Otis Kirk's Recruiting 360: Arkansas Will Entertain a Host of Football Recruits This Weekend With Few Slots Left

by Otis Kirk, HawgSports.com Recruiting Analyst  on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 1:08 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

"They use the tight end well," Peterson said. "It's impressive that Williams won that award. I love to block, but I also like to get touches. Arkansas allows you to showcase all your skills as a tight end."

Barnett is a 4-star recruit and is considered one of the prize catches for Petrino and his staff in this class.

"I feel my size and speed combination makes it tough for a defense to cover me," Barnett said. "If they try to cover me with a linebacker then my speed hurts them. If they cover me with a defensive back, then my size works to my advantage. I think I can and expect to help Arkansas immediately."

The only negative for Barnett is he had knee surgery for an ACL injury and won't be back and ready for contact again until about the time the Razorbacks report in the fall. Regardless of that, Barnett is a big-time talent and absolute worse-case scenario is he redshirts and then has four seasons after that though most expect Barnett to play immediately.

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When Petrino came to Arkansas, the defensive line was very thin and not up to SEC standards.

In three years, Petrino and his staff have built the line into possibly the strength of the defense. On Wednesday, Lake Butler (Fla.) Union County defensive lineman Lonnie Gosha (6-3, 270, 4.8) cast his lot with the Razorbacks. The 4-star chose Arkansas over Miami. Earlier in the process, Gosha had committed to Florida State over Georgia and Alabama as well as Miami and Arkansas. However, Gosha opted to decommit to the Seminoles and they filled up at his spot as did the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs. Arkansas brought Gosha in for an official visit on Oct. 30 when they played host to Vanderbilt and he was impressed.

"I was impressed with the coaches, players, facilities and everything about Arkansas," Gosha said. "I loved the weight room and stadium."

Gosha isn't the only defensive lineman in this class either. Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College's Robert Thomas (6-2, 330, 4.93) signed with the Razorbacks in December and plans to start classes on Tuesday. Nowata (Okla.) two-way lineman Austin Beck (6-8, 300, 5.2) also can play defense, but could be on offense. Beck also starts classes at the UA on Tuesday.

Expected to sign on Feb. 2 are Lufkin (Texas) defensive end Darrell Kelly-Thomas (6-4, 225, 4.65), Monroe (La.) Neville defensive tackle Demarcus Hodge (6-1, 300, 5.0) and Malvern's Grady Ollison (6-4, 273, 4.9).

In addition, among the recruits slated to be at Arkansas this weekend is 4-star defensive tackle Mickey Johnson (6-1, 310, 4.9) of Covington, La., and then next weekend Shreveport (La.) Evangel 4-star defensive end Jermauria Rasco (6-4, 250, 4.6) will visit. Johnson is down to Arkansas, LSU and Tennessee while Rasco has Florida State, LSU, Alabama, Florida and the Razorbacks on his list of finalists. Covington will visit Tennessee on Jan. 21 weekend and then announce on Jan. 28. Rasco hasn't set a date for his announcement, but could take it down to the end or close to National Signing Day. Florida State may be the team to beat for Rasco, though LSU reportedly also likes its chances.

Otis Kirk has covered Arkansas recruiting for more than three decades. His regular reports and premium insider information can be found at Hawgsports.com, a member of the Rivals.com recruiting network.



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