North Little Rock defensive tackle Zach Stadther (6-2, 275) was offered by the Razorbacks and committed on the spot.

2008 UA Grid Commits (19)

Lavunce Askew, DL, 6-3, 278, 4.8, Camden Fairview

Khiry Battle, SS, 6-1, 205, 4.5, Dacula, Ga.

Greg Childs, WR, 6-4, 195, 4.5 Warren

• DeAnthony Curtis, TB, 5-11, 211, 4.41, Camden Fairview

* Alfred Davis, DL, 6-1, 295, College Park (Ga.) Banneker

Austin Eoff, OL, 6-5, 305, Fort Smith Northside

* Elton Ford, S, 6-0, 200, Alphraetta (Ga.) Chattahoocie

Chris Gragg, WR, 6-3, 186, 4.5, Warren

• Matt Hall, OL, 6-10, 320, Russellville

Dennis Johnson, RB, 5-9, 190, 4.4, Texarkana

Basmine Jones, CB, 6-0, 195, 4.5, Warren

Anthony Oden, OL, 6-8, 295, 4.8, Indianapolis North

Jelani Smith, LB, 6-1, 210, 4.7, Abbeville (La.)

• Zach Stadther, DT, 6-2, 275, North Little Rock

Cruz Williams, WR, 6-5, 205 4.4, Pulaski Academy

• Tyler Wilson, QB, 6-3, 185, 4.6, Greenwood

Jarius Wright, WR, 5-11, 180, 4.34, Warren

Tenarius Wright, LB, 6-2, 225, 4.7, Memphis Whitehaven

• Jim Youngblood, QB, 6-3, 217, 4.69, Camden Fairview

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