July 27, 2006

Hawg Heaven in 2007?

Just looking at the list of stars, it's pretty obvious that the state of Arkansas is not just deep, but full of quantity this year.

Since 2002, the highest amount of prospects rated three stars or higher was at it's highest in 2005 with 12. This year's list caps off at 15. This outstanding group contains five players rated four-stars with three of those being in the top 10 at their respective positions. While Arkansas is greatly vested into keeping as many players as possible to stay home, national attention is definitely focused heavily on the Natural State.

So far, Arkansas has managed to land six of the top 15 prospects, but that didn't stop Southern Cal from getting an early commitment from big, physically running back Broderick Green. Texas snatched Springdale, Ark., tight end Zack Pianalto and Ole Miss received a June commitment from Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside offensive tackle Paul Henry.

Nonetheless, the state's top prospect, Rivals100 offensive tackle Lee Ziemba remains undecided. Though many people don't see Ziemba going anywhere but Arkansas, he continues to talk about taking more visits on top of the several he's already been to.

This big class loaded top to bottom wasn't exactly a mystery going when coverage began of the 2007 class. As juniors, quarterback Kodi Burns, tight end Grant Freeman, offensive tackle Grant Cook, and private school signal caller Crosby Tuck were already making their names known.

But, how many more prospects will get out of state by Signing Day?

Quarterback Burns plans to decide within the next couple of weeks with a decision most likely between the in-state Hawgs and Auburn. Oklahoma State and Kansas State are battling Arkansas for the commitment of Rivals250 tight end David Williams.

Arkansas will most likely continue to work on Southern California running back commit Green who continues to talk about visits he'd like to take. Green hails from Little Rock's Pulaksi Academy where Razorbacks head coach Houston Nutt has had tremendous success signing kids from during his tenure in Fayetteville.

Other prospects that round out the state's top 15 include Brett Moncrief who likes Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas. Three-star linebacker Jamie Jones holds scholarship offers from several schools such as Kansas State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. He seems to have very high interest not only in Arkansas but also Alabama. Neither has offered up to this point.

Throw in Osceola wide receiver Cam Baker, who recently ran a blistering 4.3-second 40-yard dash at the Hawgs prospect camp and who has offers from Georgia Tech and Tennessee, Kansas State-bound athlete A.J. Whitmore, Mississippi State fullback recruit Ethan Stockett and others and it indeed is a deep year in the Natural State.

It's anybody's guess as to why this year differs from the rest other than a solid crop of juniors who had the talent which got them noticed very early in the process. However, credit is also due to the high school programs in Arkansas that continue to produce better players year in and year out.

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