Gainesville (Fla.) High defensive tackle Kevin Lowery has never stepped foot in Fayetteville, but he knows that the University of Arkansas is where he wants to play his college football.
The 6-3, 285-pounder, who was being recruited by UA assistant Paul Petrino, made that official Wednesday morning when he called the Razorback coaches to let them know they had an 18th commitment for the 2009 class.
"I decided on Monday that Arkansas was where I wanted to be, talked it over with my head coach on Tuesday and then called Arkansas coaches this morning," Lowery said. "I like the coaches, it's a big-time school and I have done my research. It's not that far away really and its where I want to be."
Arkansas had gotten its 17th commitment on Tuesday night when Lafayette County defensive end prospect Ricky Hughey (6-6, 225) committed to the Razorbacks.
Lowery, who was an offensive lineman until making the move to the other side of the ball this season, also had offers from Ball State, Louisville and Middle Tennessee State and interest from Auburn, Florida and some other schools.
"The Arkansas coaches were excited when I called them and were saying this is a big commit for us and we got someone we needed," Lowery said. "That made me feel really good. I am as excited as they are."
Lowery has 40 tackles this, 5 sacks and 10 tackles for lost yardage this season.
"He is a very powerful, very athletic lineman who is really, really aggressive and has a great motor," Gainesville High head coach Ryan Smith said.
Lowery admits that his mindset has changed a little bit moving from offense to defense.
"It certainly is a big change, but one I think I am doing pretty well at and one that I think I was meant to make," Lowery said. "I'm playing hard. I certainly don't know everything about how to play the position yet, but I am learning and I know that once I get to college that will really teach me some great stuff."
Lowery got to see the Arkansas-Alabama game on TV this season and loved seeing the Razorbacks may have turned a corner with a win last Saturday at Auburn.
"I know they are very young with a new coach that is getting everything turned around up there," Lowery said. "I think the fact that they beat Auburn shows a lot about them. I actually went to the Auburn-LSU game earlier this season and for them to win that game means there are good things coming for the future."
Gainesville is 2-4 this season and has gone through a tough stretch recently after a 1-8 season in 2007 that brought in a new coach.
"The last four teams we have played are all highly ranked and are a combined 21-2," Smith said. "This is my first year and we are making strides to get this program turned around in a place where there is great football played."
Lowery said the team has not lost its fight despite the tough stretch.
"I think it is just a matter of us continuing to pick up the intensity and we continue to build," Lowery said. "We are playing some great competition and we are staying after it."
Arkansas is also recruiting Gainesville offensive lineman Kendall Kelly (6-5, 280), who is currently committed to South Florida.
"They have told me they are going to stay after him," Lowery said. "It would be nice to get him up there, too."
Photos courtesy of Brad McClenny of the Gainesville Sun
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