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 tries to get Dallas athlete to do a flip
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --02/02/2013-- University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema addresses the Razorbacks basketball fans during a time out in the first half of Saturday afternoon's game against Tennessee at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith and the chance to play in the SEC are two major reasons why athlete Melvinson Hartfield of Dallas South Oak Cliff decided to make an official visit to Arkansas this weekend.
Hartfield, 5-11, 190 pounds, 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is one of four prospects wrapping up official visits today. Hartfield was recruited by Smith when Smith was on the Kansas State staff and is committed to Kansas State.
“I have a good connection with him,” Hartfield said. “He was really the main reason why I wanted to come. It was a hard week and I have to do a lot of thinking.”
The opportunity of playing in the SEC, which has won the past seven national championships, is another opportunity that excites Hartfield.
“It’s the SEC, just the name of the SEC,” Hartfield said. “Being able to play college football is a blessing to me, but to play in the SEC is a real blessing. It would help me and help my family a lot.”
Hartfield received an inhome visit with Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney on Wednesday.
“They like me as an athlete, but they’re going to use me as a receiver ,” Hartfield said. “I’ll do it. Whatever it takes to help the team, I’ll do it, no matter what it is.”
It was reported during the week that Kansas State could pull Hartfield’s offer if he chose to visit Arkansas, but Hartfield said he didn’t seem too concerned about that.
“I really don’t think so because they want me bad,” he said. “I don’t think they’ll pull it.”
Hartfield said a chance to play college football and get an education would be important to his family.
“My father wasn’t able to go to college and my mother wasn’t able to go,” Hartfield said. “They’ve trained me up right. They’ve been my coaches, my trainers and helped me get this far.”
Whether he flips to Arkansas won’t be decided until signing day.
“I’ll talk it over with my coach first before I do anything,” Hartfield said. “Come signing day, I’ll sign if I like it.”
Other players who visited Arkansas this weekend included Osceola’s Korliss Marshall, who is being recruited as a safety, running back Denzell Evans of Bellaire (Texas) High School and Egg Harbor City (N.J.) Cedar Creek quarterback Damon Mitchell.
WILSON A ‘NO-BRAINER’
Fresno (Calif.) Central East junior running back Nick Wilson received his first SEC scholarship offer Monday from Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas.
“I’m actually pretty excited every time I get an offer,” Wilson said. “Getting an offer from the SEC, that’s a big time conference, it was a real honor.”
Wilson, 5-10, 195 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, called Thomas after receiving a private message from him on Facebook.
“He seemed like a real humble coach,” said Wilson, who also has offers from Arizona, Boise State and California. “He said he was trying to recruit me there [at Washington] but he left. He said he’s glad he didn’t recruit me early. He said Washington might try to hop on, so he wanted to offer me early.”
Wilson, who rushed for 1,617 yards and 16 touchdowns and had 103 receiving yards last season, possesses outstanding speed and shows quick feet in tight lanes.
Wilson said Thomas told him that he had to get him and continue Arkansas’ tradition of great running backs like Darren McFadden.
“He said he was very impressed by the way I ran,” Wilson said. “He said it was a no-brainer.”
Wilson said he looks up to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and tries to emulate his style.
“I take pride in running really aggressively,” said Wilson, who has family in Little Rock. “When you’re a running back you can’t tiptoe through a hole. You have to straight hit it and go.”
Wilson, who has a 3.1 grade point average, plans to major in criminal justice and follow his father’s footsteps.
“I want to become a police officer one day,” he said.
Running back Alex Collins of South Plantation (Fla.) High School will announce his college decision at 9 a.m. Monday on Fox South Sports.
Collins, 5-11, 210, 4.4 seconds, is rated as a four-star recruit by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.
Collins has taken official visits to Arkansas, Miami, Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin. He is expected to choose between Arkansas and Miami.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 32 on 02/03/2013