A Great Haul

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with UA assistant Tim Horton and Scout.com national analyst Scott Kennedy about the Razorbacks' 2009 class. 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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When he strolls to the front of the room to address the media Wednesday afternoon, University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino might as well bring a baseball bat.

Not to fend off the reporters, but to signify what he and his staff have done with this 2009 recruiting class.

Be it a triple, a home run or even a grand slam (if the final two prospects jump in), this Arkansas staff got it done with this year's class in part because they worked so well together according to UA recruiting coordinator Tim Horton.

"I don't think I have ever been part of a staff who from top-to-bottom worked as well together in recruiting," Horton said Tuesday afternoon. "This staff really put in the time and effort and I think we are getting a really good class that is a great indicator of the attitude and the work put in. We are really pleased with what we have been able to accomplish."

Heading into signing day, Scout has the Razorback class ranked 15th – something that could go higher if they add both or either defensive linemen Aubrey Phillips or DeQuinta Jones.

It's a big-time effort for Petrino and his staff according to Scout.com national analyst Scott Kennedy.

"I thought it might take a little to put together a class like this at Arkansas especially with all the negative press Coach Petrino got coming off his NFL experience," Kennedy said. "But he and his staff have put together a very good class, one with a lot of versatile players in it and one that is a lot more highly ranked than many expected."

I thought it would take until the 2010 class for them to ramp everything up, but that's not the case.

Somewhere between 30 and 33 recruits – however the number shakes itself out - will make up quite the haul.

Clearly the most glorious part of the class is they way the UA staff will have shored up its secondary.

You start with 5-star cornerback Darius Winston (6-1, 180, 4.38) of Helena West Central and 4-star defensive back David Gordon (6-1, 180, 4.4).

That's a heck of a pair of high school corners right there – in fact one service as them has two of the top 12 nationally.

When you throw in a trio of juco safeties in former Florida State safety Anthony Leon (6-4, 230), fellow College of Sequoias standout Andru Stewart (5-11, 190) – who could play corner – as well as Butler County Community College's Rudell Crim (6-1, 180, 4.4) and you've loaded up.

The Razorbacks also have another secondary pick-up in safety Jerry Mitchell (6-2, 198, 4.5) giving them a half-dozen players to shore up the secondary.

"The two guys that you look at as having an impact right away and who could just be absolute stars in the SEC are Darius Winston and Anthony Leon," Kennedy said.

"You've got Winston, who is a five-star prospect and we just don't give those to anybody," Kennedy added. "He is tall, fast and could even turn into an NFL safety one day because of his size.

"Leon is outside linebacker size, but has the speed and athletic ability to stay at safety," Kennedy continued. "He runs so well and is just going to be a big-time player for Arkansas."

Another defensive player that Arkansas added that Kennedy really likes is defensive end Colton Nash (6-7, 260).

"Here's a guy that is rated as a two star for whatever reason, but I have watched him play and I see just a world of potential and the chance to be a phenomenal player," Kennedy said. "I know he is going to look back at us one day and say ‘and you thought I was a 2-star guy? Please.'"

Nash joins fellow Texas prep star Ryan Calendar (6-8, 235) as the defensive ends with Muskogee (OK) High's Robert Thomas (6-2, 311, 4.8) and College of Sequoias standout John Henderson (6-2, 300, 4.9) bulking up the inside.

Add Phillips and/or Jones to that mix and that's another spot that will have just improved by leaps and bounds.

The other side of the interior line gets better to with six offensive linemen set to sign with Arkansas including Fayetteville High's Colby Berna.

The Razorbacks have also spent time shoring up their offense, including adding a stable of running backs.

St. Louis prep star Ronnie Wingo (6-3, 212, 4.4) and Houston area star Knile Davis (6-1, 210, 4.4) add size to what was a smallish UA running back corp last season.

If USC transfer Broderick Green (6-2, 230) gets his eligibility waiver approved, then there's another position where you could just say next.

"You've got two of the top 20 backs in the country in Ronnie Wingo and Knile Davis and those are just tremendous gets," Kennedy said. "That's two big running backs that could be difference makers."

Not to mention a few difference makers at wideout, one at tight end, etc.

Kennedy has certainly noticed that Arkansas has gone up against the other big boys and won.

"This is without a doubt a top 20 class and as you know Arkansas is not always in the top 20, not in there much at all," Kennedy said. "But the work the staff put in the and the versatility of the players they have brought in make this a tremendous class."



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