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.
Razorbacks get three to commit
Korliss Marshall's offer, commitment and signing process was a quick one.
LITTLE ROCK Three of the four prospects making official visits to Arkansas this weekend made oral commitments before leaving, and the fourth is considering making a pledge.
Osceola safety Korliss Marshall, 6-0, 190 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was the first commitment for the Hogs on Sunday. He was taken aback by Arkansas’ emphasis on academics.
“I never realized how big Arkansas was on academics until I saw the facilities,” said Marshall, who received his scholarship offer Wednesday. “They put so much money into the academics. That’s what I value about Arkansas.”
Marshall, who played running back, rushed 129 times for 1,711 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. He said he enjoyed being able to spend time with the Razorbacks coaching staff.
“I’m not trying to say they’re better than the old staff,” said Marshall, who also had scholarship offers from Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas State and Central Arkansas, to which he had originally committed. “They’re a staff that’s family oriented and it makes you want to become a part of the team.”
Marshall said he is looking forward to the challenge of playing safety.
“I’m familiar with corner and free safety and strong safety position, so I really don’t see a problem,” he said. “The majority of time I’ve played running back, so it’s about time for me to beat up on some people myself.”
Running back Denzell Evans, 5-11, 210, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Bellaire (Texas) High School was committed to Houston before arriving on Arkansas’ campus but left Sunday committed to the Razorbacks.
“I really enjoyed the visit,” Evans said. “Seeing the great facilities was awesome. I loved it.”
He rushed 260 times for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season and had 135 carries for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. He said he called his family before deciding to be a Hog.
“It’s the SEC, great division, great coaches,” said Evans, who also had scholarship offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas State, Minnesota and SMU. “I just loved the overall environment and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Freshman defensive end JaMichael Winston was Evans’ weekend host.
“That’s a big ole dude there,” Evans said. “Big dude.”
Arkansas was able to convince receiver Melvinson Hartfield to flip his commitment from Kansas State after the Dallas South Oak Cliff product finished his official visit Sunday.
“I felt like I belonged,” said Hartfield, who was hosted by receiver Demetrius Wilson.“I felt real good about everything. I just felt welcomed.”
Hartfield, 5-11, 190, 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was recruited to Kansas State by Michael Smith, the Hogs’ new receivers coach. He said the trip to Fayetteville made the switch easy.
“The fans just opened their arms to me,” said Hartfield, who also has a scholarship offer from Texas Tech. “I just came there for a weekend and they treated me well and made me feel at home.”
Hartfield played cornerback but was effective as a receiver with 12 receptions for 412 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Egg Harbor City (N.J.) Cedar Creek quarterback Damon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, 4.48, was impressed enough with his visit that he said he would be a Razorback if it is left up to him. Mitchell is orally committed to Georgia Tech and said he wants to go home and talk to his mother and coach before making a final decision.
The Hogs hope to hear good news tonight when South Plantation (Fla.) High School running back Alex Collins, 5-11, 210, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, announces his decision at 9 p.m. on Fox South Sports. He’ll choose from between Arkansas, Miami, Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin.
Sports, Pages 13 on 02/04/2013