Last minute pick up from Vols helps Hogs finish strong in recruiting

I was disappointed that Vandy had a better class than Arkansas but I was glad that we got a chance to get a quality linebacker to switch to the Hogs at the last moment.

Otis Kirk’s Recruiting 360: Arkansas’ Peoples Key In Landing Otha Peters

2/2/2012 at 1:06pm

Arkansas struck late in recruiting to land Covington (La.) 4-star linebacker Otha Peters with new assistant Kevin Peoples playing a key role.

Peters (6-foot-1, 227 pounds, 4.61 in the 440) had been committed to Tennessee for several months, but Peoples and Arkansas decided to make a run at him. A run that resulted in the Razorbacks landing a commitment on Tuesday and his signature on Wednesday.

“That was a great pickup for us,” Peoples said. “I went in and saw him two weeks ago and we set up the visit.”

Peters is a three-year starter who was the defensive MVP in his district and also was a Class 5-A all-state selection. As a senior, Peters had 153 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Peters is one of the more versatile linebackers in the nation.

“Arkansas has told me I could play any of the three linebacker positions,” Peters said. “I think Arkansas has a chance to win a national championship. I had a great visit.”

Peoples said Wednesday that Peters indeed can play all three spots at linebacker.

“He’s a very versatile guy,” Peoples said. “He can run and he’s fast and physical. He can play the Sam, Mike and Will. Any time you can do that you’re able to play the run or the pass and stay on the field as a cover guy. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Peoples said that after his initial visit to Peters, Arkansas went back into his home again prior to his official visit.

“We went in last with myself, Coach (Bobby) Petrino and Coach (Taver) Johnson,” Peoples said. “We wanted to make sure he came on campus. Once we had him on campus that was the biggest obstacle. Once he got around our players, get around our town and university that really sold itself.”

One reason Peters gave for choosing the Razorbacks over the Volunteers was where he viewed the two programs being at this time. Arkansas was 11-2 this past season and finished No. 5 in the nation in the final polls.

“He really likes the atmosphere and our players attitudes about winning a national championship,” Peoples said. “That was our major selling point so it was the University of Arkansas that sold him.”

In addition to getting past the obstacle of getting Peters on campus, Arkansas also had to sell his mother on Arkansas. She made the visit to Tennessee with him, but was unable to make the trip to Fayetteville. “I think his mom is like anybody when they’re not around and they’ve never seen a place,” Peoples said. “It makes it a little bit more difficult, but luckily Otha is a fantastic person and she trusted him and his judgement. He was obviously able to explain to explain the reasons he wanted to attend the University of Arkansas. He did a great job there and his mom really believed in her son . We’re glad to get him.”

Peters had stated many times he was a solid commitment to Tennessee. Peoples reflected back on how much of a longshot it was to land Peters when Arkansas first started recruiting him.

“We obviously knew we were behind and had to catch up,” Peoples said. “We thought we had a chance, but we knew we had to play catchup, but fortunately we were able to close on him.”

Peters is ranked the No. 5 player in the state of Louisiana and No. 13 outside linebacker nationally by 247Sports. Covington head coach Malter Scobel feels the ranking is certainly justified.

“Arkansas has got them a good player and probably a better person,” Scobel said. “He’s a smart kid. He wants to play for a team that has a chance to win a championship. I know he’ll be an asset to that team I more way than one way.”

Quick Hits
• Arkansas has one scholarship remaining and has two prospects targeted. Chicago (Ill.) Simeon 4-star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond (6-6, 290, 5.2) is supposed to sign with one of his finalists on Friday evening. Arkansas is also in the mix for Paradise Valley (Ariz.) Chaparral 4-star wide receiver Davonte Neal (5-9, 170, 4.4).

• On Wednesday, Arkansas extended scholarship offers to a pair of instate juniors. Fayetteville quarterback Austin Allen (6-2, 208, 4.7) and linebacker Brooks Ellis (6-2, 215, 4.58). Allen now has offers to Arkansas, Arkansas State, Tulsa and Ole Miss while Ellis has offers to Arkansas and Tulsa. Both have been invited to play in the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Game in Phoenix, Ariz.

• The biggest surprise on Wednesday was Arkansas’ late addition of Mobile (Ala.) Vigor defensive tackle Darius Philon (6-2, 280, 5.0). Philon was committed to Alabama, but the Crimson Tide told him he would have to wait a semester for a scholarship. Philon opted to accept an immediate scholarship from the Razorbacks. Petrino said Arkansas received Philon’s fax at 2:45 Wednesday afternoon.

Tagged: Otis KirkKevin PeoplesArkansas RazorbacksNational Signing DayAustin AllenBrooks EllisDarius PhiblinOtha PetersJordan Diamond

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)<br /><br /><br /><br />

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