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:
Chaney big hit with Pulaski Academy tight end
Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry (82) is ranked the No. 52 recruiting prospect in the country by one rating service and is the same size as his father, Mark, an all-Southwest Conference offensive lineman at Arkansas in 1991. Earlier this year, Henry ended the recruiting process when he committed to the Razorbacks.
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas’ hiring of former Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney was met with a big thumbs-up from Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry.
Henry, 6-5, 235 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, visited Tennessee during the spring with his father and mother and spent some time with Chaney.
“We sat down with him for a couple of hours and talked to him about just football and life,” said Henry, who has orally committed to Arkansas. “He just seems like a real good guy and an awesome football coach with his offense. He’s definitely impressive.”
Tennessee’s top two tight ends made a combined 47 receptions for 664 yards and 6 touchdowns this season.
“It’s definitely pretty tight end friendly, which I like,” Henry said. “I looked into his offense, and I look forward to looking at it more now.”
Henry, who was named the top tight end in the nation by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, also respects Chaney as a person.
“He just seems like a good guy first, just seems like a good person,” Henry said. “I always love that, and he’s also a great coach. I think he’s going to be great for Arkansas and great for the future.”
Henry has taken an official visit to Alabama and plans to visit Arkansas on Jan. 18. He said Chaney’s hiring is a plus for the Hogs as far as his recruitment is concerned.
“It definitely helps,” Henry said. “Getting a good offensive coordinator was what I was looking for.”
GOOD GRADES FOR STAFF
Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network likes the recruiting abilities of Arkansas’ additions to its coaching staff.
Coach Bret Bielema announced Tuesday that Wisconsin defensive coordinator Chris Ash would join the Razorbacks staff in the same capacity after Wisconsin plays Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
“He was one of Wisconsin’s better recruiters,” Lemming said. “He recruited Chicago and Florida. At Wisconsin, they’re good evaluators and developers and Ash was good at that. Bielema lost a couple good recruiters to Pittsburgh last year, and Ash was probably the best recruiter on the staff this year.”
Lemming is also high on offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
“Chaney was a guy that recruited and developed Drew Brees at Purdue,” Lemming said. “He’s always been considered one of the better recruiters in the country. It’s a big catch for Arkansas. Pittman is considered one of the best recruiting offensive line coaches in the country.
“Those are two big gets.”
Sam Pittman’s hiring as Arkansas’ offensive line coach might help the Hogs convince Tennessee commitment Dan Skipper to take a visit to Fayetteville.
Skipper, 6-10, 295, 4.97, is an offensive lineman at Arvada (Colo.) Ralston Valley and is rated as a four-star recruit by Tom Lemming. Skipper didn’t want to comment on the possibility of visiting Arkansas late Wednesday night because the hiring wasn’t official, but he admitted that he likes Pittman.
“He was a large part of why I committed to Tennessee in the first place,” Skipper said. “He’s one of the best in the nation.”
MAKING AN IMPRESSION
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema’s first official visitors, safety Tiquention Coleman and linebacker Neville Hewitt of Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, left Fayetteville on Thursday.
Coleman, 5-10, 194, 4.47, switched his oral commitment from Wisconsin to Arkansas on Wednesday after seeing what the Hogs had to offer. He also has scholarship offers from Arizona and Mississippi State.
Hewitt, 6-3, 215, 4.5, has scholarship offers from Marshall and Colorado State and is hoping to receive one from Arkansas.
“He said they’re going to continue to evaluate me,” Hewitt said of Bielema. “He said he liked my personality and I’m a good player. He said he’s going to let his other coaches come and he’s going to get back in touch with me.”
Hewitt was caught off guard by Razorbacks fans and their enthusiasm while eating at a restaurant on his first night in town.
“That was crazy,” Hewitt said. “That’s something I’ve never experienced before. That was amazing. That’s once in a lifetime right there.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 22 on 12/14/2012