Otis Kirk's Recruiting 360: Cowan 12th Commitment For Razorbacks' 2012 Class

by Otis Kirk, HawgSports.com Recruiting Analyst  on Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011 10:17 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas has a dozen commitments for the Class of 2012 with the latest being Olive Branch (Miss.) wide receiver D'Arthur Cowan.

Cowan (6-foot-2, 175 pounds, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash) committed to Arkansas on Wednesday ending over a week of speculation that he would be the next recruit to say yes to the Razorbacks. Cowan, who had seven offers, chose Arkansas over Mississippi State and Alabama. In addition to his trio of favorites, Cowan had offers to Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State and Memphis. Rivals.com rates him a 3-star recruit and the No. 10 player in Mississippi.

As a junior, Cowan caught 31 passes for 608 yards and 9 touchdowns. Cowan recently played in the Southwest Classic 7-on-7 Tournament at Shiloh Christian and also attended the Junior/Senior Prospect Camp at Arkansas on July 16. Cowan said during the 7-on-7 tournament that Arkansas was his leader and then said immediately after the camp at Arkansas that it was 80-percent certain he would commit to Arkansas.

In addition to Cowan, Arkansas has two other commitments at wide receiver thus far. According to a source close to Arkansas, it's expected the Razorbacks will sign approximately five wide receivers in this class. Of course, one of Arkansas' top targets continues to be Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest's Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 220, 4.4). Fans in Arkansas will get a chance to see Green-Beckham in person on Sept. 1 when his team faces Rogers Heritage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium as part of a triple-header that day. Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama and many others are linked to Green-Beckham.

The other wide receivers currently committed to Arkansas are 4-star Jalen Cobb (6-2, 185, 4.6) of Warren and Longview (Texas) speedster Eric Hawkins (5-11, 172, 4.32). Hawkins is rated a 3-star while Cobb is rated the No. 36 wide receiver in the nation by Rivals.com as well as the No. 2 player in the state. Arkansas will lose three senior wide receivers following the season and thus has a need for immediate help in that area.

At running back, Arkansas is expected to sign two in this class. Norman (Okla.) High School's Donovan Roberts (6-0, 203, 4.49) chose Arkansas over Michigan, Pittsburgh, Tulsa and others. As a junior, Roberts carried 308 times for 2,002 yards and 32 touchdowns. Rivals.com rates him a 3-star recruit, the No. 25 running back in the nation and the No. 4 player in Oklahoma. If junior Knile Davis were to opt for the NFL a year early then the Razorbacks may pursue a junior college running back. If it appears Davis will return for his senior season, then the Razorbacks may look more at the high-school ranks for its other running back in this class.

Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial athlete Nate Holmes (6-1, 165, 4.4) was one of the first commitments in this class. Rivals.com rates him a 3-star and No. 65 athlete in the nation. Holmes played running back at the recent Junior/Senior Prospect Camp at Arkansas, but his future position at Arkansas is uncertain. Holmes could play wide receiver as well as running back or he could even end up in the secondary.

The offensive line is another area of concern for Arkansas in this class. They are off to a fast start with commitments from Pottsville's Jeremy Ward (6-4 1/2, 287, 5.21) and Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway's Cordale Boyd (6-3, 290, 5.2). Ward and Boyd are both 3-star recruits according to Rivals.com. Ward is also rated the No. 23 offensive guard nationally and the No. 3 recruit in Arkansas. Ward also had offers to LSU, Ole Miss and Arkansas State. Boyd is rated the No. 29 offensive guard in the country and No. 16 recruit in Tennessee by Rivals.com. Boyd had offers to Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina and others. Alabama also was after both Ward and Boyd and indicated to both they would offer if either would visit Tuscaloosa. It appears Arkansas will sign at least five offensive linemen with tackle being a priority with the remaining slots to fill.

At defensive end, Arkansas has commitments from Memphis Ridgeway's Brandon Lewis (6-5, 220, 4.65) and White Hall's Jeremy Sprinkle (6-6, 210, 4.6). Lewis committed to Arkansas following the camp on July 16. Lewis was one of the top recruits in attendance and showed outstanding skills at the camp. Ole Miss and Mississippi State were among his other scholarship offers. Rivals.com rates him the No. 22 recruit in Tennessee as well as a 3-star. Sprinkle is also a 3-star recruit and No. 6 recruit in Arkansas according to Rivals.com. Sprinkle was the Defensive MVP at Arkansas' three-day camp in June. Sprinkle could also end up at wide receiver or tight end. As a junior, Sprinkle caught three touchdown passes on offense while on defense he had 73 tackles and 15 sacks. Lewis had 11 sacks as a junior and is considered an outstanding pass rusher.

Arkansas is expected to add at least one more defensive end and probably two interior linemen on defense.

At linebacker, the Razorbacks will likely sign at least four recruits. They currently have commitments from East Poinsett County's A.J. Turner (6-3, 208, 4.5) and Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby's Jakarri Thomas (6-2, 195, 4.5) both are rated 3-star recruits. As a junior, Thomas had 111 tackles, including 50 unassisted, 13 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 2 breakups and 3 fumble recoveries. Thomas chose Arkansas over several schools and had at least 14 other offers in addition to Arkansas. Among Thomas' top offers were Illinois, Miami, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Vandy, Maryland, Kentucky and Louisville. Turner is rated the No. 5 recruit in Arkansas by Rivals.com. As a junior, Turner rushed 49 times for 457 yards and 10 touchdowns, caught 30 passes for 670 yards and 11 touchdowns and 177 tackles and one interception on defense.

In the secondary, Arkansas is expected to try and add at least three cornerbacks and maybe a couple of safeties. Arkansas has a commitment from Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall cornerback John Gibson, (5-10, 172, 4.48). Gibson has seven offers and is also expected to compete at punt returner when senior Joe Adams leaves following the 2011 season.

Arkansas is also expected to sign a quarterback and a tight end in this class too. It's uncertain who will fill the slot at quarterback though one possibility is Memphis Ridgeway's Jamil Golden (6-4, 206, 4.68). At tight end, it's no secret the Razorbacks would love to add Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College's Blake Jackson (6-4, 235, 4.5).



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