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Arkansas recruiting needs

1/27/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Arkansas looked like the SEC team at the end of the 2008 season that would be most likely to break through next season.

The Razorbacks played 25 freshmen, including 16 true freshmen, and were a few bounces away from being bowl eligible. This is Bobby Petrino's second recruiting class, and once again the Hogs are doing their best to upgrade the talent at every position.

The defensive side of the ball is where Arkansas needs to make up the most ground, and the Razorbacks have hit the cornerback and safety positions hard this recruiting period. Darius Winston of Helena, Ark., is the No. 3-rated cornerback prospect in the country by ESPN's Scouts Inc. He's also one of three players ranked among the state's top 5 prospects who has cast his lot with the Hogs.

David Gordon of Tulsa, Okla., is the No. 12-ranked cornerback prospect in the country and could also see early playing time in an Arkansas secondary that was extremely young last season.

Offensively, one of the priorities was to get more physical in the running game and find some bigger running backs. The Hogs love what Michael Smith brings to the table, but he's only 167 pounds. They struggled in short-yardage situations last season and hope Knile Davis of Missouri City, Texas, can fill that void along with fullback prospect Jahron Brown of Dallas, Ga.

Don't forget about Southern California transfer Broderick Green, either. He's a 235-pound bruiser who's already in school.

The Razorbacks, who are obviously throwing the ball much more under Petrino than they ever did under Houston Nutt, will be looking for receiving threats every year. They also wanted to load up on offensive linemen with two of their starters from a year ago departing, including All-American center Jonathan Luigs.