The John L. Smith era netted its' first football commitment yesterday when Denham Springs, Louisiana…
Arkansas Lands Blanchard
Denham Springs (LA) tailback Kaleb Blanchard (6-1, 210) committed to the Razorbacks on Wednesday afternoon.
"Arkansas has always been the school that I have loved and when I got a message today that they were ready for me to commit, I didn't waste any time," Blanchard said. "My grandmother lives in Arkansas and is a big Razorback fan and she is going to be so excited.
"When I first came up there, I just fell in love with the school and the area and knew it was where I wanted to be," Blanchard said.
The Razorbacks hired former assistant John L. Smith Tuesday as head coach for this season to replace the ousted Bobby Petrino.
"I had been ready to commit since Junior Day, but with everything going on with Coach Petrino, the Arkansas coaches wanted to just let everything settle down," Blanchard said. "The key thing here is I am committing to a school and not a head coach. Arkansas is an SEC school and they are going to get a great head coach."
He did want to make sure of one thing before committing and that was that running back coach Tim Horton would be around.
Horton and Arkansas defensive ends Coach Steve Caldwell have headed up Blanchard's recruitment.
"I know everybody loves Coach Smith and he is is on a 10-month contract to take care of this season s," Blanchard said. "I did want to make sure Coach Horton wasn't going anywhere because I have such a great relationship with him.
"Coach Horton told me he was born in Arkansas, played at Arkansas and wants to coach me at Arkansas," Blanchard added. "I want him to."
Blanchard chose Arkansas over offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Schools such as LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn, Oregon, Florida State, Kansas State and Notre Dame were also showing interest.
"But I am committed to Arkansas and won't be changing my mind no matter who the head coach is," Blanchard said. "I am a Razorback and I am very honored and blessed to be one."
He rushed for a school-record 1,799 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore while averaging over 10 yards per carry.
A shoulder injury limited Blanchard to just four games as a junior in which he rushed for 550 yards on 40 carries.
Blanchard becomes Arkansas' first 2013 commitment seeing as how Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch tailback Jamel James and Manvel (Texas) wideout Austin Bennett both decommited after Petrino was fired.
Both of those prospects say they are still considering Arkansas.
"I'm excited about this season – it's going to be a great one for Arkansas," Blanchard said. "I am going to do my best to tell others what's so great about Arkansas and that is where they need to be as well."
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