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:
Tulsa athlete decommits, cites coaching situation
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas lost one of their 17 oral commitments Monday when athlete Dominique Alexander said he was reopening his recruiting because of uncertainty over who will be the head coach, then committed to Oklahoma.
Alexander, 6-1, 194 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Tulsa Washington High School pledged to the Hogs in June shortly after earning a scholarship offer from his performance at Arkansas’ camp. He said talking to coaches in their first year at a school got him to thinking.
“Me and my family don’t feel comfortable with the situation,” Alexander said. “Schools who are recruiting me in their first year of having a head coach are calling me and saying they want their own recruits so they can get into their system and change the culture and it’s going to start with the first class they get. When they tell me stuff like that kind of made me worry who the next head coach is going to be. It’s like walking into the unknown.”
Alexander had a handful of scholarship offers when he pledged to the Hogs but with his play this season he’s seen his stock and offers go up. Alexander said he has more than 15 scholarship offers, including the most recent one from Oklahoma.
“I’m definitely still considering them,” Alexander said of Arkansas. “I’m still going to take an official visit to Arkansas when they get their new head coach and try and give him a chance and see where that goes.”
Alexander, who also plans to officially visit Oklahoma and Kansas State, said he called his lead recruiter and receivers coach Kris Cinkovich and told him of his plans.
“He understands where I’m coming from,” Alexander said. “He just wants me to know that Fayetteville is a great place and you have a great opportunity to be the best player to get to the league and there’s everything there to make me the best player I can be. He wants me to give the other coaching staff a chance.”
CAPPS SIZES UP
It’s rare to see a ninth-grader being talked about when discussing college football recruiting, but Star City defensive lineman Austin Capps isn’t a normal freshman.
Bulldogs Coach Blair Brown has been coaching in south Arkansas for 26 years but he can’t recall a defensive lineman comparable to Capps at a similar age.
“I’ve never seen anything like him.” Brown said, noting that Capps is also an excellent student.
Capps, 6-5, 275 pounds, impressed veteran Arkansas State offensive line coach J.B. Grimes over the summer during a Red Wolves camp when he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.08 seconds.
“He looked at me and his eyes got big,” Brown said. “He’s been all over D-1 [FBS] football for 25 years and at that moment Austin had not turned 15 yet. He was still 14 years old.”
Brown, who stresses Capps is still young and hasn’t made it yet as a top prospect, said he believes Capps physical stature is beyond that of two NFL defensive linemen, Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings and Cedric Thornton of the Philadelphia Eagles at the same age.
“I’ve been around Kevin Williams at Fordyce and Cedric Thornton here, and Kevin has had a long career and Cedric is just getting his started,” Brown said. “Both of them were outstanding but they didn’t look like anything like this, nothing like this kid.”
Brown said Capps wanted to finish playing with the undefeated junior high team before moving up to the high school level and playing against Lake Village, Dewitt and Crossett the past three weeks. He’s recorded 6 unassisted tackles, 12 assists and 2 sacks in the three games.
Capps, who attended Arkansas’ game against Tulsa on Saturday, has been invited to attend the Hogs’ final regular season game against LSU.
Coach Lance Manning of Edmond, (Okla.) Santa Fe High School said Arkansas commitment and safety Khari Harding has matured physically and as a player this season.
Harding, 6-1, 201, 4.6, chose the Hogs over scholarship offers from Oregon State, Kansas State, Houston, Iowa State and Indiana in June but has continued to see offers coming his way.
“I think what drew everybody’s interest last year was his measurables,” Manning said. “Height, weight and the way he runs. I think he’s better in getting lined up in the secondary. He’s bigger, stronger. I think he’s a lot more physical than what he was last year. He’s versatile, I truly believe we could put him at outside ’backer and he would be a force there and I think he could do that in college.” E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the house
Arkansas hosted approximately 40 recruits on unofficial visits Saturday for the Tulsa game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Here are some of the notable prospects who attended the game:
POS. PLAYER HT. WT. 40 SCHOOL
Ath. Dominique Alexander 6-1 194 4.53 Tulsa Washington Has more than 15 offers, including one from Oklahoma
TE Hunter Henry 6-5 235 4.8 Pulaski Academy Having an excellent senior season with close to 1,000 receiving yards
QB Austin Allen 6-2 218 4.7 Fayetteville Arkansas commitment who had more than 2,800 passing yards going into Friday’s game
Ath. Alex Brignoni 6-2 195 4.5 Fayetteville Rangy, hard-hitting safety
LB Brooks Ellis 6-2 218 4.7 Fayetteville Could contend for playing time next year at Arkansas
CB Raymond Wingo 6-1 164 4.31 St. Louis U. HS Younger brother of Hogs RB Ronnie Wingo Jr. has offers from Arkansas, Missouri
OL Zach Rogers 6-3 275 5.06 Carrollton (Texas) Sophomore earned an offer from Hogs at July camp
DL Austin Capps 6-5 275 NA Star City Freshman who is earning a reputation for his play
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/06/2012