Otis Kirk's Recruiting 360: 'Important' Recruiting Weekend Ahead For No. 10 Razorbacks

by Otis Kirk, Hawgs247.com  on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 10:06 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas will host six official visitors and a long list of unofficials on Saturday during its game against No. 15 Auburn. It's possible close to 100 football recruits could be in attendance. Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton can't talk about specific recruits, but Horton is upbeat about the 10th-ranked Razorbacks and their recruiting efforts.

“We've got some seniors coming and some underclassmen coming,” Horton said. “This will be as important a week as we've had in a long time in terms of recruiting.”

Among the official visitors will be Las Vegas (Nev.) 4-star offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (6-foot-7, 285 pounds). Stanley has narrowed his decision down to 12 schools and this will be his first official visit of the five he's allowed by the NCAA to take.

Stanley's next official visit will be in two weeks when attends the USC and Notre Dame game. In addition to Arkansas and Notre Dame, Stanley is also considering USC, Arizona, Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Washington.

Arkansas overcame an 18-point deficit in Dallas last weekend to beat Texas A&M 42-38 in the Southwest Classic. Arkansas sent some coaches out on the road Friday night before that game though the 11 a.m. kickoff proved to be a bit of a hindrance in regards to recruiting.

“It worked out well,” Horton said. “One thing, because of the start time, we weren't able to go to as many games as we wanted to. In the past, we've always kind of covered Houston as well as Dallas. This year, we didn't get to cover Houston maybe as well as we would have liked because of the start time. It was good to get into some of those kid's schools and some of those kid's schools we were in are going to be on our campus this weekend so that's a bonus.”

Among the prospects Arkansas saw play this past Friday that will be in Fayetteville Saturday are Allen (Texas) 4-star running back Jonathan Williams (5-11, 205) and Plano (Texas) West outside linebacker Bryce Cottrell, (6-3, 225). Williams is considered to be among the top recruits in Texas by 247 Sports and is committed to Missouri. Arkansas has recruited him hard for a long time and hopes to flip him this weekend or at some point in the recruiting process. Cottrell is down to Arkansas and Oregon. He will be at Oregon next weekend on an official visit and then make a decision soon afterwards.

Manvel defensive end Taiwan Johnson (6-3, 235) is the other Texan slated to be in Fayetteville this weekend on an official visit. Johnson will be pushed for time since he plays Friday night and then he, his father and his sister will drive to Fayetteville. Arkansas, Nebraska, SMU, Rice and Oklahoma State are his favorites. This will be Johnson's first official visit.

Arkansas will also play host to Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge cornerback Ray Buchanan Jr. (5-11, 180) and Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins (5-10, 170). Buchanan is committed to Arkansas while Bivins is a verbal pledge to South Florida. Bivins said, in addition to Arkansas and USF, he is being recruited hard by Florida, North Carolina State and Iowa State. This will be Buchanan's first time to see Arkansas even though he has been committed for awhile.

Among the unofficial visitors will be Owasso (Okla.) wide receiver Keon Hatcher (6-2, 200) and Pottsville 4-star offensive lineman Jeremy Ward (6-4 ½, 288) both committed to Arkansas. A couple of recruits trying to make it to the game are Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest 5-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 225) and Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch 4-star running back Jamel James (5-11, 215). James is committed to Arkansas for the Class of 2013 while Green-Beckham is rated the No. 2 player in the nation by 247 Sports.

Horton said while impressing the recruits is very important, the Razorbacks know beating Auburn is the first and foremost thing they have to do this weekend.

“We've always felt like if you win games the recruits are going to want to come,” Horton said. “We've seen that over the last two to three years so there's no doubt what the most important thing is and that is to somehow beat Auburn.”



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