Arkansas TE Pianalto in Horn Heaven

Springdale TE Zack Pianalto

Four-Star TE Zack Pianalto spent the better part of last week at Texas' high school Football Camp and got acquainted with most of his future Longhorn teammates. The Springdale, Arkansas commit has also become familiar with how Razorbacks fans feel about his crossing state lines to play for the hated Longhorns.

"Some of them are not happy," Zack Pianalto said. "A lot of people would like to see me end up at Arkansas. But I feel like this is the best fit for me and that's really all that matters."

Some of the ancient passions were fueled by the recent and announcement that Texas and Arkansas would renew their rivalry during a home-and-home series in 2009 and 2009. His verbal to Texas was also underscored by the fact that fellow teammate and TE Ben Alexander has committed to the Hogs. But Pianalto's trip to Austin last week only confirmed the decision he made on March 23.

"It was the first time I got to meet all of them (2007 UT commits)," Pianalto said. "There were about 18 (of 22 commits) there. That was the count I heard. I met most of them, particularly the offensive linemen, (QB) John Brantley and (QB) John Chiles."

Most of Texas' verbals attended only the June 4 Mini-Camp but Pianalto and Brantley extended their stay since they traveled from out of state. Much of the first day was devoted to meeting future Longhorns but Pianalto was able to work a couple of extra days with Brantley.

"John Brantley stayed through Wednesday and I got to throw a little bit more with him. We practiced three times during the day on Monday and Tuesday. I got to work with the tight ends coach, Coach (Bruce) Chambers. I got to be coached by the Texas coaches, which is what I really liked. I wanted to see how they coached and everything. Being there, and seeing how everybody acts and what's all going to be expected, helped me a lot."

The 6-4, 212-pounder played more WR than TE last season while helping lead his high school to an undefeated Class 5A state championship. Scout.com's choice as the national No. 13 TE, Pianalto accounted for three TD receptions and nearly 400 yards. He is projected at TE at Texas.

"We have a few pro-sets where I'll get down in the tight end position. Most of the time, I'm at split end. I move around a lot but mainly I'm at wide receiver. There are a few sets where I'm at tight end, but not many. The one thing I'm going to have to adjust to in college is being down in a stance all the time."

Despite his team's success last season, Pianalto flew under the radar screen of most Division-I programs. That's why he distributed a highlight reel of his greatest hits (and blocks, and catches) to all the usual suspects in late February.

"I sent my tape out to everybody because I wanted to have as many options as I could. I was hoping I would get as many responses as I could to see where the best place was for me."

Nebraska and LSU called but "Texas was the first to respond. Coach Chambers called my coach right when they got the highlight tape. Coach Chambers sent me a letter with his card in it, so I called him right when I got it. We talked for about an hour that first time. We talked about how they really liked me and how they really wanted me to get down there for a visit."

Pianalto visited on March 20, and the prep star from Razorback country was hooked on the Longhorns.

"I wanted to get down there as soon as possible but that's when my Spring Break was. I got there to see how he (Chambers) coaches and I got to see the players. I just loved it."

With the understanding, of course, that the ‘love' stops at the state line.

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