February 28, 2012

Muhammad talks his way to Arkansas offer

Khalfani Muhammad always has had to work to get noticed - that's what happens when you're a few inches shorter than your peers.

So it only goes to figure that the 5-8 running back from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame would be willing to do a little more to get the college scholarship offer he wanted.

What he did - how Muhammad convinced Arkansas, one of the top programs in the country, to give him an offer in a matter of minutes after discovering who he was - is one of the more amazing recruiting stories of the year.

We'll let Muhammad detail how it went down:

"It was a funny story of how I got the offer from Arkansas," he said. "My quarterback [Arkansas target Kelly Hilinski] hit me up and was talking about them. I told him, 'Give me their number, I want to speak to Arkansas. I believe I can fit into that program. I'm pretty interested in that program and I want to be even more interested, so give me their number.' So he gave me their number, and I found them on Facebook, too. Right before I called, I messaged them my highlight tape with all my information and stuff.

"I gave Coach Paul Petrino a call, we were talking, and I could tell he really didn't know me. At first it didn't sound like he was too interested in me while we were talking. I mean, he had never seen me play, and with all the players they talk to in the country, a lot of them are busted. I said, 'Coach, I know you don't know much about me, so I sent you all my information on Facebook. Why don't you go check it out, and hopefully you'll like what you see and we can talk more in the future.'"

Knowing he had done his best in trying to earn Arkansas' attention, the 5-foot-8, 178-pound speedster just hoped for the best and went on about his business.

"I guess he went and checked it out, and then out of nowhere, within like five minutes, I got an email that said I needed to call him," Muhammad said. "I gave him a call and he sounded a lot more interested in me. He said I'm a hell of a player and told me he wants to offer me."

Arkansas officials, in accordance with NCAA rules, are not allowed to comment on the recruitment of an athlete until they sign a Letter of Intent.

But it would be surprising if Arkansas hadn't heard of Muhammad in this era of recruiting sites, highlight films and social media.

Especially an athlete as talented as Muhammad.

Rivals.com rates the all-purpose back as a four-star prospect, the No. 108 overall player in the nation.

Muhammad, who totaled more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, said he's had an eye on the Razorbacks for a while and hopes to give them a closer look this summer.

"It's a good program, in general," he said. "I like the fit of the program overall, so I'm most likely going to take a visit this summer and see how the program fits me."

The junior added six more offers after receiving the one from Arkansas and believes more could be coming in the weeks ahead.

"Quite a few have been hitting me up," Muhammad said. "Northwestern, Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, California, Colorado and Vanderbilt are showing a lot of interest. I picked up offers from Duke, Cincinnati and Utah right after Arkansas offered me. Right now there's about 30 schools talking to me, so we'll see what's next."

Talk about standing out in a crowd.

Of course, Muhammad always has done that in sports, despite his size.

He can dunk a basketball and is often referred to as one of the nation's fastest teenagers. He also gets it done in the weight room, where he owns a 295-pound bench and a squat max of 455.

Muhammad is currently in Washington for a track event and plans to use the trip as an unofficial visit to check out the Huskies before leaving.

We're betting he'll get noticed without even having to make a call.



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