Linebacker finds comfort zone with UA assistant

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Wisconsin defensive coordinators Charlie Partridge, left, and Chris Ash answer questions during a news conference in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Photo by The Associated Press
Wisconsin defensive coordinators Charlie Partridge, left, and Chris Ash answer questions during a news conference in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

— Arkansas ties and a prior relationship with Razorbacks defensive coordinator Chris Ash has highly recruited linebacker Clifton Garrett of Joliet (Ill.) Plainfield South interested in the Hogs.

Garrett, 6-2 1/2, 228 pounds, 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash, reports having scholarship offers from 17 schools, including Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Florida and Clemson. He hasn’t been offered by Arkansas, but he anticipates receiving one soon.

“He told me they were still very interested,” Garrett said of Ash. “They were the ones that offered me at Wisconsin.”

Garrett recorded 107 tackles, including 11 for losses, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble as a junior. He became familiar with Ash while attending a Wisconsin camp last year.

“Coach Ash was a great guy,” said Garrett, who reports a 305-pound bench press and 465-pound squat. “We got a chance to bond right away. He was coaching me up, and I had a wonderful time getting tips from him. I used those tips he gave me at camp for my season and they helped me a lot.”

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Garrett as a four-star recruit and the nation’s No. 55 prospect. His father’s side of the family is from Wynne.

“It’s my dad’s aunts and uncles down there, and I have a lot of cousins down there as well,” Garrett said. “My grandfather and grandmother are both from Wynne.”

Garrett said Ash has told him about the football complex that is under construction and other facilities scheduled to be built. He is thankful for his parents, Clifton and Katrina, and the way he has been raised.

“They help me stay on track and not get too big headed,” Garrett said. “I have a great support system with my parents and my coaches along with all my friends and family.”


Hot Springs Lakeside Coach Jared McBride has coached several good quarterbacks, including Arkansas’ Brandon Allen, while he was the offensive coordinator at Fayetteville high school from 2007-2009, but he said he thinks Rams junior quarterback Garrett Carson is among the best.

“I’ve been around some pretty good ones the last few years, and he’s right up there with all of them,” McBride said.

Carson, 6-2, 218 pounds, 4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash, completed 158 of 275 passes for 2,067 yards and 22touchdowns with 5 interceptions last season after playing sparingly as a sophomore.

“He’s going to hit the circuit during the spring as far as combinewise,” McBride said. “He’s going to the Nike Elite in Dallas. He went to Memphis last year. I got him in that one just to make sure he did it once before it really counted.”

Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe visited the school during the December and January contact period and are showing interest. McBride said Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. plans to attend a spring practice to watch Carson.

“He’s as big right now as any that I’ve had,” McBride said. “Brandon was a big kid at Fayetteville, but Garrett is kind of college ready as far as being a good-size kid. He still has to work on his footwork and all that type of stuff. He could play early as far as having the skill. He has the arm strength to do it.”


Arkansas’ first oral commitment for the 2014 class, Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., will visit Arkansas on Saturday morning and have a chance to meet Coach Bret Bielema, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney and other members of the staff for the first time.

Peavey, 6-2, 197 pounds, 4,5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, committed to the Hogs over scholarship offers from Missouri, Nebraska, UCLA, Boston College, Ole Miss, West Virginia and others last summer.

He and Rogers Heritage quarterback Josh Qualls, 6-1, 175, 4.59, were two of the top quarterbacks at the 2013 Semper Fidelis Proving Ground national combine Jan. 3 in Carson, Calif.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, who picks players for the Semper Fidelis All American Bowl game, liked Peavey and Qualls.

“He’s a solidly built quarterback with a good arm, real good feet,” Lemming said. “He could fit into a pro-style or even a spread offense. He’s a confident, very talented quarterback, very good production, and that’s why he has so many people pursuing him.”

Qualls is drawing interest from Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Oklahoma State, Norte Dame and others.

“He was another guy that stood out,” Lemming said. “Another good prospect. It looks like the guys in the state of Arkansas are starting to fall into place.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 19 on 02/22/2013