THE RECRUITING GUY:

Spaight draws raves from junior-college coach

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, December 21, 2012
Martrell Spaight, pictured as a senior at North Little Rock in 2010, received an offer from Arkansas last week.
Martrell Spaight, pictured as a senior at North Little Rock in 2010, received an offer from Arkansas last week.

— The mere mention of Arkansas signee Martrell Spaight of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College drew an animated response from defensive coordinator Paige Anders.

“He has the most unbelievable work ethic I’ve ever seen in any player,” Anders said of Spaight, a two-time firstteam NJCAA All-American. “After games, when a lot of kids would go out and celebrate a win or something like that, he would go to the sand pit and work out after games.”

Spaight, 6- 1/2, 220, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, missed the season’s final game because of injury but recorded 130 tackles and was voted the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

“After practice was over, everybody would be done,” Anders said. “We would look over and he would be over on the defensive practice field getting more work in after every single practice. We would have to tell him to come off the practice field so he could make it to the cafeteria in time to eat.”

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Spaight, a 2011 North Little Rock High School graduate, didn’t play his sophomore season at North Little Rock because his academic progress didn’t meet his father’s standards. Spaight sat out his junior season because of a foot injury suffered in a lawn mower accident. He was set to attend Southern Arkansas University but opted for junior college in order to pursue the bigger stage.

“A lot of it you have to credit to him and the way he was raised,” North Little Rock Coach Brad Bolding said. “He really bought in to what we did but he went over and above those things to get where he needed to be and has come a long ways since then.”

Anders said Spaight strives to the be the best at whatever he does.

“If he stretches, he wants to stretch better than the next guy,” Anders said. “If he’s walking to class, he wants to walk better than the next guy.”

Spaight’s Coffeyville teammates unanimously voted him a team captain.

“Here, he always put the team first in everything that he did,” Anders said. “He wanted to make sure he took care of Coffeyville before he took care of himself. Everything he did he did it for his team.”

PHONE TAG

Tight end Deondre Skinner, an Arkansas commitment, said he missed a call from Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema last week because he was having problems with his phone. Skinner said not being able to talk to Bielema made him anxious and concerned about the level of interest the Hogs had in him.

Skinner, 6-4, 225, 4.59 seconds in the 40, of Patterson, La., said he feels much better now after talking to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney on Wednesday.

“He said Coach Bielema had an opportunity to watch film and said he thought I would fit in well with in the type offense they run,” Skinner said.

Coaches aren’t allowed to have face-to-face contact with prospects during the current dead period, which started Dec. 17 and lasts until Jan. 3. But they are allowed one call a week to recruits.

“That showed me they were still looking at me and wanting to come,” Skinner said. “I’m just glad it wasn’t news that I didn’t want to hear. I’m still set with Arkansas and that’s where I’m going to be.”

Skinner, who caught 33 passes for 518 yards and 3 touchdowns during his senior season, earned a scholarship offer from LSU after attending a Tiger summer camp but has stayed firm with the Hogs because of the use of the tight end in the passing game.

He said he plans to make official visits to Arkansas, Mississippi State Ole Miss, Houston and Arizona State but maintains he’s solid to the Razorbacks.

PITTMAN CONNECTION

Offensive lineman Dan Skipper, 6-10, 295, 4.97 of Arvada, (Colo.) Ralston Valley, said he plans to make an official visit to Arkansas Jan. 11. Skipper, who is committed to Tennessee, said he is interested in the Hogs because of his relationship with offensive line coach Sam Pittman, who was Skipper’s lead recruiter when Pittman was with the Volunteers.

OSCEOLA ALL STAR

Osceola running back Korliss Marshall, 6-0, 190, 4.4 seconds in the 40, has been invited to play in the Max Emfinger All American Bowl Classic on Jan. 4 in Daphne, Ala.

Marshall, who rushed 129 times for 1,711 yards and 24 touchdowns, has scholarship offers from Arkansas State, Missouri State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and others.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 25 on 12/21/2012

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