Dominating Darius

West Helena Central junior cornerback and Razorback commitment Darius Winston (6-0, 175, 4.38) - who has a whopping 17 scholarship offers - and his uncle Buck Willie took an unofficial visit to the University of Arkansas this weekend and leave Saturday morning as solidly committed as you can be.

Before, during and after West Helena Central cover cornerback Darius Winston's visit to the University of Arkansas this weekend, the same phrase described his commitment to the Razorbacks.

"It is solid," Winston said early Saturday morning after taking an unofficial visit to Fayetteville with his uncle Buck Willie that began early Friday afternoon.

That's great news for the Razorbacks, who were the first school to offer a scholarship to Winston (6-0, 175, 4.38) – a junior who has since seen 16 other major colleges put one on the table.

"Arkansas offering me first was big and it really makes me feel good that all these schools and great programs want me," Winston said. "But I want to handle it the all the right way, stay humble and just work on getting better."

His uncle has been amazed at how things have taken off in Winston's recruitment – something that got started with his play as a junior and got jump-started when he sent out a highlight tape.

Since then the distant cousin of former Razorback standouts Dennis, Rodney, Eric and Marc Winston, has seen Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn and others have offered.

"It's pretty much been overwhelming to think that every school in the country has come after a kid from a small town," Willie said. "He has done a good job of taking it one step at a time. But he's been Hog Crazy since he was 12, he wants to be a Razorback and that is what he is going to be."

Winston, who joins Fayetteville offensive lineman Colby Berna (6-4, 275) as 2009 early Arkansas pledges, had a chance this weekend to meet with the UA coaches.

He and his uncle visited with head coach Bobby Petrino, defensive coordinator Willie Robinson and cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward in addition to others.

"I had a great time and got a chance to tour the facilities and get together with the staff," Winston said. "I really enjoyed talking with Coach Ward and Coach Robinson and Coach Petrino. They really know what they are doing and I enjoyed talking to them."

Winston, one of at least four Division I prospects at West Helena this season, had 40 solo tackles, a pair of interceptions and returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns last season.

"I think I have the speed to cover any deep route, but can also cover anything short and use my quickness to come up and make plays," Winston said. "I love to play press coverage and use my toughness at the line."

That sounds a lot like former Arkansas cornerbacks Batman Carroll and Chris Houston, one formerly in the NFL and the other still playing with Atlanta.

"I use to love watching Batman play for the Razorbacks and how great a cover corner he was," Winston said. "I also really like Chris Houston and how he played."

West Helena Central finished the season 6-6 last season - downing Hope (20-0) and losing to Vilonia (21-14) in the Class 5A playoffs - and is obviously loaded for next season.

Winston joins defensive lineman Eric Smiley (6-5, 280), running back Turrell Williams (6-2, 215) and quarterback/cornerback Deondre Johnson (5-11, 190) as D-I prospects for the Cougars.

All of those young men will be up for Arkansas' Red-White game and Junior Day on April 26.

"We should have a great team," Winston said. "We've got a great quarterback, a very good tailback and just a loaded defense. We're very excited about next season."


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