Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
THE RECRUITING GUY: Arkansas coaches hit trail packing LSU victory
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas wasted no time to begin traveling to recruit Sunday after the Razorbacks’ 31-23 victory over then fifth ranked LSU on Saturday. Sunday began the contact period, when coaches can go on the road to visit recruits’ schools and make in-home visits.
“The responses we’ve gotten from the recruits have obviously been very positive,” said Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton. “Anytime you can win on national TV over the No. 5 team in the country on Thanksgiving weekend in front of the crowd we had, that catches recruits’ attention.”
With the NCAA only allowing seven coaches on the road at a time, Coach Bobby Petrino and his nine assistants will take turns, with three remaining in the office.
“This week our whole staff is totally devoted to recruiting,” Horton said.
Bowl pairings will be announced Sunday, and the Hogs will begin bowl preparation Monday.
“From that point, we’ll continue to recruit and practice possibly with a split staff in terms that some would stay and conduct football practices and some would get on the road and recruit,” Horton said.
Arkansas is not expected to host recruits this weekend,but plans to entertain a good number of prospects Dec. 10-12 and Jan. 14-16, when the basketball Razorbacks host Alabama at home.
“Those are going to really be the two big weekends.” Horton said.
The Arkansas coaching staff plans to build off the momentum of Saturday’s victory.
“Coach Petrino likes to say the best recruiting we can do is to win on Saturday, and obviously that’s where that LSU win helps,” Horton said.
Junior college linebacker Alonzo Highsmith was recently extended a scholarship offer by Arkansas, and is planning to make an official visit to check out the Razorbacks.
“It’s Arkansas first of all,” said Highsmith, who reports the Dec. 10-12 weekend as being a possibility for a visit. “I like them a lot and I’ve always wanted to play in the SEC. I had a cousin play at LSU. TheSEC is my favorite conference and with the success Arkansas is having, I would love to go there.”
Highsmith, 6-1, 215 pounds, 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Phoenix College, also has offers from Washington, SMU and Cincinnati while receiving strong interest from Boise State. He was named NJCAA Region I co-Defensive Player of the Year with cornerback Isiah Wiley, who’s orally committed to the Hogs.
Arkansas’ aggressive offensive approach Saturday, which included quarterback Ryan Mallett’s pass to receiver Cobi Hamilton for a 80-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half and another pass from Mallett to receiver Joe Adams for a 39-yard touchdown on a fourth and-3 in the fourth quarter, impressed Highsmith.
“I like a coach that has faith in his players,” Highsmith said. “He had to have tremendous faith to go for it on fourth down and 3 then not only that, he put the ball in Ryan Mallett’s hands, which I liked that a lot.” BIG-TIME PROSPECT
Add Tennessee commitment and safety Pat Martin to the list of prospects that took a liking to the Hogs’ bold play-calling Saturday.
“That shows the trust that Coach [Bobby] Petrino has in the quarterback and it lets you know he believes in the system, too,” Martin said. “Most coaches would’ve tried to kneel down. I like coaches that go for the kill shot.”
Martin, 6-1, 190, 4.5, of Greenville (S.C.) J.L. Mann, pledged to the Volunteers in August, but is planning to make official visits to Arkansas, UCLA and Tennessee, with Oklahoma being another possibility.
Arkansas’ success this season, along with the possibility of going to the BCS Sugar Bowl, has made the Razorbacks appealing to Martin.
“That’s a big influence because I want to play big-time football,” Martin said. “To play big-time football you have to play for a big-time team, and that team is bigtime right now.” MOM KNOWS
New Jersey tight end Jack Tabb watched Arkansas’ victory over LSU with his mother, Julie, who is an Arkansas native and a graduate of Lamar High School.
Tabb, 6-4, 235, 4.6, of Red Bank Catholic, has approximately 20 offers from schools, but has narrowed his list to Arkansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and North Carolina.
“She loved it,” Tabb said. “Throughout the game, she was saying LSU is overrated and they’ve been getting lucky. After the game, she said, ‘I knew they were going to win.’ ”
Tabb, who has officially visited Michigan and Iowa, plans to take an official visit to North Carolina this weekend.
Tabb will make his official visit to Arkansas on the weekend of Dec. 10-12.
“I’ve been looking forward to the trip to Arkansas for a while,” Tabb said.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 21 on 11/30/2010