Arguably the greatest assemblage of prep football talent on one weekend that the University of Arkansas has ever had on its campus will be here this weekend.
It is headed up by the nation’s top-ranked player – Springfield Hillcrest wideout Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 220) - and a pair of fellow 5-star prospects and US Army All-Americans in Chicago Simeon offenslve lineman Jordan Diamond (6-5, 290) and Houston (Texas) DeKaney running back Trey Williams (5-8, 190).
There’s also another U.S. Army All-American expected to officially visit in Carthage (Texas) safety Edward Pope (6-3, 175), who is currently committed to TCU.
Also expected on hand are Paradise Valley (AZ) Chaparal athlete Devonta Neal (5-9, 170), a big-time middle linebacker prospect in Dalton Santos (6-3, 250) of Van, Texas, Louisville (KY) Trinity offensive lineman Joey Warburg (6-6, 260), junior college wide receiver Demetrius Wilson (6-1, 175) and Marietta (GA) Lassiter linebacker/saftey Kenny Orjioke (6-4, 215) and St. Petersburg (FL) Gibbs cornerback Gary Simon (6-1, 180).
Throw in nine prospects already committed to the Razorbacks and it all adds up to a huge weekend for the grid program according to Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton.
“It is obviously a very important weekend for us,” Horton said. “The best part of it is the majority of the recruits coming are ones that we already have commitments from.
“This is also a weekend where we have some young men coming in that we would love to add to our program and that to what we think is an already great class,” Horton added.
Horton joked that no coach would ever say that his program is having a bad recruiting class.
But that he believes Arkansas – whose class is currently ranked 12th in the country by Scout.com after picking up the Thursday night commit of Waco cornerback Will Hines – can make that claim honestly.
“You know you are never going to have a coach come out and say “we just really had a bad recruiting year,’” Horton said. “We are certainly never going to do that here.
“But when you look at what we wanted to get as far as needs coming into this recruiting class and the quality of players, I can honestly say without any reservation that we feel like we have landed a great class already,” Horton said. “We have like three or four spots to get solidified now and that is what we are working toward doing right now.”
It is a great weekend for hosting recruits in that there is a home basketball game against Michigan Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. that the recruits will attend.
The Razorback football team – not so coincidentally - will be honored for their Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State, the 11-win season and top five finish in the national polls.
“Most of the kids we are bringing in this weekend have been on our campus before and many have have been to one of our football game with 70,000-plus people in the stands,” Horton said.
“But there are a few from farther away that have not been able to experience the Calling of the Hogs, the power and passion of our fans and just how electric it can be,” Horton added. “We are thrilled they will get to see that a basketball game this weekend that is supposed to be packed.”
The recruits will also have the opportunity to see the gymnastics meet on Friday night - followed by a pep rally at Barnhill at around 9 p.m. - and eat at the Catfish Hole on Saturday among other things.
The nine Arkansas pledges this weekend will be doing some recruiting of their own to finish out the class.
The future Razorbacks slated to be in Fayetteville for their official visits include four in-state prospects including East Poinsett County linebacker A.J. Turner (6-3, 210), Pottsville offensive linemen Jeremy Ward (6-4, 290), Bearden athlete Defonta Lowe (6-3, 180) and White Hall tight end/defensive end Jeremy Sprinkle (6-5, 215).
Also coming are out-of-state pledges in Owasso (OK) wideout Keon Hatcher (6-1, 205), Norman (OK) running back Donovan Roberts (6-0, 205), Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial WR-TB Nate Holmes, Memphis Ridgeway OL Cordale Boyd (6-3, 280) and Olive Branch (MS) wide receiver D’Arthur Cowan (6-3, 180).
“We do need to finish well and we are poised to do so,” Horton said. “We know some of the best recruiting that will happen will be from our committed guys who want these others with them in this class.”