Once the smoke cleared on a busy national signing day for the Razorbacks, head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff had amassed one of the best recruiting classes in his tenure at Arkansas snagging five 4-star recruits and 19 3-star recruits.
A few twists and turns aside including a couple of surprise signees, the Hogs class is full of promising prospects at every position. In total the Razorbacks signed 23 players that were listed in the top 100 or better at their individual positions. None of the signees were rated 2-star or below.
The biggest surprise of the day was the addition of former Alabama commitment Darius Philon (Prichard, AL) and former Fayetteville Bulldogs tight end Demetrius Dean.
Dean was a 3-star prospect who signed with Arkansas in 2011 but did not join the team for fall practices. Coming out of high school he was listed at 6’3”, 245 pounds, and was ranked as the sixth-best player in the state of Arkansas per Rivals.com.
Because of Dean’s versatility, size and athleticism he could line up as a tight end or fullback in college. The nationally ranked 28th-best tight end in the 2011 class will join the Hogs as a scholarship player this spring.
At Bobby Petrino’s national signing day press conference Wednesday evening, he said he was unsure if Dean’s scholarship would count against the 2011 class or the 2012 class.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the addition of Darius Philon, 6’1”, 282 pounds. He had been an Alabama commitment since decommitting from Auburn in September.
Come signing day, Alabama head coach Nick Saban asked Philon to grey-shirt until the spring of 2013. Instead he decided to sign with the Razorbacks over Alabama, joining his Vigor high school teammate Ja’Michael Winston in Fayetteville becoming of one Arkansas’ final recruits on national signing day.
Philon’s size and speed could make him a defensive tackle at the college level.
With one remaining scholarship left, Arkansas may not be finished adding top talent to their 2012 recruiting class.
The only recruit that was previously committed to Arkansas but opted to sign with another school was junior college wide receiver Courtney Gardner.
Gardner, a 4-star prospect from Rocklin, CA, was reportedly a couple of classes short of meeting SEC enrollment standards. To avoid taking the extra classes needed to fulfill SEC requirements, on Wednesday Gardner officially signed a letter of intent with University of Oklahoma.
Here’s a list of the 2012 Arkansas Razorback recruiting class, via hawgsillustrated.com:
OG Cordale Boyd, 3-star, 6’3”, 290 pounds, Memphis, TN
OG Jeremy Ward, 3-star, 6’4”, 275 pounds, Pottsville, AR
WR D’Arthur Cowan, 3-star, 6’1’, 175 pounds, Olive Branch, MS
WR Keon Hatcher, 4-star, 6’1”, 195 pounds, Owasso, OK
WR Eric Hawkins, 3-star, 6’5”, 220, Longview, TX
WR Demetrius Wilson, 3-star, 6’2”, 170 pounds, Glendale, AZ
RB Jonathan Williams, 4-star, 5’11”, 205 pounds, Allen, TX
RB Nathan Holmes, 3-star, 6’1”, 180 pounds, Port Arthur, TX
RB Donovan Roberts, 3-star, 6’0”, 200 pounds, Norman, OK
TE Jeremy Sprinkle, 3-star, 6’6”, 215, White Hall, AR
TE Demetrius Dean, 3-star, 6’4”, 235, Fayetteville, AR
CB Ray Buchanan Jr., 3-star, 5’10”, 170 pounds, Suwannee, GA
CB Jared Collins, 3-star, 5’11”, 170 pounds, Tulsa, OK
FS Will Hines, 3-star, 6’1”, 175 pounds, Waco, TX
SS Defonta Lowe, 3-star, 6’2”, 180 pounds, Bearden, AR
LB A.J. Turner, 3-star, 6’3”, 200 pounds, Lepanto, AR
LB Vin Ascolese, 3-star, 6’2”, 215 pounds, New Bergen, NJ
LB Otha Peters, 4-star, 6’1”, 220 pounds, Covington, LA
DE Brandon Lewis, 3-star, 6’5”, 220 pounds, Memphis, TN
DE JaMichael Winston, 3-star, 6’6”, 230 pounds, Prichard, AL
DE Deatrich Wise Jr., 4-star, 6’5”, 220, Carrolton, TX
DE Taiwan Johnson, 4-star, 6’3”, 230 pounds, Manvel, TX
DE Darius Philon, 3-star, 6’1”, 282, Prichard, AL
DE *#Austin Flynn, 3-star, 6’4”, 250 pounds, Los Angeles Harbor CC
*Already enrolled at University of Arkansas
# Denotes junior college player
Position by position breakdown of Arkansas 2012 verbal commitments:
Offensive line: two
Running backs: three
Wide receivers: four
Tight ends: two
Defensive line: six
How the recruiting services ranked Arkansas:
Scout.com No. 21
Rivals.com No. 31
247Sports.com No. 27