Pulaski Academy two-sport standout Cruz Williams (6-4, 195, 4.4) has always had a simple philosophy when it comes to recruiting.
"Arkansas boys should stay in Arkansas," Williams said.
Williams put his money where his mouth is on Friday morning when he announced that he would be playing his college football for the University of Arkansas.
"I stayed up all night last night thinking about it and there was just no reason to wait any longer to announce this," Williams said. "It has always been my dream to be a Razorback and now I am going to be one. It feels great."
Williams called Arkansas assistant coach Danny Nutt Friday morning to let him know.
"He was very excited about it," Williams said.
Now Williams will go to work on getting his buddy Joe Adams (6-1, 170, 4.3), the talented wideout from Central Arkansas Christian, to join him at Arkansas.
"I have wished him well with his decision and he did the same with me, but we have always talked about playing our college football together," Williams said. "I hope that happens."
The announcement - which gives Arkansas four commitments for 2008 - is just part of a busy week for Williams.
In addition to practicing with his Arkansas Kings squad for this weekend's 17-and-under AAU state basketball tournament in Little Rock, he's also going through spring football practices.
Those practices have seen folks like University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt and others from Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, USC and Tulsa looking on.
"It's been busy, but a lot of fun, too," Williams said. "I just try to keep my mind on each sport at its different time."
Williams caught 57 passes for 1,158 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for the Bruins, who fell to Greenwood 56-55 in the state title game.
He has always been upfront about his interest in Arkansas and was very appreciative of Nutt showing up at his practice.
"Whenever Arkansas came down so early it showed me a lot and how much they want me," Williams said. "I really appreciate it and they have made it clear to me how important I am to them. They have big plans for me."
Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech who all offered as well as Ole Miss while USC and Michigan had also showed a great deal of interest.
"Oklahoma State came by on Tuesday, Tulsa on Wednesday and USC and Michigan have also come to watch us practice like Arkansas," Williams said. "There are some other schools that are calling my coach, but those are the main ones right now."
Playing basketball and competing in 7-on-7 football tournaments in Searcy (June 1-2), the Shootout of the South in Little Rock (June 15-16) and CACs in Little Rock on June 30 doesn't leave a lot of extra time.
But Williams knows he is definitely going to take in one summer football camp.
"I am definitely coming back to the Razorback camp next month (June 10-13) and going to do my thing," Williams said.
With several upper classmen leaving after this year, the Aggies have been looking for solid offensive linemen. Texas A&M offensive line coach Jim Bob Helduser reeled in a big one on Monday night.
Texas A&M hauled in a big catch last night—literally. Chris Lathrop, a 6-foot-4, 280 pound offensive linemen from Cy-Fair received an offer from Texas A&M on Monday night and he jumped at the opportunity.
His quick decision didn’t surprise Ed Pustejovsky, Cy-Fair’s head football coach.
“I knew that he’d been down to a couple of ball games in the fall and I think he went to the spring game, and junior day,” Pustejovsky said. “I know he was definitely interested in A&M. When I talked to him, he was excited about the thought of a chance to play at TAMU. So when the (A&M) coaches told me they were going to offer him, I knew he was going to be excited. I told him that if they offer him, he’s probably going to tell you he’s coming. That’s how much he liked A&M.”
Lathrop, who started 14 games for Cy Fair last season, is an athletic big man who has a combination of strength and athleticism that the Aggies will desperately need on the offensive line in coming years.
He bench pressed 355 pounds and fell just short of the career record for power clean at Cy Fair with an attempt of 315 pounds. He ended up recording a lift of 289 pounds, but Pustejovsky believes he can lift more than that. With his work ethic, he may be able to hit the 315 mark or more by the end of summer.
“He’s a hard working kid,” Pustejovsky said. “He’s done a good job for us and he’s had a good off-season as far as gaining strength. His potential has always been there because of his frame. He’s worked hard this year and put on another 10 or 12 pounds.”
In addition to being extremely strong, the big man can also move.
“Last time we clocked 40s he was at five flat, maybe even a little bit under,” Pustejovsky said. “That athleticism is what makes him stand out for such a big kid. His ability to run is what separates him from other big kids and he can do a lot of things. He plays left guard for us and we put him out there on counters and stuff because he can run.”
Like so many of the recent A&M commits, Lathrop also seems to bring intangible leadership qualities to the Aggies off the field.
“Our team just elected him one of our captains and I think that says a lot,” Pustejovsky said. “Him and Sam (McGuffie) are the only offensive starters coming back and on the offensive side of the ball and Sam was running track this spring. Chris provided a lot of leadership for us and that was good to see. He’s a solid kid.”
Last year was the first year that Lathrop played at the varsity level. But his solid performance in spring practice this year is what had many colleges picking up the phone. But Pustejovsky thinks that with a year under his belt, the sky is the limit for Lathrop.
Texas is loaded with big receiving prospects this year, but none have caught fire quicker than Flower Mound target James Hanna. Since the evaluation period has begun he has been inundated with college coaches at his school and scholarship offers have been coming in waves.
The Oklahoma Sooners are the latest program to extend James Hanna, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver from Flower Mound High in Lewisville, Texas an official scholarship offer.
The Sooners had been recruiting Hanna for a while, but the heightened interest and scholarship offer was a very recent development.
“I went to their visit for the spring game, and they were not as interested in me it seemed,” Hanna explained. “I grew up a fan of the Sooners, so it was very cool to be getting an offer from them.”
In addition to being interested in the Sooners, Hanna is still a little floored by all of the interest. He is trying to keep a level head and sift through all of his current options.
He now holds official scholarship offers from schools like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arizona, TCU, Minnesota, Kansas and Illinois and continues to receive interest from Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame, but three schools have emerged as the current leaders: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Alabama.
Oklahoma State- “I really like how everything lays out on the campus. They have treated me very good and have made me a high priority.”
Oklahoma- “I grew up a fan of the Sooners, and I really like the program. They seem to win the Big 12 at least every other year.”
Alabama - “They have not offered yet, but I think that they may be really close. I really like Coach (Major) Applewhite. He and I have become close.”
Quarterback Sean Renfree from Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, AZ) has quickly become one of the hottest prospects on the west coast. He informed Scout.com via email that he has received yet another offer. Arizona State becomes the sixth school to offer.
Georgia Tech and Oregon State were the first two schools to offer with OSU being the first.
After a great performance this week at the Elite 11 and Nike combine, Stanford, Army and Arizona extended offers.
Renfree informed Scout.com that ASU head Coach Dennis Erickson just offered Sean over the phone tonight. The offer excites Renfree and his father states, "Obviously it meant a lot to Sean because of Erickson's reputation and from the home town program."
Renfree is still palnning on waiting things out before he commits.
The 6'3 205 pound Renfree had a very good year for 7-5 ND. He completed 56% of his passes for 2483 yards. He also had 24 TDs versus only 5 INTs.