EDMOND — Edmond Santa Fe defensive back standout Khari Harding verbally committed to play college football at Arkansas on Friday evening.Harding said Arkansas has “been at the top of my list for a while now.”
“I've been really interested in them,” Harding said. “I went there and I liked the coaches, the fans, the facilities and what they're doing around there.”
Harding is No. 6 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of top college football prospects.
He said Bobby Petrino's firing and the hiring of John L. Smith as the Razorbacks' coach had no impact on his decision, and that he would probably stay committed to Arkansas even if Smith, whose contract is just for the 2012 season, isn't retained.
“They have been so nice to him and showed the most interest in him,” said Corie Harding, his father. “When we went up there, it just seemed like a good fit.
“It's always been his No. 1 choice, and I would ask him, ‘What are you waiting for?'”
Khari Harding chose the Razorbacks over nine other offers, from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Houston, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Memphis, Oregon State and Wyoming.
As a junior, Harding made 71 tackles and three interceptions, playing a huge role as Edmond Santa Fe went 10-2 and won its district championship.
His first scholarship offer came on March 1 from Kansas State.
“I just like the physicality in the SEC,” Khari Harding said. “That's part of me, being physical and coming down and hitting.”
“He told me, ‘Dad, I love the SEC and that's where I want to play football,'” Corie Harding said.