Petrino Introduces New Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said three members of the Razorbacks' 2009 recruiting class have enrolled in classes for the spring semester.

The trio — former Southern California running back Broderick Green, Marshall (Texas) High running back Knile Davis and junior college defensive back Andru Stewart — is participating in the offseason conditioning program and will take part in spring practice.

Green, the former Pulaski Academy standout, is the most known member of the group after spending nearly two seasons with the Trojans. The 6-foot-2, 232-pound Green and Davis (6-1, 210), are expected to be the type of big backs Petrino has been wanting to use in his offense.

"Both of those young men are big, physical, fast running backs that we're looking for," Petrino said. "We couldn't be more happy to have them."

Stewart, meanwhile, has transferred to Arkansas after spending two years at the College of the Sequoias in California. He is the son of former NFL defensive back Michael Stewart. Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson coached Michael Stewart at Fresno State.

Petrino said Stewart brings experience to the Razorbacks and should help immediately.

"He's a guy that played a lot of different positions for them, but we're looking at him to come in and play corner and nickel for us," Petrino said. "He's physical. He tackles real well, and is a very experienced corner that will help our depth and compete for a job in spring football."

Arkansas was hoping to have one more prospect enroll this month, but junior college offensive lineman Zhamal Thomas couldn't complete his coursework. Thomas is still expected to sign scholarship papers with the Razorbacks next month and could enroll as early as May.

Hardships Granted

Petrino said the Razorbacks have received good news from the NCAA on the medical hardship front this winter.

Quarterback Tyler Wilson, linebacker Jelani Smith and cornerback Jerell Norton have all regained a year of eligibility after injury-plagued seasons. Wilson and Smith will be redshirt freshmen next season. Norton remains a junior.

Petrino said Wilson, who was sidelined with mononucleosis, has regained the weight he lost in the past few months because of his illness.

"He weighed in (Thursday) at 203 pounds, and that's very good," Petrino said. "He's up from about 185 when he first reported."

Wilson will compete with sophomore Ryan Mallett and redshirt freshman Jim Youngblood for the starting quarterback job. Petrino said Youngblood decided not to pursue a spot on Arkansas' baseball team in hopes of concentrating on playing quarterback this spring.

Injury Updates

Petrino said running back Michael Smith (hamstring) and receiver Lucas Miller (knee) are doing well after undergoing offseason surgeries, but will miss spring practice.

So will safety Elton Ford, who continues to work his way back from a neck injury. Petrino said the Razorbacks should know more about Ford's future later this month, when he visits doctors to undergo more tests on his neck.

"We're looking forward to the news and feel like it will be positive for us," Petrino said.

Petrino also said receiver Marques Wade continues to rehab his knee injury and is questionable for spring ball.

Sheppard's Status

Defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard did exactly what he expected in the offseason.

The junior filed paperwork with the NFL to check on his draft status. And after learning what the league thought about him, Sheppard is getting ready for his senior season with the Hogs.

"He's certainly going to come back and he's excited about coming back," Petrino said. "He's already up about eight, nine pounds from what he finished the season at and he's very, very motivated. He did apply for the results from the NFL, but he's staying in school."

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