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:
Recruits still want to look at UA
Kris Cinkovich (pictured) and Chris Klenakis have been active on the recruiting trail since Arkansas' season ended.
LITTLE ROCK The Arkansas Razorbacks have yet to name a new head football coach, but several top prospects are still planning official visits to Arkansas.
Give credit to Chris Klenakis and Kris Cinkovich, two assistants on the existing staff, the recruits said.
UCLA commitment Deon Hollins Jr., a linebacker/defensive end from Missouri City (Texas) Marshall, is rated as a fourstar recruit by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. Hollins, 6-2, 222 pounds, 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said Klenakis is the key reason for his interest in the Hogs.
“Hopefully he’s one of those coaches that stays because I’ve developed a good relationship with him,” said Hollins, who will visit Fayetteville on Jan. 11-13. “He’s just a fired-up guy. To me, he exemplifies what a college coach should be.”
Hollins, who also plans to visit UCLA, Notre Dame, Washington and Arizona State, said a school with a secure and stable coaching situation will weigh heavily into his decision.
“Whatever school I attend I hope the coach will be there all four years,” Hollins said. “So, basically, it’s stability.”
Another who is committed elsewhere, offensive lineman Kyle Chung of Ponte Vedra, Fla., said he is also planning to make an official visit to Arkansas in January.
“They’ve had a good prog ram in the past,” said Chung, who’s rated as a threestar prospect by Lemming. “This year they had a bad year, but that really hasn’t affected my interest because I wasn’t expecting much because of the whole Coach [Bobby] Petrino thing. It was just a tough transition, but they have a good program and they’re a good team. I like that they’re in the SEC.”
Chung, 6-4, 250, 4.80, is committed to Virginia Tech but said he likes that Cinkovich calls him every week.
“It gives me a feel of the program, kind of like inside of the program, which makes me feel better about it,” said Chung, who plans to take an official visit to Virginia Tech next weekend. “I think I’ll visit Miami and maybe Clemson and maybe Oregon.”
Chung, who reports a 315-pound bench press, said he isn’t sure what it will take to make him flip to another school.
“I’m going to go in there with a clean slate and not compare anybody to anybody else because I know every school has their own thing,” he said. “So, I’m going to keep that into account and see which one I like the most and then pick from there.”
Two prospects from Manvel, Texas — wide receiver Austin Bennett and cornerback Tavares Garner — are planning officials visits in January.
Bennett, an Oklahoma commitment, and Garner, a Texas A&M commitment, are rated as three-plus star recruits.
Bennett, 6-0, 170, 4.42, committed to Oklahoma in June after orally committing to the Hogs in March, but he reopened his recruiting after Petrino was fired as the head coach.
“He was real fond of the place before the situation happened with Coach Petrino,” said Bennett’s father, Greg, who is an assistant coach at the school. “He’ll probably go up there and take a look around. They’re supposed to have a new coach by then.”
Garner, 5-11, 180, 4.38, committed to Texas A&M in June.
Bennett had 34 receptions for 556 yards and 8 touchdowns, and Garner had 35 tackles and 5 interceptions going into Saturday’s playoff game against Houston Cypress Ranch.
Klenakis, who recruited and signed redshirt freshman defensive end Taiwan Johnson from Manvel in February, visited the school earlier in the week and has impressed Bennett.
“It’s just unfortunate that the incident happened to the football staff,” Greg Bennett said. “We just want to give them a second look and a second opportunity.”
Bennett said his son also will take official visits to Oklahoma, TCU and Ole Miss. LSU is another possibility.
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Sports, Pages 29 on 12/02/2012