Paul Petrino, Willy Robinson and Tim Horton -- all coordinators at Arkansas -- were all smiles as Arkansas assistant coaches met with the media after head coach Bobby Petrino introduced the football recruiting class of 2009.
Paul Petrino, the offensive coordinator, was excited about the "long" nature of the three wideouts in the class.
Willy Robinson, the defensive coordinator, was equally pumped about the length and size at safety, cornerback and in the defensive front.
Recruiting coordinator Tim Horton was all smiles about the way the Hogs filled their needs in all areas and the way Robinson gave the Hogs a boost in both California and Louisiana.
The Hogs signed four players in Louisiana -- Robinson's territory -- along with three more from College of the Sequoias. One of Robinson's best friends is head coach at COS.
"Willy gave us a big edge with those three at College of the Sequoias, a big edge," Horton said. "We weren't going to get beat there with Willy's connection."
Paul Petrino raved about 6-6 Neal Barlow, 6-3 Cobi Hamilton and 6-3 Lance Ray.
"As the receiver coach, I'm really excited," Petrino said. "We wanted to get bigger and longer at receiver. We did. We wanted to add length and keep the same speed.
"Cobi Hamilton is really exciting. He's big, fast and athletic. He has great hands. He catches the ball up high. He's tough and has great ability to run after the catch. He runs through the first two or three that get to him. He is a really exciting football player.
"Neal Barlow is a tall receiver that doesn't seem that fast, but he gets off the line of scrimmage and he makes plays above people. With the way he jumps and his height, he is a huge matchup problem. We saw him make catch after catch inside the 10-yard line for touchdown after touchdown. He's really exciting.
"Neal and Cobi were here on the same visit and the position meeting went really well. They both understand football and that was a great meeting. Both are a little different, but they have a great feel for the position.
"Lance Ray is very light on his feet and really fast. He makes plays after the catch. He hasn't played receiver much ... he was a safety and a tight end before his senior year. But his size and speed are really good."
Petrino also liked the looks of the rest of the signing group on offense.
"We got the big running backs we have been talking about," he said. "We got a big-time, athletic quarterback who can make plays running and throwing -- and you need that in the SEC. We got tight ends that are playmakers. We filled our needs in the offensive line. It was a good offensive class.
"We hit on all of our needs on the offensive side and we really needed size in the running back group. What we did to Michael Smith was not fair. We got him pounded on too much last year. You need some big guys who turn that around and pound on the safeties and wear them out so you can run it in the fourth quarter. We got that."
Robinson said the Hogs will have more competitive practices.
"We are competing in the weight room right now and getting better," he said. "And, it's going to be more competitive in the summer and fall when these big, athletic guys in the secondary get here. We will have to compete with each other now and that makes you better.
"We got a lot bigger at safety and at corner with these new group. You need big players at those two positions in the SEC. We saw that. You need length and size for what you are going up against every week. What we experienced in the fall told us that.
"You get beat up and so you need that size. Look at what happened to us last year. That part of the equation tells us we will need this size."
Asked if the Hogs made a statement with this recruiting class, Robinson kinda grinned and paused before making an interesting answer.
"Maybe," he said. "But it's not the kinda of statement we want to make. It needs to be bigger. We are going to win some big games next year and then make a real statement with the next class. We need to make a bigger statement in recruiting than this."
Then, Robinson motioned to the list of recruits with special notation about the defensive line class of Ryan Calendar, John Henderson, Rickey Hughey, DeQuinta Jones, Kevin Lowery, Colton Nash and Robert Thomas.
"Those guys will change the face of things up front," Robinson said. "That's the kind of statement we wanted to make -- find us some big ones up front. That's the kind of statement we had to make."
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