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:
Fayetteville coach Starr gazing
Fayetteville kicker Ryan Starr, who kicked a 52-yard field goal against Bentonville last week, is drawing interest from several schools in the region.
LITTLE ROCK When Fayetteville senior Ryan Starr trotted out to attempt a 52-yard field goal in Friday’s game against Bentonville, some questioned the decision.
Those doubts were erased when Starr kicked the ball between the goal posts with several yards to spare.
“His physical skills, he’s the best we’ve had,” said Fayetteville Coach Daryl Patton, whose son Drew and Max Coffin both went on to place-kick in college after graduating from Fayetteville. “Nothing against those two kids, but Ryan has the most physical tools of anyone we’ve had. The ball explodes off his foot.”
Starr is drawing interest from Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. He has made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts, including attempts from 46, 45 and 44 yards. He is 37 of 39 on extra points, and in the past five games he has recorded 15 touchbacks on kickoffs.
Patton recalled being in his office in the spring of 2011, looking out over the field and seeing Starr working on kickoffs.
“He kicks 10 straight balls into the end zone,” Patton said. “So I’m like ‘Man, that’s great. He’s kicking it 62, 61 yards.’ I go down there, and he’s kicking it from the 30. So he’s kicking 70, 71 yards 10 straight times.”
Starr made kicks from 60 yards during pregame warmups, but it was his 52-yarder that impressed Patton the most.
“It would’ve been good from 65,” Patton said. “I was like, you have to be kidding.”
THE REAL SCOOP
It’s said that the best recruiters for college football programs are the players already at the school.
Highly recruited sophomore offensive lineman Zach Rogers heard a strong endorsement of the Arkansas program from Razorbacks freshman defensive end Deatrich Wise while attending the Arkansas-Tulsa game last weekend in Fayetteville.
“One thing he said was what the coaches tell you is what really happens,” said Rogers, who was a teammate of Wise at Carrollton (Texas) Hebron. “It’s not like they try and sell you the school and when you get there on campus it changes. He said everything they said has happened, so I definitely liked hearing that.”
Rogers, 6-3, 275 pounds, 5.06 seconds in the 40-yard dash, earned a scholarship offer from Arkansas during the junior-senior prospect camp in July. He was able to see Wise for the first time since he reported to Fayetteville in the summer.
“It was weird because I haven’t seen him a whole lot lately,” said Rogers, who also has an offer from Texas Tech. “He’s gotten a lot bigger. It’s kind of weird seeing him from playing against me to what he is now and how everything is working out for him now.
“We can sit down and talk about anything. He’s a great guy.”
HENRY TO VISIT ALABAMA
Arkansas’ top commitment, Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry, will take an official visit to Alabama this weekend for the Texas A&M game.
Henry, 6-5, 235 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, orally committed to the Razorbacks in July. He had received scholarship offers from more than 25 schools, including Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Stanford and Vanderbilt.
Henry maintains he is committed to the Razorbacks but wants to visit the Crimson Tide and others.
“In a month, hopefully we’ll know who the Arkansas coach is,” Henry said. “I was thinking right now would be a good time to go look at some places before the next month when I find out who the Arkansas coach will be.”
Henry, rated the No. 52 prospect in the country by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, said Arkansas’ next head coach and his offensive philosophy will weigh into his decision.
“I just really want a good coach and someone that’s also going to use me and use my position,” Henry said.
Georgia is also on the list of schools Henry may visit.
“Probably Georgia, that’s not finalized yet,” said Henry, who will help lead the Bruins into the first round of the Class 5A playoffs tonight against Vilonia. “I might wait until after the season on that just because I might want to just focus on PA after this weekend.”
Henry, who also is staying in contact with Stanford, said Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton called him Wednesday night and he called Horton on Thursday.
“He’s been saying they really need me right now,” Henry said. “He actually said if I was eligible to play this week he would suit me up right away. He’s telling me they really want me up there for sure.”
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Sports, Pages 23 on 11/09/2012