Spring Guests

In his weekly column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with University of Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton about how the Razorback program is making sure its top recruits get to take in some spring practice. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

Fans who showed up at the University of Arkansas' spring football practice Wednesday couldn't help but see a pair of huge offensive linemen in street clothes.

In this case, it was Har-Ber's Brey Cook (6-7, 300) and Springdale High's Mitch Smothers (6-4, 280) both taking in the Razorback workout.

They are just two of the prospects, including several from Northwest Arkansas who will have a chance to see the UA players and coaches going through one or more workouts.

That's tremendous for Arkansas per assistant and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton.

"That's one of the good things about this year is that we have gotten so many offers out early and a lot of those kids are in the Northwest Arkansas area and can easily get to practice and check things out," Horton said. "This is the first time, well, maybe ever, that we have offered this many kids in-state this early and it gives them a chance to come see what we would like them to be a part of someday as Razorbacks."

Indeed the Razorbacks have offered nine in-state prospects – six of which could get to Arkansas' practice field from their homes in 30 minutes.

In addition to Cook and Smothers, there's UA QB and TE commits in Brandon Allen (6-3, 210) and Demetrius Dean (6-3, 250) of Fayetteville, Shiloh Christian quarterback Kiehl Frazier (6-3, 215) and Bentonville offensive lineman Marcus Danenhauer (6-5, 315).

"It is just a tremendous year in state for talent, especially right around here," Horton said. "Schools like USC, Texas, Florida and Ohio State – maybe the most successful programs the last 10 years – all have done exceptionally well in their recruiting base right around them.

"That is what our goal is as well and there are some very, very talented kids in our state right now who could help lead our program to a tremendous level of success," Horton said.

Those six prospects join Newport athlete Artez Brown (5-11, 175), Malvern defensive tackle Grady Ollison and Forrest City wideout Davyon McKinney (6-3, 175) as the 2011 prospects from inside the state offered so far.

There are more targeted that could be offered after the Arkansas football camp on June 6-8 and the one-day elite event on July 17.

"I think the odds are great that we offer a few more in-state after we have a chance to evaluate them more once we get them in camp," Horton said. "Our coaches get a chance to see how they work for them and we get a chance to see how they react to our coaches."

The Razorbacks will also host an official Junior Day on Saturday, April 17 after already having a couple of unofficial ones.

"I think we have or will have had all of the kids that are senior or juniors to be that we really like from Arkansas on campus," Horton said. "That junior day on the 17th that we will be a bigger group and more from out of state. We like the way things are headed."

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