Winston Signs With Razorbacks

SPRINGDALE — National signing day was a somber one for Arkansas' top-rated recruit.

Helena-West Helena Central five-star defensive back Darius Winston, the No. 24 rated player in the nation by, was set to make his commitment to play for the Razorbacks official with a signing ceremony at 2 p.m. at the school.

But those plans became secondary when Winston found out early Wednesday morning that his grandmother, Estella Willie, died.

As originally planned, Winston faxed his letter of intent to Arkansas on Wednesday morning, but had planned to skip the signing ceremony at the school.

"I'm happy to make it official but I'm not in a good mood right now," Winston said. "I don't know what to think about it (signing) right now. I'm not going (to the ceremony)."

But Helena-West Helena coach Russell Smith said Winston decided later Wednesday afternoon attend the event where four other Helena players, including Arkansas-bound Turell Williams, took part in the signing ceremony. Williams also faxed his letter to Arkansas Wednesday morning.

"Darius decided to come because that is what his grandmother would have wanted," Smith said. "It was a bittersweet day. This is the most we have had sign in one year and we hope to have even more in the future."

Winston had more than 30 scholarship offers and is expected to immediately compete for a starting job when he arrives on campus. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said the Razorbacks have no plans to move Winston out of the secondary.

"He's a guy that can really play the corner spot," Petrino said during an afternoon news conference from the Broyles Center. "He can come up in press coverage, bump and run, he can play off, break on the ball and make plays with his hands. He is a tremendous tackler and that is what stood out as much as anything."

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