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:
Wisconsin defensive lineman interested in UA
LITTLE ROCK While Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his coaching staff are working hard on the 2013 recruiting class, the Razorbacks also are looking ahead to the 2014 class.
One prospect Arkansas’ staff needs no introduction to is junior defensive lineman Craig Evans, who orally committed to Wisconsin in September but recently reopened his recruiting.
Evans, from Sun Prairie, Wis., said he believes he rushed his decision and wants to reevaluate his options.
“I’m kind of trying to sit back and take my time and give a bunch of schools a shot, a chance,” said Evans, 6-3, 325pounds, 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “I don’t feel like I did that the first time. I was kind of rushing into some things. This time I’m trying to take my time. “
Evans said he plans to check out Arkansas at some point in large part because of his relationship with Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who has coached the Badgers’ defensive line since 2008.
“He’s just a people guy,” Evans said. “He has this touch. He’s very cool, very well-spoken. You can meet him for the first time and you would think you had known him for a couple of years. He’s just one of those guys that people like, and I’ve had a great relationship with him and known him since my freshman year.”
Chicago De La Salle junior offensive lineman Jamarco Jones, 6-6, 290, already has 16 scholarship offers, including ones from Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Florida.
Jones, who is rated as the No. 96 junior prospect in the nation by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, said he talked to Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman about a week ago.
“He said he saw me play on tape,” Jones said. “He was really excited and fired up about me. He wants to start building a relationship with me.”
The interest is mutual, and Jones said he hopes to visit Arkansas in the future after having already visited Wisconsin.
“I actually had a chance to speak with Coach [Bret] Bielema a few times over the phone and in person,” Jones said. “I really like him as a coach.”
Another top junior offensive lineman, Donell Stanley of Latta, S.C., is interested in the Hogs as well.
Stanley, 6-4, 320, 5.1, has 13 scholarship offers from schools including South Carolina, Clemson and Florida.
“I watched them play against South Carolina and they were a pretty sound team,” Stanley said. “I know they had a coaching change, and I know they’ll be pretty good next year.”
Stanley, who is rated the No. 44 junior prospect in the nation by Lemming, is aware of Bielema’s success with offensive linemen at Wisconsin.
“I watched him a lot at Wisconsin,” Stanley said. “He had some pretty good recruits go up there and they’re in the NFL now.”
AN ARKANSAS FAMILY
Arkansas roots run deep with St. Charles (Ill.) East receiver Brannon Barry, and those ties have him interested in the Razorbacks.
Barry, 6-5 1/2, 202, 4.54, is drawing interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Iowa State and Wisconsin, where he was recruited by Arkansas defensive coordinator ChrisAsh.
“My grandfather went to Arkansas,” said Barry, a junior. “My grandmother went to Arkansas. The entire side of my dad’s side of cousins went to Arkansas. My grandpa’s brother went to Arkansas, so everyone is an Arkansas alumni.”
Barry’s sister also graduated from Arkansas in May.
“All my sister’s friends went to Arkansas and they’ve been telling me to go to Arkansas,” Barry said. “I would love nothing more than to be a Razorback. I love the campus and everything. My dad’s whole side is pushing the Razorbacks. Woo, Pig Sooie - that’s all they’re yelling in my ear.”
Arkansas commitment Khari Harding of Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe liked what he heard when he called Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema on Friday.
“He said he was going to send the safety coach and defensive coordinator down here to visit me on January 4th or 5th,” Harding said. “He said he didn’t believe they were really strong at the safety spot and I could come in and help real fast and he wouldn’t redshirt me. Just said there’s a chance I wouldn’t be redshirted.”
Harding, 6-1, 201, 4.6, plans to take official visits to Arkansas, Auburn and Arizona State. He said the conversation helped the Hogs’ chances of keeping him in the fold.
“I like it,” Harding said. “I’m going to come in and try to help the team right away.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 31 on 12/30/2012