Kirk: Pledge From Fayetteville Trio Has Razorbacks Right Where They Should Be

by Otis Kirk,  on Thursday, May. 24, 2012 10:26 am  

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Arkansas made it a clean sweep at Fayetteville High School on Tuesday when all three of the Bulldogs’ top recruits committed to the Razorbacks.

Arkansas picked up pledges from 4-star quarterback Austin Allen, 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, 3-star linebacker Brooks Ellis, 6-2, 215, and 3-star safety Alex Brignoni, 6-1, 190.

It was a nice day for Arkansas. Allen has received offers in recent weeks from Alabama, Oklahoma State, LSU and others. Ellis recently picked up an offer from Notre Dame among others while Brignoni had a good scrimmage Friday night in front of many college coaches. Several schools were in attendance Friday including Arkansas, represented by defensive coordinator Paul Haynes and cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen. Arkansas State's Rhett Lashlee was also present and had also made offers to the trio.

Allen is the son of Bobby Allen and the younger brother of Arkansas redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Allen. As a junior, Austin Allen passed for 4,150 yards and 46 touchdowns. In the state championship game, a 29-28 overtime victory over Bentonville at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, he passed for 376 yards and four touchdowns.

Ellis has a rating of 89 on 247Sports, which is just one point shy of a 4-star. Despite missing two games as a junior because of injury, Ellis had 86 tackles, nine for loss, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups. Ellis has a chance to play very early at Arkansas.

Brignoni led Fayetteville with 124 tackles last season while also picking off 10 passes, returning two for touchdowns. Brignoni had three tackles for loss as well.

Brignoni is an active safety and picked off a pass Friday. It was believed that before Haynes watched Brignoni play he would have to go to camp and earn a scholarship offer from the Razorbacks.

The trio of commitments from Fayetteville brings Arkansas' total to five pledges for the Class of 2013. What exactly do the three commitments mean to the Razorbacks? Is it players with ties to Arkansas they should have gotten or does it give Arkansas a chance to gain some momentum as the spring evaluation period comes to a conclusion Friday?

The truth is, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle of all that. With Allen's father working at the UA and his brother on the team, one would think the Hogs were the team to beat for him. Brignoni said in December that if the Razorbacks offered he would commit. Ellis is good friends with Allen and Brignoni and also happens to play a position where Arkansas will need some immediate help when he gets to campus.

However, there's no doubt this also gives the Arkansas coaches a chance to get a little momentum heading into the football camp June 10-12. While one could make a case maybe the athletes from Fayetteville were locks to become Razorbacks, a case could also be made the early commitment from them does bring some good news to a program that hasn't had a lot of good news since former coach Bobby Petrino's motorcycle wreck on April 1.

Allen's commitment allows Arkansas to be very selective with the second quarterback in this class. The Razorbacks didn't sign a quarterback last year so they have told the recruits they plan to sign two in this class. It will be interesting to see if Arkansas opts for a dual-threat quarterback with the other scholarship or if it goes for a pro-style quarterback. The bonus with a dual-threat would be he could always play another position if needed.

Arkansas will likely add at least two more linebackers to go with Ellis. One older linebacker Arkansas is evaluating right now is former North Little Rock and current Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College standout Martrell Spaight, 6-1, 220. Spaight made first-team All-Jayhawk Conference as a freshman in 2011 after finishing second on the team with 101 tackles. Spaight attended Arkansas' Red-White game and is also being recruited by Allen.



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