Fighter's Mentality Helps Hogs On Signing Day

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino made it clear Wednesday that he has no problem fighting for a recruit, even if it's in another school's backyard.

His assistant coaches have apparently taken that fighter's mentality with them on the recruiting trail, which now extends from coast to coast.

The Razorbacks took an aggressive approach with their 2009 recruiting class, going into states like Texas, Louisiana and California and beating out the local schools for some of the nation's top talent.

They picked up four-star running back Ronnie Wingo out of St. Louis. They fought off Texas to get wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. And they tapped into a new pipeline by signing three junior college players from College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California.

"I think that's one thing that I really liked about our coaching staff this year; we weren't going to take a backseat to anybody," Petrino said Wednesday afternoon during a news conference to announce his second recruiting class at Arkansas.

"We went out there and tried to bow up and recruit against everybody that we could."

The Razorbacks continued to have success in Arkansas, signing local talent like Fayetteville High offensive lineman Colby Berna and Helena-West Helena cornerback Darius Winston, a five-star recruit who's undeniably the star of the class.

But the Hogs also showed they're willing to divert from their usual recruiting stops to add some big-time prospects.

In a sign that Petrino wants to turn Arkansas into a player on a national stage, the Hogs picked up recruits out of eight states. They went as far east as Florida and as far west as California to assemble a recruiting class that is ranked 14th by Rivals.com and 19th by Scout.com.

"To go to Texarkana, Texas and beat Texas (for Hamilton), that's sweet. And to go to St. Louis and beat Missouri and Illinois (for Wingo), that's good," Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton said.

"To go to Oklahoma and beat Oklahoma, those are the things that we've got to be able to do if we want to get to a BCS game."

Arkansas compiled its highest-rated recruiting class in recent memory despite coming off a 5-7 season and not making a bowl game in Petrino's first season in Fayetteville.

A year ago, Petrino had to scramble to put together a recruiting class that was loaded with local talent. But because this year's talent pool in Arkansas was considered to be rather weak, the Razorbacks went out of state to pick up most of their 28 recruits and three midterm signees.

Petrino and his assistants put an emphasis on bolstering their secondary and defensive line with big, tall and fast recruits. They signed six defensive linemen, adding depth and perhaps toughness to a unit that got pushed around last season.

"We not only got bigger, but we got taller, we got faster. It's going to change the whole face of our weight room when we walk into that weight room," Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said.

"I'm going to be able to walk into the defensive huddle and have to look up instead of looking eye to eye. And the speed is going to be ‘whoosh' when they run by us."

Arkansas also addressed its glaring holes in the secondary with the addition of six defensive backs, including a few like Winston who will likely compete immediately for starting jobs.

National Signing Day was especially emotional for Winston, who's rated by Scout.com as the nation's fourth-best cornerback in the 2009 class. His grandmother died before his signing ceremony at Helena-West Helana Central.

"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 right now."

Winston was one of only seven instate players who signed with the Razorbacks, leaving the other 24 spots in the class to be filled by out-of-state prospects.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino had connections in Florida. Horton was adamant that the Razorbacks establish themselves in the St. Louis area. And Robinson's contacts at College of the Sequoias allowed the Hogs to fight off some other schools for talent.

It was all part of Petrino's new, aggressive approach to recruiting.

"You don't want to hear the verbiage I'd use, but to be politically correct, the heck with everybody else. This is us," Robinson said. "This is Arkansas, so we're not going to take a backseat to anybody."



ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS



Player Pos. Ht. Class School

Alvin Bailey OL 6-5 330 Broken Arrow, Okla.

Neal Barlow WR 6-6 190 Pulaski Academy

Colby Berna OL 6-5 285 Fayetteville

Shauntez Bruce OL 6-5 300 Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln

Ryan Calendar DL 6-7 226 Caddo Mills, Texas

Rudell Crim DB 6-0 190 Butler County CC

*Knile Davis RB 6-1 209 Fort Bend (Texas) Marshall

David Gordon DB 5-11 170 Tulsa (Okla.) East Central

*x Broderick Green RB 6-2 240 Pulaski Academy

Cobi Hamilton WR 6-3 198 Texarkana, Texas

John Henderson DL 6-0 309 College of the Sequoias

**Rickey Hughey ATH 6-5 231 Lafayette County

DeQuinta Jones DL 6-4 305 Bastrop, La.

Anthony Leon DB 6-4 230 College of the Sequoias

**Kevin Lowery DL 6-3 286 Gainesville, Fla.

Brandon Mitchell QB 6-4 220 Amite, La.

Jerry Mitchell DB 6-1 198 Mandeville, La.

Austin Moss LB 6-3 218 Rockwall (Texas) Heath

Colton Nash DL 6-6 261 Sulphur Springs, Texas

Anthony Oden OL 6-8 328 Hargrave Military Academy

Ross Rasner DB 6-0 205 Waco (Texas) Reicher

Lance Ray WR 6-3 183 Havana (Fla.) East Gadsden

* Andru Stewart DB 5-11 190 College of the Sequoias

Travis Swanson OL 6-5 298 Kingwood, Texas

Austin Tate TE 6-6 230 Harrison

Robert Thomas DL 6-1 300 Muskogee, Okla.

Zhamal Thomas OL 6-4 315 Navarro (Texas) College

Terrell Williams LB 6-3 217 Tulsa (Okla.) Union

Turell Williams RB 6-2 215 Helena-West Helena Central

Ronnie Wingo Jr. RB 6-3 220 St. Louis (Mo.) University

Darius Winston DB 6-0 180 Helena-West Helena Central

* — Already enrolled in school

** — Also signed junior college letters on Wednesday

x — Transfer from Southern California






SEC SIGNING LISTS



AUBURN TIGERS

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School

Dontae Aycock RB 5-10 216 Chamberlain

Daren Bates DB 5-11 195 Olive Branch, Miss.

DeAngelo Benton WR 6-3 205 Bastrop, La.

Emory Blake WR 6-1 194 Stephen F. Austin, Texas

Terrence Coleman DL 6-1 251 Mobile Williamson

Robert Cooper ATH 6-4 204 Mobile Daphne

Nosa Eguae DL 6-3 234 Mansfield (Texas) Summit

Jonathan Evans LB 5-11 202 Prichard Blount

Nick Fairley DL 6-4 295 Copiah-Lincoln CC

Dee Ford DE 6-3 205 Odenville St. Clair County

Eltoro Freeman LB 6-0 223 Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

Harris Gaston LB 6-3 210 Bessemer Academy

Anthony Gulley ATH 5-11 185 Brantley

Andre Harris OL 6-4 300 Lovejoy, Ga.

Josh Jackson DL 6-2 260 Gainesville, Ga.

Brandon Jacobs RB 6-0 237 Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview

LaVoyd James WR 5-10 180 Mobile Williamson

Izauea Lanier DB 6-0 185 Gordo

Philip Lutzenkirchen TE 6-4 240 Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter

Onterio McCalebb RB 6-0 175 Hargrave Military Academy

Clint Moseley QB 6-4 196 Leroy

Taikwon Paige DB 5-10 175 Georgia Military College

Tyrik Rollison QB 6-2 185 Sulphur Springs, Texas

Travante Stallworth WR 5-9 180 Leesville, La.

John Sullen OL 6-5 325 Auburn

Reggie Taylor DB 5-10 165 Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County

Jamar Travis DL 6-1 298 Brewton W.S. Neal

Demond Washington ATH 5-9 185 Mississippi Gulf Coast CC



FLORIDA GATORS

Nick Alajajian OL 6-4 280 Naples

Jon Bostic LB 6-2 225 Palm Beach Central

Gary Brown DT 6-4 275 West Gadsden

Andre Debose WR 5-11 176 Seminole

Josh Evans DB 6-2 185 Irvington, N.J.

Dee Finley S 6-1 193 Milford Academy

Mike Gillislee RB 6-0 190 DeLand

Jon Halapio OL 6-4 300 St. Petersburg Catholic

Jonotthan Harrison OL 6-3 279 South Lake

Edwin Herbert DT 6-3 295 City College of San Francisco

Jelani Jenkins LB 6-1 200 Our Lady Good Counsel

Kedric Johnson DE 6-4 215 Palmetto

Kyle Koehne OL 6-6 300 Cathedral

Xavier Nixon OL 6-6 285 Jack Britt

Desmond Parks TE 6-6 215 Greer, S.C.

Jordan Reed QB 6-3 225 New London, Conn.



GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Chris Burnette OG 6-2 300 Troup Co.

Washaun Ealey RB 5-11 205 Emanuel Co. Institute

Michael Gilliard LB 6-2 200 Valdosta

Abry Jones DT 6-3 273 Northside

Dallas Lee OG 6-4 295 Buford

Austin Long OL 6-5 268 Briarcrest Christian

Derrick Lott DT 6-4 270 North Cobb

Jordan Love DB 6-0 185 Deep Run

Arthur Lynch TE 6-5 240 Dartmouth, Mass.

Zach Mettenberger QB 6-5 228 Oconee Co.

Dexter Moody LB 6-2 205 Emanuel Co. Institute

Aaron Murray QB 6-1 205 Plant

Montez Robinson DE 6-5 235 Avon, Ind.

Branden Smith DB 5-11 171 Washington

Chase Vasser LB 6-3 208 Chestatee

Shawn Williams DB 6-1 195 Early Co.

Rantavious Wooten WR 5-10 158 Glades Central



KENTUCKY WILDCATS

Brian Adams WR 6-4 210 Gainesville (Ga.) South Forsyth

Jordan Aumiller ATH 6-4 199 Boyle Co.

Justin Bean WR 6-2 Tupelo, Miss.

Mister Cobble DT 6-0 Central

Mark Crawford DT 6-1 290 Coffeyville CC

Qua Huzzie LB 5-11 205 LaGrange, Ga.

Tristian Johnson DE 6-3 222 LaGrange, Ga.

Anthony Kendrick WR/TE 6-4 220 Seven Lakes, Texas

Patrick Ligon DE 6-5 255 Christian Brothers

LaRod King WR 6-6 190 North Hardin

Chris Matthews WR 6-5 210 Los Angeles (Calif.) Harbor College

Demetri Merritt LB 6-3 200 LaGrange, Ga.

Terrell Mitchell NA 6-6 220 McEachern

Ryan Mosby LB 6-0 197 Rockwall (Texas) Heath

Ryan Mossakowski QB 6-4 201 Frisco (Texas) Centennial

Martavius Neloms DB 6-2 175 Memphis (Tenn.) Fairly

Morgan Newton QB 6-4 220 Carmel, Ind.

Donald Russell RB 5-11 205 West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer

Sam Simpson OL 6-4 292 Lexington (Ky.) Henry Clay

Dakotah Tyler RB 6-0 Indianapolis Pike

Jarvis Walker LB 6-2 202 Marrero (La.) Archbishop Rummel

Larry Warford OL 6-4 349 Richmond (Ky.) Madison Central

Ridge Wilson LB 6-3 207 Louisville (Ky.) Central



MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

Johnthan Banks DB 6-2 170 Maben East Webster

Leon Berry WR 6-1 185 East Mississippi CC

Josh Boyd DL 6-3 275 Philadelphia

Sean Brauchle PK 5-9 175 Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

Chad Bumphis WR 5-10 193 Tupelo

Montrell Conner RB 6-2 215 Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish

Fletcher Cox DL 6-4 240 Yazoo City

Billy Hamilton WR 5-10 170 Taylorsville

Brandon Heavens WR 5-10 170 Bessemer (Ala.) Jess Lanier

Mardrecas Hood WR 6-3 180 Reform (Ala.) Pickens County

Heath Hutchins P 6-2 215 Itawamba CC

Gabriel Jackson OL 6-4 295 Liberty Amite County

Maurice Langston DB 5-11 185 East Central CC

Cameron Lawrence DB 6-2 205 Coldwater Magnolia Heights

Johnathan McKenzie DL 6-4 235 Starkville Academy

Pernell McPhee DL 6-4 270 Itawamba CC

LaDarius Perkins RB 5-10 195 Greenville St. Joseph

Tyler Russell QB 6-4 200 Meridian

Ricco Sanders WR 5-11 175 Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes

William Shumpert RB 6-0 238 Fulton Itawamba Agricultural

Deontae Skinner LB 6-1 234 Macon Noxubee County

Darius Slay DB 6-0 175 Brunswick, Ga.

Chris Smith WR 6-1 195 Meridian

Dennis Thames DB 5-11 185 Louisville

Sam Watts OL 6-4 290 Conyers (Ga.) Salem

Chris White LB 6-4 235 Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

Nickoe Whitley DB 5-11 195 Jackson Provine



TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Montori Hughes DL 6-5 275 Murfreesboro Siegel

Nigel Mitchell-Thornton LB 6-2 228 Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson

Rae Sykes DE 6-4 240 Coffeyville CC

Toney Williams RB 6-1 235 Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton

Jerod Askew LB 6-1 230 Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith

Mike Edwards DB 5-10 170 Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville Academic

Eric Gordon DB 5-10 187 Nashville Hillsboro

James Green WR 6-2 190 Tallahassee (Fla.) Leon

Arthur Jeffery DL 6-4 285 Sarasota (Fla.) Booker

Greg King LB 6-3 200 Memphis Melrose

Darren Myles S 6-1 190 Atlanta Carver

Robert Nelson LB 6-0 205 Stone Mountain, Ga.

Nyshier Oliver ATH 5-10 180 Jersey City (NJ) Saint Peter's Prep

Kevin Revis OL 6-4 265 Evansville Rhea County

Zach Rogers WR 6-2 170 Nashville David Lipscomb

Nu'Keese Richardson WR 5-10 165 Pahokee, Fla.

JerQuari Schofield OL 6-6 315 Aiken (S.C.) South Aiken

Marsalis Teague ATH 5-10 180 Paris Henry County

Marlon Walls DL 6-2 225 Hargrave Military Academy





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