THE RECRUITING GUY:

Pittman’s connections already paying off

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Sam Pittman talks with Tennessee offensive lineman Zach Fulton during a game against Akron at Neyland Stadium.
Photo by Angela Lewis, Chattanooga Times Free Press
Sam Pittman talks with Tennessee offensive lineman Zach Fulton during a game against Akron at Neyland Stadium.

— Several highly recruited prospects are looking at taking official visits to Arkansas after Coach Bret Bielema announced the hiring of Sam Pittman as the Hogs’ offensive line coach.

While at Tennessee, Pittman had secured a commitment from linebacker Colton Goeas of Saint Louis High School in Honolulu.

Goeas, 6-2, 248 pounds, 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he is interested in visiting Arkansas.

“Coach Pittman and I are really close,” Goeas said. “I’m extremely interested.”

Goeas’ teammate and close friend, offensive lineman Reeve Koehler, said he received a scholarship offer from Arkansas on Wednesday when he talked to Pittman. Both are rated as four-star prospects by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.

“Coach Pittman is definitely one of my favorite coaches in college football,” said Koehler, 6-3, 315, 5.2. “I definitely have interest in Arkansas.”

Goeas said his final decision will be made with the input of his family. He said he also plans to officially visit Tennessee and Kansas, and he hopes to visit UCLA.

“It’s all going to come down to how I like the area and, No. 1, probably the coaches,” he said.

Koehler, who has made official visits to Tennessee, Kansas and Hawaii, said he’ll set up an official visit to Arkansas once Pittman settles in at Fayetteville.

“I know it’s in a small town and they’re the Razorbacks,” Koehler said. “I know they finished in the top five a year ago.”

Oregon and California are vying for Koehler’s fifth and final official visit.

Koehler said the combination of Arkansas playing in the SEC West and Pittman’s arrival convinced him to check out the Hogs.

“It’s both,” Koehler said. “It’s the better division in the SEC, so having that chance is major factor.”

Goeas’ father, Leo, played nine years in the NFL with the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams, as well as with the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers. Goeas has a 485-pound bench press.

“I love training,” Goeas said.

Another prospect being recruited by Pittman at Tennessee, offensive lineman Dan Skipper of Arvada (Colo.) Ralston Valley, said he has talked to Pittman about possibly setting up a visit to Arkansas. Skipper, 6-10, 295, 4.97, said he’s 90 percent sure he’ll make a trip to Fayetteville. The Volunteers commitment is finishing up an official visit to Michigan today.

Oral commitments are nonbinding.

INTERESTED AGAIN

Arkansas assistant coach Bobby Allen visited with Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College linebacker Antonio Longino on Thursday.

Longino, 6-3, 220, 4.4, made an official visit to Arkansas on Sept. 22 for the Rutgers game and came away impressed, but his interest appeared to cool later in the season as the Hogs continued to lose.

His interested has picked up again with Arkansas’ hiring of Bret Bielema as head coach.

“Real high,” Longino said of his interest in the Hogs. “I’m just taking all of my visits to see, but right now I’m thinking about Arkansas and feeling real good with them.”

Allen, who has been Longino’s lead recruiter, has stayed in contact with the highly regarded prospect, and Longino said the visit with Allen went well. Longino said he has talked to Bielema on the phone and was impressed, and he is looking forward to his January in-home visit with him.

“He’s going to try and make it to my house when I’m home in Cleveland,” said Longino, who plans to graduate in the spring and will have three years to play three. “He was a cool dude. He’s ready to ball.”

Longino, who has a 345-pound bench press and a 470-pound squat, said his top schools, in no particular order, are Arkansas, Auburn, Arizona State and Mississippi State. He was expected to visit Arizona State this weekend.

TAVARRES LIKES BIELEMA

Bret Bielema traveled to California on Thursday to visit with Arkansas commitment Myke Tavarres.

Tavarres, 6-2 1/2, 215, 4.42, played linebacker for College of the Siskiyous and had talked to Bielema by telephone. Bielema’s visit to his school also went well.

“We talked about life and my life and things I want to do and things I can do after the [Arkansas] program,” Tavarres said.

Tavarres visited Boise State recently and has visited Arizona. He plans to make a final decision soon, and he said Bielema’s visit definitely helped the Hogs’ chances of landing him.

“I really like him. He’s a great guy and he knows what he’s doing,” said Tavarres, who plans to enroll at his next school in January. “He’s easy to talk to, and the thing I’m talking about when I say he knows what he’s doing, he’s confident in what he’s doing from what he’s done in the past, and that definitely shows.” DONE DEAL

Bret Bielema also visited cornerback Carroll Washington of Salinas (Calif.) Hartnell College, and that was enough for the Razorbacks commitment.

Carroll, 5-11, 180, 4.4 , said he’s done with recruiting and will sign with Arkansas on Dec. 19 at his home in Baltimore.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 34 on 12/16/2012

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