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:
Razorbacks make an offer to Osceola standout
Korliss Marshall's offer, commitment and signing process was a quick one.
LITTLE ROCK It was a long wait for Osceola athlete Korliss Marshall, but his patience paid off Wednesday when Arkansas extended a scholarship offer.
It looked like Marshall, 6-0, 190 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, would be highly recruited after receiving a scholarship offer from Arkansas State as sophomore, when he rushed 137 times for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns.Other offers came in, but none came from the Razorbacks until Wednesday.
Marshall learned Wednesday that Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. was on his way to the school.
“I was on my way to sixth period and the office told me to go over to the field house and Coach Lunney would be there in 30 minutes,” Marshall said.
Marshall met with Lunney, then spoke to Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema by telephone and was given the news.
“He told me they were giving me an offer, and I was quiet for a minute,” Marshall said. “I really didn’t know what to say, but I was happy.”
Marshall rushed 129 times for 1,711 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior, and he said Lunney explained why it took so long for Arkansas to make an offer.
“They told me the whole process on why they didn’t offer me right then and there,” said Marshall, who recently gave Central Arkansas an oral commitment and had additional scholarship offers from Alabama-Birmingham, Missouri State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, among others. “I had to understand they had a new staff, so I’m glad they broke that down to me.”
Osceola Coach Russell Leggett has worked in the school district for 18 years and has seen gifted athletes such as Bo Mosley, Harold James, Chris Littleton and Jonathan Adams, but he has said Marshall is the most gifted he’s seen. Marshall has the ability to play several positions on both sides of the ball.
Marshall said he plans to officially visit Arkansas this weekend.
“I think I’ll probably make a commitment, but I’ll wait it out until I make the visit so I can weigh all of my options,” said Marshall, who had planned to visit Alabama-Birmingham this weekend. “I don’t want to go down there and just jump on it right away.”
WAITING ON OFFER
Arkansas also could get an oral commitment from Denzell Evans, a running back from Bellaire, Texas, who is also making an official visit to Fayetteville this weekend.
Evans, 5-11, 210, 4.5, has committed to Houston but is hoping to receive a scholarship offer on his visit to Arkansas. He rushed 260 times for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.
Evans received an in home visit from Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and running backs coach Joel Thomas on Wednesday afternoon.
“They said they really want me up there,” Evans said. “All of the pieces are falling into place these last final days.”
Evans said he has a game plan in case Arkansas extends an offer during his visit.
“I’ll definitely be excited and ecstatic about it,” said Evans, who had 135 carries for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. “I would call home and let everyone know first before I tell them I’ll be a Hog.”
Arkansas is also expected to host quarterback Damon Mitchell of Egg Harbor City (N.J.) Cedar Creek for an official visit. He is orally committed to Georgia Tech.
CHECKING OUT LONDON
Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge visited Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday.
The school is a football powerhouse, and Partridge was there to check on three highly regarded juniors: defensive lineman Anthony Moten, receiver Corey Holmes and running back Madre London.
London, 6-1, 205, 4.53, rushed 123 times for 969 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman at Bryant. He already has scholarship offer from Cincinnati, South Carolina and Rutgers, and he hopes to get one from his home state, which appears to be a strong possibility.
St. Thomas Aquinas Coach Rocco Casullo, who talked to Partridge, saw London later in the day.
“He came up to me and asked me if they offered me would I go there,” said London, who was carrying an Arkansas book bag. “I told him they would be one of my top choices if they did offer. He said they’ll most likely offer sooner than later so keep working hard.”
London said he would embrace the opportunity for his family in Arkansas to see him play.
“It also gives me a good feeling that all of my family could travel about two hours away,” London said.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 28 on 02/01/2013