DUMAS — The gasp was audible — if only for a split second — on Tuesday morning inside the Dumas High School Gym.

DUMAS — The gasp was audible — if only for a split second — on Tuesday morning inside the Dumas High School Gym.


On the day he was announcing his commitment to play college football, senior tight end Will Gragg had just picked up an Alabama hat from a table that also included an Arkansas hat, LSU hat and Ole Miss visor. Seated between his parents Kelvin and Tenita, Gragg pulled the hat up toward his head before tossing it behind him and grabbing the white Arkansas hat from the table in front of him.


He put that one on his head as the crowd applauded the verbal commitment of one of the most highly recruited players in state history.


Gragg laughed when asked about the trickery.


"You could hear it when I picked up they were like, ‘Oh!’" he said. "So I did it slow, so you could hear it. My dad actually told me that would be a pretty funny thing to do. I thought it would be, too, so I just went out and did it."


It was the second time in 15 minutes Gragg had put on the Arkansas hat.


The four-star recruit officially announced his verbal commitment to play for the Razorbacks, who were the first to offer Gragg prior to his sophomore year, live on ESPN.com via webcast from the EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) lab on the Dumas High School campus.


"It’s just a relief," Gragg said about making the decision. "You go from talking to 30 different coaches to finally getting it narrowed down to one. It’s a weight being lifted off your shoulders and a blessing."


Gragg wore the No. 89 Buffalo Bills jersey of his older brother Chris to make his announcement. Chris Gragg, who was the only person who knew beforehand where Will would commit, played tight end for Arkansas from 2008-12. Throughout the recruiting process, Gragg has leaned on his brother and former Hog Jarius Wright for guidance.


"He played a great, tremendous role," he said of his brother. "He and Jay Wright, those are my two role models. Whenever they tell me something I take it for what it is. They’ve never steered me in the wrong direction before and they haven’t yet.


"They never steered me to Arkansas or this or that place. They just told me wherever I feel the most comfortable, they are going to support me 100 percent."


Gragg said he still plans to take official visits to Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas.


Gragg had been highly recruited, finishing with 45 offers, and is currently No. 214 on ESPN 300 top college recruits for 2015. The four-star recruit is the third-ranked player in the state and seventh-ranked in the country at the tight end position.


He joins an already stellar 2015 recruiting class for the Razorbacks. The class, ranked in the top 25 on most recruiting sights, includes seven other in-state players — quarterback Ty Storey (Charleston), tight ends Jamario Bell (Junction City) and C.J. O’Grady (Fayetteville), wide receivers K.J. Hill (North Little Rock) and Deon Stewart (Highland), offensive lineman Colton Jackson (Conway) and defensive lineman Daytrieon Dean (Fort Smith Northside).


Securing Gragg is another sign Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has been able to achieve one of his primary targets of drawing the state’s best players to Fayetteville. As it stands, six of the top 10 players in the state, as ranked by ESPN, have committed to the Hogs, and that’s with two players still undeclared.


In May when Gragg was still at Pine Bluff High School, Bielema visited Dumas to speak to the Southeast Arkansas Delta Razorback Club. On that night, the second-year head coach mentioned the importance of "shutting the borders" to the state’s top recruits. The 44-year-old Bielema said he had message that people should pass along to the area’s best players.


"Anything you can do to let them know," he half-jokingly said that night, "if they come to Arkansas, they will forever be remembered for being from Arkansas themselves.


"If they decide to leave the state, know that they will forever be gone from the state of Arkansas and not welcomed back."


Bielema tweeted about his excitement following Gragg’s announcement.


"Calling the Hogs all the way from Dumas, Arkansas! Building it one Hog at a time. #WoooPig #BeUncommon"


So far during his senior year, Gragg has 22 catches for 289 yards and three touchdowns for the Bobcats (1-2). Gragg is looking forward to a more relaxed rest of the season and hopes he can help Dumas make some noise in the 8-4A Conference.


"Just going out there and having fun with my team," he said of his goals for the rest of the year. "Hopefully, we can get some wins and make a run in the playoffs."