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:
Har-Ber junior gets acquainted with Bielema
Springdale Har-Ber defensive tackle Josh Frazier (99) is one of the top in-state targets for the 2014 class.
LITTLE ROCK CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has defensive linemen Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado and Josh Frazier of Springdale Har-Ber on his list of the nation’s top 100 juniors.
Jackson, 6-2, 325 pounds, 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash, called Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema on Thursday night and orally committed to the Hogs for the Class of 2014. Frazier, 6-4, 324, 5.1, called Bielema on Saturday to begin the process of building a relationship.
“He wanted to know some of the more important people in my life,” Frazier said. “I told him my mom, my coaches and my teachers - people that keep me on the right track and making sure I’m doing right in the classroom and other aspects of my life.”
Frazier, who was recently named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansasteam along with Jackson, recorded 65 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and a forced fumble. He received a scholarship offer from the previous staff at Arkansas.
“He reassured me that I have an offer from Arkansas,” said Frazier, who also reports offers from Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas State. “He wanted me to get down there so I can meet him in person.”
The conversation flowed well and made Frazier comfortable.
“I thought he was really cool,” Frazier said. “He understood me really well. We kind of had the same outlook on things and life.”
Frazier, who likes Bielema’s defensive background and track record, said he’s not in a hurry to make a decision and wants to see how Bielema and Arkansas fare in the fall.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema, in his three weeks on the job, has let at least three Razorbacks commitments know it would be in their best interest to look elsewhere.
Quarterback Tyler Cogswell of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, running back Kaleb Blanchard of Denham Springs, La., and receiver Lamar Jordan of Frisco (Texas) Centennial pledged to the Hogs under the previous coaching staff but are now off the commitment list and will sign elsewhere.
Under NCAA rules, college coaches aren’t allowed to mention a recruit by name, but Bielema addressed the reasons while he felt the Razorbacks had to go in a different direction in a teleconference with the media Saturday.
“I think it’s very important for every kid to know there’s a plan for them here,” Bielema said. “There was a majority of kids that when I came in here were already committed. Because we were so early in the recruiting process, I did feel it was a fair thing to do if we weren’t feeling good about where we were with them here at Arkansas, to tell them and let them have an opportunity with the remaining four or five weeks of recruiting to get a full scholarship offer somewhere else.”
By letting the prospects know early about their status, Bielema said it will benefit them in the long run.
“It may be a variety of different things,” Bielema said. “But it was one that it would help them if they could decommit from us and open up their recruiting battles to open up more opportunities for themselves.” EARNING RESPECT
Plantation (Fla.) South High School Coach Doug Gatewood has known Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema since 1997, when he became a head coach in Broward County and Bielema was entering his second year of coaching linebackers for Iowa.
Gatewood, whose prized running back Alex Collins is considering taking an official visit to Arkansas, said he thinks highly of Bielema. Gatewood said Bielema helped a player he recruited to Iowa find another school even after Bielema left to become defensive coordinatorat Kansas State.
“He helped my kid get into a junior college to get his grades back up,” Gatewood said. “He hooked him up with a name and a number to get back right. He didn’t have to do that, he was at another school.”
Gatewood’s relationship with Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge goes back to when both attended high school in Plantation.
“He was a few years behind me.” Gatewood said. “Wherever he’s been it seems like he’s always been in charge of south Florida recruiting. Since he grew up right in the middle of Broward County, he’s always related well with the kids from Broward County.”
Gatewood said he appreciates Partridge’s ability to communicate with the kids in south Florida.
“A lot of the recruiters that come to south Florida, they don’t talk like the kids,” Gatewood said. “A lot of people try to befriend the kids and talk like the kids. I don’t like it, I don’t appreciate it that much. Coach Partridge always comes at them right and talks to them the right way and they always respect what he has to say.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 22 on 12/25/2012