We told you this morning about an athlete that won’t play college football for the Razorbacks.
The good news, however, is that 24 of the baddest football playing mammer-jammers in the United States of America did pledge a commitment to play football for the Hogs today.
We kind of like 2012 linebacker signee Vin Ascolese’s attitude about the whole situation.
“I’ve signed with Arkansas, and I’m looking forward to hitting those who didn’t,” Ascolese said after signing his letter of intent on Wednesday. We love him already.
Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino introduced the new signees at a press conference held at the Broyles Center this afternoon.
“We’re excited about our fifth recruiting class,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the hard work our coaches did in putting this class together.”
It is possible that Arkansas could add a recruit or two in the next few days, but a majority of the 2012 class is in place.
Welcome to Arkansas, dudes.
Player descriptions provided by UA Athletics:
Vin Ascolese | LB | 6-3 | 220 | North Bergen, N.J. (North Bergen HS)
A three-year contributor while playing for his grandfather, Vincent, at North Bergen High School, Ascolese was a Parade All-American and also played in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz. He made more than 300 tackles with 22 sacks in his high school career. He helped lead the Bruins to the Group IV New Jersey state title with 134 tackles, including 57 for loss, 12 sacks, eight forced fumbles and three interceptions in 2011. As a junior, Ascolese made 90 tackles with five sacks and recovered one fumble as North Bergen advanced to the semifinal round of the playoffs. In 2009, he recorded 85 tackles, five sacks and one interception as a sophomore. Ascolese chose Arkansas over Illinois, Cincinnati, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Cordale Boyd | OL | 6-3 | 303 | Memphis, Tenn. (Ridgeway HS)
Boyd was the leader of the offensive line at Ridgeway High School as a three-year starter. He was regarded as the No. 35 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com and as the 40th-best offensive guard in the country by 247Sports.com. In 2011, Ridgeway advanced to the third round of the playoffs and Boyd was an All-State honoree. As a junior, he helped the Roadrunners to a 13-1 record with an appearance in the Tennessee Class 5A semifinals and was named first-team All-District 15AAA for his efforts. Boyd earned the starting left tackle spot as a sophomore and was one of the main reasons Ridgeway rushed for more than 3,500 yards in 2009. He selected Arkansas over Vanderbilt, Auburn, Stanford, Duke and Miami (Fla.). He was coached at Ridgeway by Duron Sutton, where he was teammates with fellow signee Brandon Lewis.
Ray Buchanan Jr. | CB | 5-11 | 180 | Suwanee, Ga. (Peachtree Ridge HS)
Buchanan Jr. was ranked as the 59th-best cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com. In his senior season, he made 39 tackles, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, one safety and one forced fumble and was selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl held at Cowboys Stadium. The Lions put together an 8-3 record in 2011 and advanced to the Georgia 5A state playoffs. He recorded 30 tackles in five games as a junior before suffering an injury. Buchanan Jr., selected Arkansas after receiving interest from multiple schools, including Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Louisville and Illinois. He was coached at Peachtree Ridge by Bill Ballard and Mark Fleetwood. His father was drafted in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and spent 12 seasons in the NFL playing for the Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders.
Jared Collins | CB | 6-0 | 170 | Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)
Collins made an impact in all three phases in high school at Booker T. Washington. He also was ranked as the 63rd-best cornerback prospect in the nation by 247Sports.com. During his senior season, he made 79 tackles while catching 11 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, rushing 17 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns and returning five punts for 92 yards. In 2010, Collins made 21 tackles and intercepted three passes while helping Booker T. Washington to the Oklahoma 5A state championship. The defense did not allow its opponent to score in seven of 14 games and allowed just 114 points in a 13-1 season. Collins chose the Razorbacks after also receiving interest from Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He was coached at Booker T. Washington, the same high school as current UA safety Eric Bennett, by Darrell Hall.
D’Arthur Cowan | WR | 6-3 | 180 | Olive Branch, Miss. (Olive Branch HS)
After leading Olive Branch to the 2011 Mississippi 6A state championship, Cowan heads to Fayetteville to join the UA wide receiving corps. He was rated as the No. 7 player in Mississippi by Rivals.com and as the No. 9 player in the state by 247Sports.com. In 2011, Cowan made 63 receptions totaling 1,255 yards and 15 touchdowns, all single-season school records, as the Conquistadors put together a perfect 15-0 season. His senior season, after which he was selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game, also featured two of the four highest single-game receiving yards performances in Olive Branch history, including a school-record 214 yards vs. Columbus. As a junior, Cowan caught 38 passes for 658 yards and eight touchdowns and the Conquistadors advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. He selected the Razorbacks after also receiving interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss and North Carolina. He was coached at Olive Branch by Scott Samsel.
Demetrius Dean | TE | 6-3 | 250 | Fayetteville, Ark. (Fayetteville HS)
Dean was a three-year letterwinner for Fayetteville and helped lead the team to the 2010 Class 7A state championship game. He was the sixth-best recruit in the state in 2010 by Rivals.com and the No. 7 prospect in Arkansas according to HawgSports.com. In his career, he had 149 catches for 2,134 yards and 33 touchdowns. He earned first-team All-State accolades from ArkansasVarsity.com following a senior season in which he was a primary target of UA quarterback Brandon Allen, catching 29 passes for 444 yards and 11 touchdowns. Four of those touchdowns came in a stellar performance against Fort Smith Southside. As a junior, he made 69 receptions for 990 yards and 13 touchdowns and was an all-conference selection. In his sophomore season, he hauled in 51 catches for 700 yards and nine touchdowns. Dean chose Arkansas after also being recruited by Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He was coached at Fayetteville by Daryl Patton.
Austin Flynn | DE | 6-5 | 260 | Torrance, Calif. (South HS/Los Angeles Harbor College)
Flynn joins the Razorbacks after playing two seasons at Los Angeles Harbor College. The Torrance, Calif., native was named All-Central West Conference in 2009 and 2011. He was a unanimous selection in 2011 after collecting 45 tackles, including 16 for loss with 11 sacks, 21 quarterback hurries and three pass breakups in 10 games. In 2009, Flynn led the Seahawks with 7.5 sacks. Flynn came to Arkansas after also considering offers from Oregon State, Oregon and Oklahoma State. His head coach at Los Angeles Harbor was Brett Peabody, and he was coached at South High School by Josh Waybright.
Keon Hatcher | WR | 6-2 | 195 | Owasso, Okla. (Owasso HS)
Hatcher joins the Razorbacks fresh off consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Oklahoma and the No. 45 receiver in the country by 247Sports.com, the No. 5 overall prospect in the state by Rivals.com, the No. 20 wide receiver in America by SuperPrep and the 46th-best wide receiver in the nation by Scout.com. His senior season, Hatcher caught 100 passes for 1,610 yards and 21 touchdowns and was named first-team All-State and the district’s co-Offensive Player of the Year. He helped lead Owasso to the Oklahoma Class 6A state semifinals, a run through the bracket that included a four-overtime victory over the No. 1 team in the state, and a 9-4 record. In 2010, Hatcher made 75 receptions for 1,075 yards and nine touchdowns as the Rams advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2006 and finished the season 8-5. He chose Arkansas over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He was coached at Owasso by Bill Patterson.
Eric Hawkins | WR | 5-11 | 170 | Longview, Texas (Longview HS)
A speedy receiver who also ran track in high school, Hawkins was named the District 11-5A Offensive MVP and a first-team all-district selection in 2011. He caught 41 passes for 994 yards and 10 touchdowns to help lead the Lobos to their eighth straight district title and the third round of the state playoffs. He battled injuries throughout his junior season and finished with 300 yards and two touchdowns as Longview played its way into the semifinal round of the state playoffs and finished the season 10-5. At the 2011 state championships track meet, he finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.10 seconds and fourth in the 100 with a 10.51 clocking. In 2010, he finished third in the 200 and fourth in the 100 at the state championships. Hawkins chose Arkansas over TCU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. He was coached at Longview by John King.
Will Hines | CB | 6-0 | 187 | Waco, Texas (Waco HS)
Hines brings another speedy addition to the Razorbacks’ defensive backfield. Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 32 cornerback in the nation, while Scout.com tabbed him as the 43rd-best safety in the country. His senior season he recorded 40 tackles, 10 pass breakups and one interception that he returned for a touchdown as the Lions qualified for the Texas 4A Division 2 state playoffs. In 2010, he made 35 tackles and grabbed three interceptions while Waco advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. Hines received multiple offers and chose the Razorbacks over Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. He was coached at Waco by Danny Ramsey.
Nate Holmes | RB | 6-1 | 180 | Port Arthur, Texas (Memorial HS)
Considered one of the fastest athletes in the state of Texas, Holmes was ranked as the No. 37 athlete in the country by 247Sports.com. A standout running back and receiver, Holmes helped the Titans make the longest playoff run in school history in 2011 as the program made an appearance in the state semifinals and finished with a 13-2 record. As a senior, he carried the ball 156 times for 1,382 yards and 15 touchdowns while also recording eight receptions for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Holmes had a great junior season despite missing three games due to injury. He lined up at running back where he rushed for 845 yards with an average of 7.7 yards per carry and wide receiver where he had more than 200 receiving yards. He has posted a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and owns the school record in the 100-meter dash at10.82 seconds and the triple jump with a mark of 47 feet, 3.5 inches. He was also recruited by Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Texas A&M and Kansas State. His coach at Memorial was Kenny Harrison.
Taiwan Johnson | DE | 6-3 | 238 | Manvel, Texas (Manvel HS)
Johnson was rated as Scout.com’s 34th-best defensive end in the country and Rivals.com ranked him as the 37th-best defensive end in the nation and the 59th overall prospect in Texas, while 247Sports.com tabbed him as the No. 55 prospect in the state. As a senior, he totaled 86 tackles with 11 sacks and one forced fumble while helping lead the Mavericks to the Texas 4A Division 2 state championship game. His junior season, Johnson recorded 61 tackles with seven sacks and one forced fumble and Malvern advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs bracket. Johnson chose the Razorbacks over Michigan State, Nebraska and Texas A&M. He was coached at Manvel by Kirk Martin.
Brandon Lewis | DE | 6-5 | 235 | Memphis, Tenn. (Ridgeway HS)
Lewis was one of Arkansas’ first commitments for the Class of 2012. In 2011, he was named an All-State performer after recording 74 tackles, 11 sacks, six forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal while helping lead Ridgeway to the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs. He made 11 sacks during his junior as the Roadrunners won 13 games before falling in the state semifinals. Lewis also played basketball for Ridgeway, which is considered one of the best teams in the state. He chose Arkansas after also receiving interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Clemson and Auburn. He was coached at Ridgeway by Duron Sutton, where he was teammates with fellow signee Cordale Boyd.
Defonta Lowe | S | 6-3 | 190 | Bearden, Ark. (Bearden HS)
Lowe was a two-way player at Bearden, playing quarterback and safety for the Bears. He was the No. 3 overall prospect in the state and the 20th safety in the nation according to Rivals.com, while 247Sports.com ranked him as the No. 6 overall player in the state. During his senior season, he made 44 tackles with one pass breakup, one fumble recovery and one blocked PAT on defense while rushing 125 times for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns and completing 29-of-50 passes for 547 yards and five touchdowns on offense. He was named to the Arkansas Super Team as a defensive back by the Associated Press. The Bears finished the 2011 season 10-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Arkansas 2A state playoffs. In 2010, Lowe rushed 171 times for 1,543 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing 62 of 94 passes for 1,233 yards. On defense, he recorded 41 tackles and 3 interceptions as Bearden posted an 11-2 record and advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs. Lowe also received interest from LSU, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Auburn. He was coached at Bearden by Ernie Horstkamp.
Otha Peters | LB | 6-2 | 225 | Covington, La. (Covington HS)
Peters was named the Defensive MVP and the National Linebacker of the Year at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl held at Cowboys Stadium and was a two-time all-district selection at Covington. Peters was ranked as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country, the No. 4 overall player in Louisiana and the 126th overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, while 247Sports.com ranked him No. 5 overall in the state and the No. 13 outside linebacker in the country. He recorded 153 tackles and 7.5 sacks and earned a spot on the 5A All-State team as a senior. Covington finished the 2011 season 7-4 after advancing to the Louisiana 5A state playoffs. In 2010, he made 104 tackles and helped the Fighting Lions reach the state playoffs after making his varsity debut as a sophomore in 2009. Peters received multiple offers and chose the Razorbacks over Tennessee. He was coached at Covington by Malter Schobel.
Darius Philon | DT | 6-1 | 280 | Mobile, Ala. (Vigor HS)
Philon was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game following his senior season. He was ranked as the No. 20 strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com, while Scout.com ranked him as the 37th-best defensive end in the country. In 2011, Philon collected 66 tackles, including 20 for loss with 11 sacks, while helping lead Vigor to the Alabama 5A state championship game, where he made 10 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery while playing through an injury. During the 2011 season, Vigor allowed just 116 points, an average of 7.7 points per game, while putting together a 12-3 overall record. As a junior, he made 89 tackles, including 20 for loss, as the Wolves advanced to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs and finished 9-4. Philon chose Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State. He was coached at Vigor by Kerry Stevenson, where he was teammates with fellow signee JaMichael Winston.
Donovan Roberts | RB | 6-0 | 204 | Norman, Okla. (Norman HS)
Roberts was a four-year letterwinner at Norman High School where he set program career records with 5,394 rushing yards and 76 touchdowns. He was ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Oklahoma and the 32nd-best running back in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 7 player in the state and 26th running back in the nation by 247Sports.com. For much of his senior season, Roberts was bothered by a leg injury but used his combination of speed and power to run for 1,595 yards and 23 touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-State honors from The Oklahoman, and he was named the No. 5 prospect in the state by the outlet. As a junior, Roberts carried the ball 308 times for 2,002 yards for an average of 6.5 yards per carry and 32 touchdowns to lead all rushers in Class 6A. He set nine school records as a junior and was named to the U.S. Air Force All-American Junior Team. In the first round of the 2010 state playoffs, he carried 51 times for 204 yards against Owasso, which Norman won 51-44 in five overtimes. Roberts burst onto the scene as a freshman and then solidified himself as one of the state’s top players as a sophomore when he finished with 198 carries for 1,001 yards and four touchdowns. He selected Arkansas over Arizona, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma. He was coached at Norman by Greg Nation.
Jeremy Sprinkle | ATH | 6-6 | 220 | White Hall, Ark. (White Hall HS)
Sprinkle was a versatile two-way standout for White Hall, playing tight end and defensive end. He was ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect in Arkansas and the 15th-best tight end in the country by 247Sports.com and as the No. 7 overall prospect in the state by Rivals.com. In 2011, he caught 45 passes for 841 yards and six touchdowns and made 92 tackles, including 14 sacks, in helping the Bulldogs win the 5A Southeast Conference championship and reach their first state semifinal in 20 years. He was named to the 2011 Arkansas Super Team by the Associated Press and was a three-sport All-Southeast Arkansas selection by The Commercial, being honored in football, basketball and baseball. He was selected to play in the 2012 Arkansas High School Association All-Star game. Sprinkle had 73 tackles, 25 for loss and 15 sacks, as a junior and also made 10 catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He chose Arkansas over Mississippi State, Purdue, Kansas and Louisville. His brother Aaron is an offensive lineman at Ouachita Baptist. He was coached at White Hall by Mike Vaughn.
A.J. Turner | LB | 6-2 | 212 | Lepanto, Ark. (East Poinsett County HS)
Turner comes to Arkansas as the No. 2-ranked player in Arkansas and the 33rd-ranked outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports.com, the No. 4-ranked player in the state and the 47th-ranked outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and the 35th-rated outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com. As a two-way player for East Poinsett County, Turner made his mark on both sides of the ball and was named to the Arkansas Super Team by the Associated Press at linebacker. He collected 205 tackles, including 30 in one game, with 24 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, four recovered fumbles and one interception in 2011 as the Warriors advanced to the Arkansas 2A state semifinals and finished the season 11-1. In his junior season, he made 171 tackles, 28 for loss, forced five fumbles and intercepted one pass as well as scored 21 touchdowns on offense. He caught 30 passes for 670 yards and 11 touchdowns and gained 457 yards and 10 touchdowns on 63 rushes as East Poinsett County played into the second round of the state playoffs. Turner also played basketball and helped the Warriors win the state championship in 2011. Turner was one of the first commitments for the Class of 2012 and chose the Razorbacks over Ole Miss among others. He was coached at East Poinsett County by Brian Weathers.
Jeremy Ward | OL | 6-4 | 290 | Pottsville, Ark. (Pottsville HS)
Ward joins the Razorbacks after being ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas and the 12th-best offensive guard in the nation by 247Sports.com. Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 5 player in the state and the 30th offensive guard in the nation, and Scout.com tabbed him as the No. 23 guard in the country. As a senior, Ward helped Pottsville reach the quarterfinals of the Arkansas 4A State Football Championships. The Apaches finished the season 11-1-1 with an average of 340.7 rushing yards and 43.7 points per game. Ward was part of an offensive line that blocked for two 1,000-yard rushers in 2011. After the season he played for the East in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz., and was named to the Arkansas Super Team by the Associated Press. In 2010, Pottsville compiled a 9-4 overall mark and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Ward chose Arkansas after receiving offers from LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and others. He was coached at Pottsville by Kevin Keating.
Jonathan Williams | RB | 5-11 | 210| Allen, Texas (Allen HS)
Williams heads to Fayetteville after collecting more than 3,500 rushing yards at Allen High School. He was ranked as the 17th-best running back in the country and the 26th-best prospect in Texas by Rivals.com, the No. 13 running back in the nation and No. 28 prospect in the state by 247Sports.com and as the 20th-best running back in the country by Scout.com. He played for the West in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz., where he helped the West earn a 17-14 victory over the East. In 2011, he rushed for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns on 187 carries and added 14 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Eagles to a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season before falling in the second round of the Texas 5A Division 1 playoffs. As a junior, Williams exploded for 2,078 yards and 19 touchdowns on 249 carries while catching 17 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown as the Eagles posted a 10-2 overall record and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. His sophomore season, he rushed 35 times for 263 yards and four touchdowns and made four receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown. Williams chose the Razorbacks over Missouri, Baylor, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Texas A&M. He was coached at Allen by Tom Westerberg.
Demetrius Wilson | WR | 6-3 | 180 | Glendale, Ariz. (Millennium HS/Glendale Community College)
A two-time first-team All-ACCAC selection, Wilson joins the Razorbacks from Glendale Community College. In 2011, he made 51 receptions, tied for the fifth-highest total in the conference, for 927 yards, the second-most in the conference, and 10 TDs while helping lead the Gauchos to the Valley of the Sun Bowl. As a freshman at Glendale, Wilson caught four touchdown passes and averaged 25.3 yards per reception with 733 yards on 29 receptions in six games. In his senior season at Millennium, he made 26 catches for 688 yards and eight touchdowns while helping the Tigers reach the second round of the state playoffs. Wilson selected the Razorbacks over other finalists Tennessee, Arizona and Arizona State. He was coached at Glendale by Mickey Bell and at Millennium by Curtis Mays.
JaMichael Winston | DE | 6-6 | 238 | Mobile, Ala. (Vigor HS)
Winston was ranked as the 51st-best defensive end in the country by Scout.com, while 247Sports.com ranked him as the 50th-best weakside defensive end in the country. In his senior season, he made 103 tackles, including 29 for loss with 17 sacks, while helping lead the Wolves to the Alabama 5A state championship game. He was named a first-team All-State performer and selected to participate in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game following the season. Winston missed his entire junior season due to an injury. He also received interest from Mississippi State, South Carolina, Michigan State and Clemson, among others. He was coached at Vigor by Kerry Stevenson, where he was teammates with fellow signee Darius Philon.
Deatrich Wise Jr. | DE | 6-5 | 236 | Carrollton, Texas (Hebron HS)
Wise Jr. brings tenacity off the edge to the UA defensive line and committed to the Razorbacks prior to his senior season of high school. He was the 31st-ranked defensive end in the country by Scout.com, the No. 38 weakside defensive end in the nation according to Rivals.com and was ranked as the 30th-best weakside defensive end in the country by 247Sports.com. He made 113 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries and one blocked field goal in 2011 while helping lead Hebron into the Texas 5A Division 2 state playoffs. Following his senior campaign, he was named District 8-5A Defensive Player of the Year. In his junior season, Wise Jr. totaled 40 tackles, including 7.0 sacks. He chose the Razorbacks after also receiving offers from Arizona, Purdue, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. He was coached at Hebron by David Brazil. His father was drafted in the ninth round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and also spent time with the New Orleans Saints and the CFL’s British Columbia Lions.