Finishing Strong

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how the Razorbacks are set for a big recruiting weekend after a top-notch Wednesday that saw them land 2010 P/K Will Russ and 2011 QB Brandon Allen plus getting word tight end D.J. Williams will return next season. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

Hoping to build on the momentum of a Wednesday that brought them a punter/kickoff specialist for next season and a quarterback for 2011, the University of Arkansas is all set for its biggest recruiting weekend of the year.

Some 13 prospects – 9 that are Razorback commits and 4 that are uncommitted – are scheduled to be here this weekend.

Dean Campbell, the UA's Director of High School Relations, noted it has been a much-anticipated period.

"When coaches and recruits started looking at setting up the visits, this weekend was one that seemed like the best time," Campbell said. "The students are back in school, there is a home basketball game and there is just a lot happening on campus this weekend."

The nine commits scheduled to be on hand are offensive linemen Jordan Rainey (6-5, 310) and Cam Feldt (6-4, 300), linebackers Braylon Mitchell (6-3, 225) and Courtney Gaston (6-3, 225), defensive tackles Jeremiah Jackson (6-2, 265) and Jatashun Beachum (6-2, 280), tight ends Garret Uekmann (6-3, 235) and Brad Hefley (6-4, 225) and safety Darrell Smith (6-2, 180).

The four uncommitted prospects due in are Panama City (FL) Rutherford defensive tackle Sean Watson (6-3, 285), Hoover (AL) High wideout Maudrecus Humphrey (6-2, 185), Williston (FL) High cornerback Deonte Welch (5-11, 180) and Norcross (GA) Greater Atlanta Christian School athlete Julian Horton (6-1, 185).

Watson is Smith's cousin.

"It certainly helps having a lot of the committed guys around those who have yet to make a decision," Campbell said. "They are able to tell the guys a lot along with our current players and the coaches."

Arkansas has 17 public commitments and is on pace to sign "22 or 23" players in the 2010 class.

Offensive lineman Matt Hall and linebacker Jelani Smith are no longer with the program and thus the Razorbacks have been able to add to the early projection of 20.

Arkansas did get word Wednesday that D.J. Williams is returning for his senior season instead of heading for the NFL.

"That 22 or 23 is right where we are at with our thinking," Campbell said. "We are looking and adding a wide receiver on offense and on defense, a cornerback and then really the best available players left regardless of position."

The Razorbacks are currently schedule to have five players on official visits on Jan. 22-24.

That includes UA commit Eric Bennett (5-11, 180) of Tulsa Booker T. Washington and Oklahoma State commit and Booker T. defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (6-3, 300).

There's also the Hawaiian trio of linebackers Shaydon Akuna (6-3, 210) and Dustin Elisara (6-2, 225) and cornerback Jeremy Ioane (5-10, 175).

Adding into this mix is the turmoil at Texas Tech, Tennessee and USC – all which have had coaching changes and have seen recruits with a degree of uncertainty.

Asked if it was safe to say that prospects at those schools had shown interest in Arkansas, Campbell answered in the affirmative.

"That is certainly safe to assume," Campbell said. "There are recruits out there who are anxious because there is no guarantee that the new coach is going to want them. It adds a new angle to things."

O o o

Shreveport (LA) Evangel punter-kicker William Russ (6-3, 180) committed to Arkansas on Wednesday to become the 17th UA commit of the 2010 class.

He averaged nearly 45 yards a punt and routinely kicked off through the end zone and chose the Razorbacks' scholarship offer over ones from Miami and Vanderbilt.

That came minutes after Fayetteville junior quarterback Brandon Allen (6-2, 200) announced he would be signing with the Razorbacks in Feb, of 2011.

Sean Watson

Maudrecus Humphrey

Julian Horton

Deonte Welch

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