Coach B earning A-OKs with prospects

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012
El Dorado News-Times/Michael Orrell -- El Dorado's Bijhon Jackson tracks Mountian Home's Andrew Stolpe in the first round of the 6A state playoffs at Memorial Stadium in El Dorado on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.
Photo by Michael Orrell
El Dorado News-Times/Michael Orrell -- El Dorado's Bijhon Jackson tracks Mountian Home's Andrew Stolpe in the first round of the 6A state playoffs at Memorial Stadium in El Dorado on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

— Bret Bielema’s hiring as Arkansas’ head football coach has highly touted El Dorado junior defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson thinking about making an oral commitment to the Razorbacks.

“I really want to,” Jackson said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of about Bielema being a defensive-minded coach. I just really want to go to Arkansas right now. Heard he’s a tough coach.”

Jackson, 6-2, 325 pounds, 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss and Arkansas State and is drawing interest from others.

“I don’t know who to call to commit if I wanted to because I don’t know which coaches are still on the staff,” said Jackson, who recorded a 360-pound bench press and 350-pound power clean during the spring.

Bijhon Jackson highlights

Highlights of El Dorado defensive tackle and Arkansas target Bijhon Jackson. (By Richard Davenport)
[View Full-Size]

Jackson, an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Super Sophomore team selection, said he’ll probably make his pledge this week.


Junior-college cornerback Carroll Washington said he received a phone call Thursday from Bret Bielema.

“He just sounded like a cool guy,” said Washington, who attends Salinas (Calif.) Hartnell College and has orally committed to the Razorbacks. “I had a chance to watch his news conference.That made me even more eager to talk to him.”


El Dorado defensive tackle Bijhon Johnson has heard enough talk about new Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema to consider committing ... + Enlarge

Washington, 5-11 , 180 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said Bielema told him his scholarship offer was waiting on him and that sealed the deal.

“The only thing I’m looking forward to is signing day,” said Washington, who plans to sign with the Hogs on Dec. 19, the first day junior-college prospects can sign, and enroll in January so he can participate in spring practice.

Frisco (Texas) Centennial receiver Lamar Jordan, 5-10 1/2, 180, 4.38, said the call from Bielema has him ready to be a Razorback as well.

“Just talking to him I felt so comfortable and so normal, like I’ve always known him,” Jordan said. “I just can’t wait to play for him.”

Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage quarterback Tyler Cogswell, 6-5, 225, 4.9, said his call from Bielema was reassuring.

“He was telling me how he watched my film and liked what he saw,” Cogswell said.“He then asked me about my family, which I thought was pretty cool. He was getting more familiar with me, so that shows how he cares about his players.”


NCAA rules forbid college coaches from calling prospects when they are juniors, but quarterback Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., Arkansas’ lone commitment for the 2014 class, said he is glad Arkansas hired Bret Bielema.

Peavey, 6-2, 197 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, orally committed to the Razorbacks in July over scholarship offers from Missouri, Nebraska, UCLA, Boston College, Ole Miss, West Virginia and others.

“I’m looking forward to going down and visiting with him,” Peavey said. “I know he coached Russell Wilson, and he’s one of my favorite Seahawk quarterbacks ever.”


When College of the Siskiyous Coach Charlie Roche told linebacker Myke Tavarres, an Arkansas commitment, that he had been named a first-team junior college All-American on Friday, Tavarres became emotional.

“I teared up a little bit,” said Tavarres, who recorded 85 tackles, 12 1/2 tackles for loss, 21/2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 2 recovered fumbles and 1 forced fumble this season. “It was definitely a sigh of relief that I finally became an All-American, and then it really sank in that I still have a lot of work to do.

“I want to see if I can become an All-American at the next level also. “

Tavarres, 6-2 1/2, 215 pounds,4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash, played at Lake Ridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore., where the team didn’t have much success and earned little recognition.

“I didn’t get any love at all, even though I was one of the best players in the state,” said Tavarres, who will finish up his official visit to Boise State today. “That definitely kept me motivated and kept me pushing and working as hard as I did.”


National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network called Arkansas’ hiring of Bret Bielema an excellent move.

“I think he’s a guy with the Midwest ties that could help them do more national recruiting,” said Lemming, noting that Bielema’ offensive philosophy would be a good fit for Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry, an Arkansas commitment, and North Little Rock running back Altee Tenpenny, who is committed to Alabama.

“Tenpenny should look more at Arkansas because at Wisconsin all the running backs are almost always in the running for the Heisman race,” Lemming said of Tenpenny, who plans to take an official visit to Arkansas on Jan. 18-20.

Lemming said he believes Henry would be a good fit with Bielema.

“I think he’ll become a big target,” Lemming said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 31 on 12/09/2012