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:
New Jersey QB considers Arkansas after visit
Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema speaks during a time out in the first half of a NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Arkansas defeated Tennessee 73-60. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
LITTLE ROCK Arkansas received three commitments out of the four prospects who made official visits to Arkansas over the weekend. The fourth, quarterback Damon Mitchell, is also sounding good for the Hogs.
Mitchell, 6-3, 205 pounds, 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Egg Harbor City, (N.J.) Cedar Creek was committed to Georgia Tech before arriving in Fayetteville but that could change. He plans to talk to his mother and coach before making a final decision.
“If it was my decision and my decision only and I didn’t consider them, I’ll be at Arkansas without a doubt.” said Mitchell, who plans to announce his decision between Arkansas, Rutgers, Iowa and Georgia Tech on signing day.
Mitchell said one of the highlights of the trip was meeting Susan Mayes, a professor in exercise and science and seeing the support the Razorbacks enjoy.
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“She was really cool,” Mitchell said. “She understands how football works as a student and an athlete. The campus and the people support you. You pretty much have the whole state behind you. Seems like everyone knows who you are.”
The team chemistry also impressed Mitchell, who was hosted by fullback Kiero Small.
“I saw that hanging out with my host,” said Mitchell, who passed for 2,201 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,035 yards and 20 touchdowns this past season.”Those guys have a good time and enjoy themselves.”
ONE DOWN ...
Running back Denzell Evans, 5-11, 210, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Bellaire, Texas, High School, was one of the three who pledged to the Hogs on Sunday. Evans, a four-year starter, rushed 160 times for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season. He had 135 carries for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.
“You think of a kid being that big being a bruiser and a guy that likes to bang it downhill, which he can do,” Bellaire Coach Trey Sissom said. “He’s one of those guys once he’s in the hole he’s not going to take a big shot. He’s very elusive and has a great feet. He has those attributes of a running back you just can’t coach. He has God-given ability.”
Evans’ teammate, offensive lineman Dwayne Johnson, 6-6, 270, 5.2, is expected to announce his college decision today. He will decide between Arkansas and Nebraska.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff are one day away from signing their first class in Fayetteville, but that’s not stopping them from looking toward the 2014 class.
The Hogs have three oral commitments for the 2014 class, including El Dorado defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson, who visited the Hogs on Saturday. He was joined by Springdale Har-Ber junior defensive lineman Josh Frazier.
Jackson and Frazier, who have become friends, participated in the state track meets at the Tyson indoor track facility on the Arkansas campus.
Jackson, 6-2, 325, 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash, pledged to the Hogs on Dec. 20 before having a chance to meet with Bielema and the staff in person. He and Frazier, 6-4, 324, 5.1, visited with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge for about an hour.
“He sat down and talked to us and told us how he teaches the defensive line,” Jackson said. “I like him. I like him a lot. I’m really comfortable around him. A lot of the stuff he does I do now. It will be pretty easy to jump into the flow of things when I get up there.”
Frazier, who received a scholarship offer from Southern California on Monday, also has offers from Arkansas, Alabama and Arkansas State. He said he plans to visit several schools this summer and hasn’t set a firm date for a decision.
Jackson, who was born Nov. 6, 1993, the same day as Frazier, said he’s trying to convince Frazier to join him as a Razorback.
“Hopefully we can get him to be a Razorback,” said Jackson, who’s rated as the nation’s No. 95 junior prospect by Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. “I’m trying to push him a little bit. I try not to push him too hard . If he came and played for us that would be great.”
The two were able to spend a few minutes with Bielema before he had to attend the Hogs’ basketball game against Tennessee.
“He liked us being together,” Frazier said. “He liked that we were born on the same day. He really liked that. He thinks everything is destined.”
Offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, 6-5, 320 pounds, of Miami Washington, will announce his college decision between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on ESPNU on Wednesday. He was expected will choose from Arkansas and Florida State but his coach Tim Harris told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald that Miami was back into the mix for Kirkland. He did note it was his opinion not what Kirkland had told him.
Alabama commitment and running back Altee Tenpenny, 5-11, 215, 4.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of North Little Rock is expected to sign with the Crimson Tide at 8:30 on Wednesday. Arkansas was hoping for a late change of heart, but Tenpenny tweeted late Monday night, “I’m 100% to BAMA...!!”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 21 on 02/05/2013