Recruits find food, family time on Thanksgiving

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Rafe Peavey was Arkansas first commitment of the 2014 class.
Rafe Peavey was Arkansas first commitment of the 2014 class.

— Like millions of other Americans, several Arkansas recruits will gather with their families on Thanksgiving.

Arkansas’ lone 2014 commitment, quarterback Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., said about 15 family members and neighbors will gather at his house.

The holiday allows Rafe and his siblings an opportunity to take a break from their hectic sports schedules.

“We’re running everywhere for sports and everything,” Rafe Peavey said, noting that sister Peyton plays basketball at Bolivar while brother Kolton plays quarterback for South Alabama. “A lot of times we don’t have a chance to have sit-down meals. Thanksgiving is a fun time to be around the family.”

Peavey, who said his plate will be full of ham, mashed potatoes and homemade macaroni and cheese, said he’s thankful that Kolton has set a good example in life.

“He was just a great leader in high school; he never drank, smoked,” Rafe Peavey said. “He showed me there were ways to have fun without doing that. He showed me how to keep my head on straight and be humble and be a great leader for other people to look up to.”

El Dorado junior defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson said he is looking forward to Friday’s Class 6A semifinal game against Greenwood.

“It’s just a privilege to be able to practice on the week of Thanksgiving,” Jackson said. “There’s only four teams left in each classificiation. It’s nice being one of those left.”

He said the Wildcats will practice on Thanksgiving between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., but will find time to eat.

“I’ll probably eat a little before and a little after,” Jackson said.

His favorite dish is his grandmother’s dressing, with squash being a key ingredient.

Jackson said he contributes to the Thanksgiving feast by making three pecan pies.

“I usually make two for us in the house and then I make one for my grandma,” Jackson said.

Charleston sophomore quarterback Ty Storey said approximately 15 family members, including cousins, aunts and uncles from all across the state and an aunt from Dallas will celebrate Thanksgiving at his grandmother’s house in town.

He said he prefers ham over traditional turkey.

“I’m not much of a turkey guy,” said Storey, who has a scholarship offer from Arkansas State.

Storey said he will eat several little meals instead of a big one, and is especially looking forward to his grandmother’s pumpkin pie.

“I usually don’t eat a lot at one time,” said Storey, who will lead the Tigers against Glen Rose in Friday’s playoffs. “I’ll be in and out of the kitchen all day. “

Pine Bluff sophomore tight end Will Gragg, who has a scholarship offer from Arkansas, has to get ready for a Class 6A semifinal game against Jonesboro, so his food intake will be limited.

“We normally have a big family dinner at my aunt’s house in Pine Bluff,” Gragg said. “Family comes down from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. I think we have practice around that time. I don’t think I’m going to get to eat much.” LONE TIGHT END

Pulaski Academy’s Hunter Henry will be the lone tight end on CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming’s All-America team to be revealed on his Nov. 30 recruiting show, The Lemming Report.

“He’s had the best year of any tight end in the country,” Lemming said. “He has soft hands, runs very well for a big guy and runs great routes and does a good job of protecting the ball. When he’s called on to block, he’s a good blocker. He has everything going for him, he’s athletic. He reminds me of [New England Patriot tight end] Rob Gronkowski.”

Henry, 6-5, 235 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is committed to Arkansas but has officially visited Alabama and has plans to make other visits, including to Arkansas.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 19 on 11/20/2012