The majority of the top players in the state of Arkansas have made their verbal commitments in preparation for National Signing Day on Feb. 1. Without any major changes come Wednesday, the Razorbacks will be the college of choice for four of the top eight in-state recruits that have made their verbal announcements.
Three-star safety Defonta Lowe from Bearden, Ark., tops the list of in-state players committed to the Razorbacks. Lowe committed to Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino in September, becoming the 14th recruit in Arkansas’ class.
Lowe was a quarterback for Bearden High School but will move to safety in college. Rivals.com ranked Lowe the third best prospect in the state of Arkansas.
Jeremy Ward, a 3-star offensive lineman from Pottsville, Ark., was the second player to commit to the Hogs in February of 2011. Before the 2011 recruiting class had a chance to fax in their letters of intent, 4-star wide receiver Jalen Cobb from Warren, Ark., chose to be a Razorback.
By mid-April, 3-star East Poinsett County linebacker A.J. Turner added his name to the Razorbacks list, with 3-star defensive end Jeremy Sprinkle from White Hall following suit in June of 2011.
In all, the Razorbacks collected verbal pledges from five of the top seven players in the state. Unfortunately for the Hogs, Cobb’s scholarship offer was reportedly withdrawn because of possible academic issues. Cobb has not committed to another team to date.
The Hogs will lose out on the top-rated player in the state for the third year in a row as 4-star running back Zac Brooks from Jonesboro will sign with Clemson. He received clearance to enroll in classes on Jan. 13.
In all fairness to the Razorback coaching staff, Brooks transferred from the East Coast finishing out his college prep career in Arkansas. He has family in Georgia and let it be known early that he wanted to attend school closer to his family.
The last top-ranked player from in-state to sign with the Hogs was 5-star cornerback Darius Winston from West Helena in 2009.
The exodus of 5-star quarterback Kiehl Frazier in 2011 and 5-star running back Michael Dyer in 2010 to Auburn can be directly linked to current Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Gus Malzahn.
Malzahn, a former high school head coach in Springdale, was the offensive coordinator for the Tigers from 2009-2011. His influence weighed heavily on both prospects to join him at Auburn. So much so that Dyer, a sophomore with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the SEC, transferred from Auburn after the fall semester to follow Malzahn to Arkansas State.
Malzahn, a first-year head coach on the collegiate level, has ASU in line to reap the benefit of the rest of the in-state talent not offered by the Razorbacks. Of the 22 Arkansas players set to sign with Division 1-A schools, the Red Wolves have verbal pledges from 10.
Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Purdue and SMU have all grabbed Arkansas recruits.
Brad Culp, a 3-star wide receiver prospect from Fayetteville and the state's No. 10 ranked player, has not made a verbal commitment to date. He visited North Carolina on Jan 25 and Arkansas State on Jan. 27. ASU, Memphis and Ole Miss have reportedly offered Culp a scholarship.
Here’s a list Arkansas recruits that have a verbal commitment to Division 1-A schools:
RB Zac Brooks, 4-star, Jonesboro, Clemson
FS Defonte Lowe, 3-star, Bearden, Arkansas
LB A.J. Turner, 3-star, Lepanto, Arkansas
OL Jeremy Ward, 3-star, Pottsville, Arkansas
OL Jemar Clark, 3-star, McCrory, Arkansas State
DE Jeremy Sprinkle, 3-star, White Hall, Arkansas
RB Kenneth Dixon, 3-star, Louisiana Tech
QB Neal Burcham, 3-star, Greenbrier, SMU
CB Marquis Walker, 3-star, Rison, Arkansas State
OG Jason King, 2-star, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock), Purdue
LB Quanterio Heath, 2-star, Rison, Arkansas State
DE Jeff Savage, 2-star, Smackover, ULM
SS Quincy Hardwell, 2-star, El Dorado, ULM
QB Fredi Knighten, 2-star, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock), Arkansas State
CB Derek Keaton, 2-star, Camden, Arkansas State
WR Warren Leapheart, 2-star, Morrilton, Arkansas State
QB Dezmond Stegall, 2-star, Searcy, Louisiana Tech
OG Colton Jackson, 2-star, Ozark, Arkansas State
WR Ajalen Holley, 2-star, Lakeside (Hot Springs), ULM
RB DeKeathan Williams, not rated, Central (Little Rock), Arkansas State
OG Austin Moreton, not rated, Southside (Fort Smith), Arkansas State
DE Darrius Rosser, not rated, Marion, Arkansas State
National Signing Day is Feb 1. All verbal commitments are non-binding.