FAYETTEVILLE — The final group of prospects visiting Arkansas' campus on official visits will return home today, signaling the end of the in-person contact period for the 2012 signing class.
FAYETTEVILLE — The final group of prospects visiting Arkansas’ campus on official visits will return home today, signaling the end of the in-person contact period for the 2012 signing class.
It also means Arkansas’ coaching staff is entering the final, and often times nerve-wracking, stretch before Wednesday’s national signing day.
“It’s kind of like when you’re in junior high and you’re trying to find out if that girl likes you,” Arkansas running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton said. “Sometimes for us we’re calling that high school coach, or someone you know at the high school, or calling a friend of a friend trying to figure out if this kid likes us or not.”
Arkansas will have plenty of reasons to be on the phones in the office this week, gathering as much information as possible for looming decisions that will impact the overall perception of its 2012 class.
The biggest name, of course, is Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. The nation’s top-rated recruit is wrapping up his final weekend visit at Missouri and will choose between the Tigers, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama during ESPNU’s signing day broadcast Wednesday.
But there are others making decisions soon, too, like Chicago Simeon High offensive tackle Jordan Diamond, Van (Texas) High linebacker Dalton Santos and Chaparral (Ariz.) High receiver Davonte Neal.
Land some of those prized prospects and Arkansas’ class could make a national impression. The Hogs’ current crop of verbal commitments were ranked No. 17 by Scout.com and No. 31 by Rivals.com on Saturday.
But no matter the final rankings, Horton believes Arkansas’ success on the field has helped the Razorbacks fill their needs on the recruiting trail.
“Right now we’ve got a good name brand,” Horton said. “Not just in the state of Arkansas, but nationwide.
“Most of the work was done before the Cotton Bowl. But at the same time there’s some key components to the class we’re not going to get until after the bowl and even two or three days or on signing day.”
Arkansas did pick up one more verbal commitment Friday afternoon, when North Bergen (N.J.) High linebacker Vin Ascolese chose the Razorbacks over Illinois, Texas A&M and Michigan State.
The three-star prospect became Arkansas’ 20th verbal commitment. Arkansas already has signed junior college defensive end Austin Flynn. The Razorbacks can sign as many as 25 players for its 2012 class.
“We’re excited about this recruiting class, the direction of the program,” Horton said as Arkansas’ coaches wrapped up work on the road. “We’re looking forward to getting back and getting to work with the 2012 Razorbacks when we get back in the office.”
Former Arkansas receiver Joe Adams and defensive end Jake Bequette wrapped up a week in Mobile, Ala., with the Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
Bequette spent the week working at a new position, playing outside linebacker in hopes of making an impression as a DE/OLB for any 3-4 defenses.
“Bequette had some good moments while learning the new position, but also looked at times like he was … learning a new position,” Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com wrote last week.
Adams made even more of an impression during one of the NFL’s biggest pre-draft events. Rob Rang, an NFL Draft analyst for CBSSports.com, named Adams to his Senior Bowl all-practice team for his work. Several other analysts wrote that Adams speed and versatility in Mobile certainly helped his draft stock.
“I can play any position,” Adams said during an interview with NEPatriotsDraft.net. “Wherever they put me on the field I’m just out there to make plays.”
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was named the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s SEC Offensive Player of the Year on Friday. The quarterback wasn’t the only one recognized during the club’s season-ending banquet, which was held at the Peabody Hotel.
Receiver Jarius Wright was named the Razorbacks’ player of the year. Tight end Garrett Uekman, who died Nov. 20, was the recipient of the Paul Eells Award.