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:
Arkansas eyeing New Jersey DB
Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash coaches players at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas coaches were on the road for the second day of the contact period and one the Hogs’ top targets, safety Kiy Hester, saw Razorbacks defensive coordinator Chris Ash at his school Monday.
Hester, 6-2, 212 pounds, 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic, has approximately 25 scholarship offers and plans to officially visit the Razorbacks.
“I think it went well,” De-Paul Catholic associate head coach Bryan Murray said. “We had a good discussion and how he sees him fitting into the defense there.”
Hester had planned to visit Fayetteville on Dec. 13-15, but that could be moved up.
“We may actually speed up our visit,” Murray said. “We may make a mid-week visit next week vs. a weekend visit. We’ll try and get as many schools in as we can before the break.”
National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Hester a 4-star plus prospect. He recorded 40 unassisted tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack, 5 interceptions and 18pass breakups in eight games this season.
Murray said Ash showing up at the school impressed Hester.
“Not everybody sends their DC out, so that shows an elevated level of interest on Arkansas’ part,” Murray said.
Murray also said he expected Hester to look past the shiny facilities that schools have to offer and will focus on personal relationships.
“Everybody has a big stadium, everybody has a weight room and everybody has all the same stuff,” Murray said. “In the end, it’s going to come down to people and the comfort level he has with those people. I would say Arkansas is right in the thick of that as far as the people.”
Hester made an official visit to Michigan State over the weekend and has plans to make trips to Miami and Missouri. Georgia is also a possibility.
Murray sees a bigger Hester at the next level.
“It depends on how much he develops, but he could end up at 225 to 230 pounds,” he said.
DAY STILL LOCKED IN
Running back commitment Juan Day of North Little Rock will be one of the eight players expected to make official visits at Arkansas this weekend.
Day, 6-2, 210, 4.5, rushed 115 times for 930 yards and 13 touchdowns in nine games as a junior while sharing time with running back Altee Tenpenny, who is now a freshman at Alabama. Day committed to the Hogs in January and has never wavered.
“I always dreamed to play for the Razorbacks,” Day said. “Once I had the opportunity, I just took it. The Razorbacks have always been my favorite team that I cheered for, so I want to play for them. I can’t see myself leaving the state and representing another state.”
Day, who’s rated a 4-star prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the third game against Pine Bluff. He said rehab is going well.
“I’m about 40 percent,” he said. “I just have to really work on getting the muscles back into my thighs.”
Others expected to visit Arkansas this weekend include receiver commitments Torrance Mosley and Corey McBride, both of Geismar (La.) Dutchtown, and Jared Cornelius of Shreveport Evangel. Also expected are offensive lineman Brain Wallace Jr. and defensive lineman Armon Watts, both of St. Louis Christian Brothers. Watts has committed to Arkansas.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 22 on 12/03/2013