Otis Kirk: Recruits Keeping An Eye On Razorbacks As Jeff Long Searches For Coach

by Otis Kirk, Hawgs247.com  on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012 9:28 am  

Jeff Long is searching for a new Arkansas coach while recruits wait. (Photo by University of Arkansas)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino and is now searching for a new football coach, but the ramifications of a coaching change go beyond who will be the new coach on the Razorback sidelines this fall.

Arkansas has signed 25 recruits for the Class of 2012 with two of them on campus and the rest expected to report in the next couple of months. Los Angeles Harbor (Calif.) Junior College defensive end Austin Flynn and Fayetteville tight end Demetrius Dean enrolled at midterm.

The other 23 recruits are left shaken concerning what has happened in Arkansas in the past few days. However, the majority of the recruits have said they still plan to honor the pledge they made to Arkansas when they signed with them on Feb. 1.

The Razorbacks didn't have as much luck with Class of 2013 commit wide receiver Austin Bennett of Manvel (Texas). Bennett talked to his father last night and said later that he is now de-committed from Arkansas. He's still considering the Razorbacks, but is now taking a visit to West Virginia as well as other places. Arkansas' other commitment for 2013, Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch running back Jamel James has decommitted, but is following Arkansas' situation pretty closely.

A few 4-star signees such as Owasso (Okla.) wide receiver Keon Hatcher, Pottsville offensive lineman Jeremy Ward, East Poinsett County linebacker A.J. Turner, Allen (Texas) running back Jonathan Williams and Covington (La.) linebacker Otha Peters all insist they still plan to play for the Razorbacks.

“I'm the last person they need to worry about,” Ward said. “I was working out when (walk-on commit offensive lineman) Ben Benton texted me and told me.”

Williams has been one of Arkansas' most vocal recruits since he switched his commitment from Missouri to Arkansas. Williams actively recruited several other athletes to Fayetteville with him and still excited about being a Razorback.

“I'm a 100-percent Razorback,” Williams said. “I signed with the school, not a coach. Coach Petrino was a big part of the reason I signed with Arkansas, but Arkansas is a great school too.”

Peters signed with Arkansas over Tennessee and when contacted following Petrino's firing said he has no regrets.

“You don't have to worry about me,” Peters said. “I'm all Hog.”


Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said Tuesday night he would begin the search immediately for a new coach.



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