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Cleaning out the 2009 football recruiting class notebook a week after signing day:
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Hargrave Military Academy offensive lineman Anthony Oden (6-8, 318) has now signed twice with the University of Arkansas, but he admits inking the 2009 letter-of-intent felt much better than the 2008 one.
“This one feels much better,” Oden said a few minutes after putting pen to pad. “But this time I know I am going to make it to campus. I didn’t know that last time.”
Oden, the younger brother of NBA player Greg Oden, has gone from a 6-8, 280-pound unknown tight end to a 6-8, 318-pound, four-star offensive tackle according to Scout.com.
“When he first came to us he was very raw, but he is now a guy that has a chance to step in and play on the major college level,” Hargrave offensive line coach Matt Roan said. “He has taken everything we have taught him and put it to good use. He thinks like an offensive lineman now. He is on you until the whistle blows and can be a mean one.”
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The last decision to be publicly announced on signing date was that of Bastrop (LA) High defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones (6-5, 305).
Jones, a four-star prospect according to Scout.com, took a visit to Arkansas on Jan. 9-11 – what turned out to be an amazing weekend for the Razorbacks.
He knew at that point he was likely going to play his college football in Fayetteville, but the UA coaches had some worrisome nights as he took visits to Michigan and Tennessee.
“I just think it is the best place for me,” Jones said. “Arkansas is a great place and the chance to play in the SEC really is big for me."
Jones was one of two committed defensive tackles to bail on Michigan with Pearlie Graves, UA signee David Gordon’s teammate at Tulsa East Central, signing with Texas Tech instead.
Scout.com and other recruiting services had listed Jones at 6-4, 265 for the longest, but that was what he was entering his junior season.
By the time he finished his senior season, he was 6-5, 305.
“I am a pretty big old boy,” Jones said.
Jones and Muskogee defensive tackle Robert Thomas (6-2, 311) give the Razorbacks two inside guys to go with defensive ends Colton Nash (6-7, 260) and Ryan Calendar (6-8, 235) – although Calender could also end up at tight end.
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Jones was one of the players that UA signee, Cobi Hamilton, Ronnie Wingo and Terrell Williams called after they committed.
That trio also visited Jan. 9-11.
Hamilton, the Texas High wideout who no doubt endeared himself to many by choosing Arkansas over Texas, noted that a bond among several guys who ended up being Razorbacks was formed that weekend.
“We just all had a good vibe that weekend with each other,” Hamilton said. “ Ronnie, Darius Winston, Terrell Williams, the other Turell Williams and myself – we just got along and we talked about doing big things together at Arkansas.
“The Razorbacks were 5-7 last year, but they have a lot of talent on hand and coming and there were just a few games where they weren’t in it in the fourth quarter last season,” Hamilton added. “The future is bright at Arkansas.”
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There are many who would like to bill tailback Wingo as the second coming of former Razorback superstar and current Oaklan Raider Darren McFadden.
Wingo, who sporting a Razorback stocking cap during his signing and whose dad had a Razorback jacket on, is not one of those.
"I’m going to be the next Ronnie Wingo," Wingo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I don’t want to be McFadden. It’s cool to bring up comparisons. I respect him and his game, but I want to make a name for myself."
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Arkansas’ 2009 recruiting class finished 15th nationally according to Rivals.com, 20thth per ESPN and 21st in Scout.com ratings.
Just like last year when Michigan quarterback transfer Ryan Mallett was not included in those rankings, USC running back transfer Broderick Green is not included in this year’s.
Photo courtesy of Surburban Journal