First and Last

The University of Arkansas closes a hectic national signing day by getting Russellville offensive lineman Matt Hall (6-10, 320) on board, surviving a decision by Georgia star Khiry Battle (5-11, 209) and stealing CAC star Joe Adams (6-1, 180) away from USC.

The first one to commit ended up being the last one to sign.

Russellville offensive lineman Matt Hall (6-10, 320) committed to the University of Arkansas on the day after the 2007 national signing day and ironically was the last person to send in his fax on the 2008 National Signing Day.

In between there was a changing of the staff, official visits to Ole Miss, Missouri and Arkansas and – in the end – dancing with the Razorback that brung him.

Hall was one of the in-state recruits - along with Memphis Whitehaven linebacker Tenarius Wright - that new Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino and holdover assistant Tim Horton went to see immediately after the new head coach was hired.

Those commits have been adrift as Arkansas went without a head coach from Nov. 26 to Dec. 11.

"It had gotten to the point where I couldn't give them answers anymore," Horton said. "I couldn't tell them who the coach was going to be. We had gotten to the end of the plank and we were about to have to jump in. The timing worked out real well for us."

It turned out to be a tremendous decision to make those visits right away according to Horton.

"When you can say that Coach Petrino got hired yesterday and we would like to be in your home tomorrow – I think that really impressed the Arkansas kids," Horton said. "They thought ‘hey, I must be pretty important because the first place he is coming is my hometown.'"

One of those visits was to Central Arkansas Christian star Joe Adams (6-1, 180), a player that the Razorbacks stole away from USC on the final day.

"We may have lost a kid or two out of state because of that decision," Horton said, "but I think it helped us get 6 or 8 kids in state that we might have lost."

Perhaps no recruit outside of the state wrestled more with his decision than Dacula (Ga.) standout Khiry Battle (5-11, 209), who was torn between Arkansas and Ole Miss.

He was committed at one point or another to both schools before finally inking with Arkansas after delaying his press conference.

"I changed my mind 10 times in the last 24 hours, going back and forth between the coaches I committed to and the school I committed to," Battle said.

"The last three nights I went to bed and woke up with it being Arkansas each time," Battle added. "I think that was a sign."

Battle will be one of the guys trying to fill the shoes of former UA stars Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, both headed to the NFL.

"I am going to start out at running back," Battle said. "Those guys that left leave some big shoes to fill, but I am hoping I get a chance to help do that."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories