Hogs lure in pack of prized prospects for visits

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Friday, January 20, 2012

— Arkansas is bringing in what some believe is the most talented group of football prospects to ever set foot on campus this weekend.

Of the 20 prospects scheduled to make official visits, four are rated among the nation’s top 100 by CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. That group includes the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6-6, 220-pound receiver from Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds.

“This is a great group,” Lemming said. “This will go down as one of the best gatherings of recruits ever on the Arkansas campus on any particular day. The key is to get a good number of them to commit.”

Others among Lemming’s top 100 include the No. 32 prospect, Spring (Texas) Dekaney running back Trey Williams, 5-8, 181, 4.37; the No. 67 prospect, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral receiver Davonte Neal, 5-10, 172, 4.37, and the No. 68 prospect, Chicago Simeon offensive tackle Jordan Diamond, 6-6,300, 5.29.

Lemming said the group is among the best that any school in the country has entertained.

“This is one of the biggest of the year,” Lemming said. “Razorback fans ought to enjoy it and hopefully keep their fingers crossed, especially on some of the bigger names like Dorial, Davonte Neal, Jordan Diamond. These are All-Americans.”

Other top prospects visiting this weekend include Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter safety/linebacker Kenny Orjioke, 6-3, 217, 4.53; Missouri City (Texas) Hightower receiver Bralon Addison, 5-11, 182, 4.5; Van, Texas, linebacker Dalton Santos, 6-3, 246, 4.60 , and St. Petersburg (Fla.) Gibbs cornerback Gary Simon, 6-1, 180.

Orjioke has orally committed to UCLA, while Addison is committed to Texas A&M and Santos is committed to Tennessee. Oral commitments are nonbinding.

Lemming has compared Green-Beckham to former NFL great Randy Moss, saying Green-Beckham is as good as Moss was when he came out of high school.

“He’s the kind of guy that can be the difference in Arkansas beating an Alabama or LSU,” Lemming said. “He’s an impact player on offense that could change the course of a game. He’s the kind of guy that can do that. He’s that big of a talent.

“Whoever gets him, I think, has instant offense and an instant impact guy.”

Neal was named Gatorade’s Player of the Year in Arizona for a second consecutive season after rushing 100 times for 1,317 yards and 16 touchdowns and making 62 receptions for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. Lemming described Neal is one of the more electrifying athletes in the nation as well.

“He can play wingback, he can return kicks, play cornerback,” Lemming said. “He’s one of the best guys out in space in the nation. He has a lot of wiggle to him and has great open-field moves.”

Diamond has officially visited Auburn, Ohio State and Michigan, and Lemming believes he isn’t close to reaching his potential.

“He hasn’t scratched the surface of his talent, mainly because he’s at Simeon public school that doesn’t have a lot of coaches,” Lemming said. “He has enormous potential. He can bend his knees, he’s very athletic, and he’s big and he’s tough. He’s just not technically sound yet. “

Williams rushed for more than 3,800 yards as a senior and is an elite prospect who is expected to make an immediate impact in college.

“I thought he was the best small back in the country by the end of the year,” Lemming said, “better than Barry Sanders Jr.”

Addison played quarterback and was named the offensive player of the year by the Houston Touchdown Club.

“He’s only 5-11, so a lot of people like him at other positions because he’s so fast and athletic,” Lemming said. “He and Trey Williams are the two top athletes in Houston this year.”

Lemming also thinks highly of the fast and physical Santos.

“An outstanding player, a thumper,” Lemming said. “He’s another guy that plays the game on his feet and is very productive.”

Not long after Arkansas hired Bobby Petrino as its coach in December 2007, Lemming predicted the Razorbacks would be able to recruit nationally and pull in their share of top talent.

“Now it’s all coming to fruition,” he said. “You knew it with Petrino. There’s a few guys out there that it’s going to happen. Now it’s the matter of landing the big-name guys.

“They’ve talked them into coming, which never happened with the previous regime.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 21 on 01/20/2012


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.