Tripping to Arkansas

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with Louisiana wideout Ricky Johnson (5-11, 185, 4.45), who is expecting to be in Fayetteville this weekend to see the Razorbacks' season-opener. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner for details.

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While the University of Arkansas' 2009 football recruiting class is shaping up very nice with 11 commitments, it's odd that not one of them have yet been a wide receiver.

Seems to me like that might be a spot where people were breaking down the door to get in to play for Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino.

It actually could start to get shored up in very short order with a pair of players in Texas High's Cobi Hamilton (6-3, 190, 4.5) and Lafayette (La.) Carencro prep star Ricky Johnson (5-11, 185, 4.45).

Hamilton, who has made it clear in his last couple of interviews that the Razorbacks are at the top of his list, said Monday night that he will wait at least until he takes in the Arkansas-Florida game in Fayetteville on Oct. 4.

Johnson, on the other hand, will be in Fayetteville this Saturday for the Razorbacks' season-opener with Western Illinois and may not waste much time.

He's got his choice down to Arkansas and Georgia Tech, but it sure seems like the Razorbacks have an edge there.

"If I get up to Arkansas this weekend and it's like I think it is, I could just commit right away," Johnson said. "We are going to get up there about 8 a.m. on Saturday and just spend the day checking it out."

Johnson is a do-it-all standout – one that rushed for 1,296 yards, passed for 400 and also caught passes for another 330 yards all while finding the end zone 21 different times.

He said Arkansas' coaches have told him he would start out as a wide receiver, but move all over the field as he does for Carencro while also playing quarterback and running back.

"One thing I really like about Arkansas is how their coaches tell me they are going to move me around to different spots and make sure I get a lot of touches that way," Johnson said. "I'm excited about what Coach Petrino is doing with the offense."

Georgia Tech is looking at him as a quarterback.

"Georgia Tech is running the triple-option like we do here so that has me looking at them," Johnson said. "I might go visit them later this season if Arkansas isn't what I think it is."

It's clear that LSU would have been the place that Johnson had in his heart to start with during the recruiting process.

"But for whatever reason, they didn't offer me a scholarship," Johnson said. "So I'm not going to set around waiting for them to miss out on some guys and then come after me. They are looking at me as a cornerback anyway and I want to play wide receiver or quarterback in college."

Johnson is also an outstanding basketball player and notes that if he goes to a SEC school, he will only play football but would play both at an ACC school.

"The reason I said that is the SEC is serious business and the best football conference in the country and I think I would need to just concentrate on football," Johnson said. "If it was the ACC, I think you could get away with playing both."

Arkansas actually appeared on Johnson's radar via the television.

"I watched Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and those guys and just fell in love with what they were doing," Johnson said. "Arkansas has changed coaches, but they said they could still see me being a guy that can run that Wild Hog at times."

Carencro went 8-3 last season and should have another good offensive squad this season.

"We should be pretty good, but the one thing we have to do is replace all of our secondary guys," Johnson said. "I think we will get that done."

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