FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - On the heels of back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes, Chris Bucknam, head coach of the No. 1 University of Arkansas men's track and field team, has announced the signing of six outstanding prep student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2013-14 season. This marks the fifth Razorback recruiting class for Bucknam and his staff.
The initial wave of future Razorbacks includes Curtis Brown (Houston, Texas/Episcopal HS), Brandon Hill (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights HS), Hunter Hopkins (Van, Texas/Van HS), Anthonio Mascoll (Bridgetown, Barbados/South Plains College), Eric Nathaniel (Little Rock, Ark./Parkview HS) and Clive Pullen (Kingston, Jamaica/Kingston College). The Razorbacks' past two recruiting classes have received a top-10 ranking from Track & Field News. Arkansas' most recent class-the team's current freshmen-was ranked sixth in the nation while the previous class was ranked fourth.
"We feel this a terrific start to our recruiting class," Bucknam said.
"As always, we are striving to be a well-rounded program. There are still some pieces of the puzzle that we are putting in place, but this is a terrific start. Success breeds success. We have been ranked in the top 10 with our last two recruiting classes, and we feel that this class is yet another top-10 recruiting class.
"Our current student-athletes have worked very hard to put this program in the national spotlight. Our incoming recruits want that spotlight and they understand the hard work it's going to take to keep us there. The University, the community and the commitment to track and field makes the University of Arkansas one of the premier places in the country to run track. These factors along with the hard work and success of our student-athletes and staff have allowed us to attract some of the best young talent in the world."
Curtis Brown || Sprints || Episcopal HS (Houston, Texas)
100 Meters - 10.6
200 Meters - 21.5
400 Meters - 48.5
Notes on Brown: Three-time conference champion in 2012...won the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay at the 2012 Southwest Preparatory Conference Championships...helped Episcopal High School to a second-place team finish...2012 Great Southwest Classic champion at 200 meters in a time of 21.67...four-time all-state performer...two-time EHS team captain as a junior and senior...2012 AAU Junior Olympic runner-up in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 40.19...member of the C.L. Stars Track Club...son of Clifford and Datryse Brown...has one brother, Datrele.
On why he chose Arkansas: "I picked Arkansas because I really liked the coaches and the tradition of the track program. I also felt comfortable with the team and loved the facilities."
What Bucknam says about Brown: "Curtis is another terrific sprint talent out of the state of Texas. We feel that one of our strong suits as a staff is picking out talent. We knew right away that Curtis is a raw talent with tremendous upside. He's another athlete with terrific range from 100 through 400 meters. He's from a small school, but always steps up in big competition."
Brandon Hill || Sprints || Harker Heights HS (Killeen, Texas)
60 Meters - 6.88
100 Meters - 10.54
200 Meters - 21.15
Notes on Hill: District 8-5A champion at 100 meters and 200 meters as a junior...ran to a second-place finish at 200 meters and third at 100 meters at the Region II-5A meet...placed sixth in both events at the UIL 5A State Track & Field Championships...son of Curtis and Teresa Hill...has two older brothers, Marcus and Darian.
On why he chose Arkansas: "I chose Arkansas over Texas A&M, Baylor and K-State because I feel the Arkansas track program can take me further than the other universities. Also, the business program there is very strong which is something I plan on using later in life. Another large reason is that the coaching staff is not only the best but they are also very comfortable for me to be around and talk to, if needed."
What Bucknam says about Hill: "Brandon is a big, strong kid that has terrific range from the 60 through 400 meters and has already run 6.88 this indoor season. He's going to be a terrific addition to our already strong sprints crew. Coach Case has done a phenomenal job of developing talent the last four years. Brandon has a lot of potential and I'm excited to see that come to fruition here at Arkansas."
Hunter Hopkins || Multis || Van HS (Van, Texas)
100 Meters - 10.98
400 Meters - 49.87
1,500 Meters - 4:51.76
110m Hurdles - 15.79
High Jump - 6-2
Pole Vault - 13-6
Long Jump - 21-2
Shot Put - 51-8
Discus - 155-0
Javelin - 183-7
Notes on Hopkins: three-time USA Track & Field/AAU national champion in the javelin...named the East Texas Football Player of the Year at the athlete position...four-year letterwinner in football and track...son of Shane and Cindy Hopkins...has one younger brother, Tanner.
On why he chose Arkansas: "I chose Arkansas because they have a tradition of excellence that can't be matched by any other school. Coach Geopfert is the best multis coach in the country and in order to be the best, you have to learn from the best. It has always been a dream of mine to be on the Arkansas track team, and now that has become a reality."
What Bucknam says about Hopkins: "Hunter is another big, strong athlete that is highly motivated for the decathlon. Coach Geopfert has turned Arkansas into the premier place in the country for the decathlon. Hunter is the type of motivated athlete that we need to keep that success going. He's had terrific success in a variety of event areas and isn't afraid of the hard work it takes to be a great decathlete. We are very excited that he has chosen to come to Arkansas."
Anthonio Mascoll || Sprints || South Plains College (Bridgetown, Barbados)
400 Meters - 46.95
800 Meters - 1:48.36
Notes on Mascoll: 2012 NJCAA champion at 800 meters ...ran the 800-meter anchor leg of South Plains' winning sprint-medley relay at the 2012 Texas Relays...two-time 800-meter gold medalist at the CARIFTA Games in 2010 and 2011...at the age of 16, was a finalist at 800 meters at the World Youth Championships...son of Shellyann Mascoll and Anthony Williams...has one brother, Joshwa.
On why he chose Arkansas: "I chose Arkansas because I believe this is the place where dreams can come true."
What Bucknam says about Mascoll: "Anthonio is a junior college national champion that understands what it takes to compete on a big stage. His success at South Plains will certainly make it a smooth transition to step up and compete at both the SEC and NCAA levels. His coaches have done a terrific job of developing his talent and I know that Coach Case will keep that success rolling. His versatility is phenomenal with his flat-out sprint speed for the 400 and strength for the 800. He's going to step right in and make an immediate impact to our program."
Eric Nathaniel || Sprints || Parkview HS (Little Rock, Ark.)
200 Meters - 21.6
400 Meters - 47.05
Notes on Nathaniel: 2012 Arkansas 6A State champion at 400 meters...placed second at 200 meters at the state meet...three-time all-state performer in 2010, 2011 and 2012...Arkansas state-record holder at 400 meters...5A-7A indoor state meet record holder at 200 and 400 meters...son of Eric and Rochelle Nathaniel...has five siblings, Djuan, Wardell, Kolby, Kyler and Candice.
On why he chose Arkansas: "I chose Arkansas because they are my home state school and I've been wanting to go there ever since I was a youngster. Also, why wouldn't I want to attend the #1 ranked track team in the nation? Go Hogs!"
What Bucknam says about Nathaniel: "Eric is a terrific home-grown talent from right here in Arkansas. He's a strong runner that is highly motivated. He is the No. 4 returning 400-meter runner in the country and had opportunities to go anywhere he wanted. It's important for us to keep the in-state talent in Arkansas. It speaks volumes of our program that we can attract kids from around the world and it's just as important that we keep the kids that are from right here in the state. Coach Case has created an atmosphere and expectation that our 4x400-meter relay is one of the best in the world. Eric is exactly the type of athlete to help us keep that tradition rolling."
Clive Pullen || Jumps || Kingston College (Kingston, Jamaica)
Long Jump - 7.56m/24-9.75w
Triple Jump - 15.92m/52-2.75
Notes on Pullen: Finalist in the triple jump at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona...gold medalist at the CAC Junior Games...also won the long jump and triple jump titles at the Jamaican national junior trials...won the high school boy's long jump title at the 2012 Penn Relays...was the 2011 Penn Relays high school runner-up in the long jump...five-time champion at the ISSA Boys & Girls Championships, also known as CHAMPS.
On why he chose Arkansas: "It felt like home for me. When I think of home I think about stability, safety, relationships and family. When I visited Arkansas, these were the things I felt."
What Bucknam says about Pullen: "Clive is one of the most talented young jumpers in the world. He's a highly motivated and bright young man that wants to be great both on and off the track. Clive has developed in the same high school program as Tarik Batchelor and Alain Bailey. His coaches have done a phenomenal job in developing him through his high school career. It's certainly a feather in our cap and a testament to our program and Coach Geopfert to attract such a highly touted recruit. We have a very strong tradition in the jumps here at Arkansas and there is not a better recruit in the world to help continue that success than Clive Pullen."