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:
Missouri QB doing his best to sell Razorbacks
Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., became Arkansas’ first oral commitment for the 2014 class.
LITTLE ROCK Quarterback Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., became Arkansas’ first oral commitment for the 2014 class in July after participating in the Hogs’ junior-senior prospect camp, and he’s hoping to help the Razorbacks by encouraging other prospects to join him in Fayetteville.
Peavey, 6-2, 197 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, chose the Hogs over scholarship offers from Missouri, Nebraska, UCLA, Boston College, Ole Miss, West Virginia and others. His father, Jack, was a graduate assistant with the Razorbacks under Jack Crowe and his mother, Rachael, attended Arkansas.
Peavey said he doesn’t necessarily recruit other prospects, but he tries to educate them about the Razorbacks.
“If they have a question about Arkansas I just let them know how I feel,” Peavey said. “My uncle [Sam Freas] was the head coach of the swimming team and my other uncle [Jerry Spencer] was a world record holder in swimming, and now he’s a vice president of Wal-Mart.”
Peavey was one of about 20 recruits who attended Arkansas’ game against Rutgers. He was seen talking to highly touted receiver Ryan Timmons, who was on an official visit, before the game.
“Timmons, he’s a big family guy,” Peavey said. “So I told him Arkansas has the best family atmosphere of all of college football.”
Timmons also was told of the Razorbacks’ football tradition that includes Frank Broyles, Lou Holtz, Jerry Jones and others, and Peavey said he also talked to Timmons about Arkansas’ fan base, facilities and coaches.
“I told him the reason why I committed,” Peavey said. “Their facilities are going to be phenomenal, and that’s what kind of sold me. The fan base and the coaching are incredible.”
Recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Tim Horton is Arkansas lead recruiter on Peavey and attended Bolivar’s game against Marshfield on Sept. 21, when Peavey completed 12 of 16 passes for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 38-0 victory.
“It meant a whole lot,” Peavey said of Horton’s attendance.
“It was kind of a honor. He was the first one to look at me and that just meant a whole lot, so I wanted to put on a show for him and make his trip worthwhile.”
CORNER STILL SOLID
Junior college cornerback Carroll Washington, who is orally committed to Arkansas, has seen few balls thrown his way this season.
Washington, 5-11, 180, 4.4, plays for Salinas (Calif.) Hartnell College and chose the Razorbacks in August over scholarship offers from nine other schools, including Texas Tech, Rutgers, Mississippi State and Kansas.
“I guess they know who I am and they’ve heard about my commitment,” Washington said of opposing offenses. “They’ve been avoiding me a lot.”
Washington, who recorded 27 tackles, 4 interceptions, 6 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble last year, has 11 tackles and 1 pass breakup in 4 games this season.
Arkansas has struggled to a 1-4 record, but Washington said earlier this week that he remains loyal to the Hogs.
“I’m still sitting with Arkansas,” said Washington, who added that he talks with Arkansas receivers coach Kris Cinkovich on a regular basis.
Defensive backs are usually among the best athletes on the field because they have to have the athletic ability to keep up with receivers who know where the ball is supposed to go, and they must be able to read the receivers and turn for the ball.
Often, the latter is the toughest task for defensive backs.
“You’re always taught to follow the receiver’s eyes or read his eyes and his hands,” Washington said. “When his hands go up, that’s when you turn around and try and go for the ball.”
Washington said a defender has to be careful when deciding to turn and look for the ball in pass coverage.
“You never want to look back if you’re not shoulder to-shoulder with the receiver,” Washington said. “He can create that separation. The only time you look back is when you can actually elbow a receiver.
“What you want to do is when you’re looking back is to lean on the receiver, so even if he does try and get away from you for that split second you’ll be leaning on him and you can feel him on your body. While you’re leaning on him and you’re looking back, he can’t really go anywhere because you can feel him.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 29 on 09/30/2012