Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Burgess enjoys visit to Arkansas
#11 QB Jabe Burgess of Greenwood keeps the ball and picks up a first down.
The individual attention and the Arkansas coaches made Greenwood quarterback Jabe Burgess' Wednesday morning visit a hit.
Burgess, 6-2, 180 pounds has scholarship offers from Illinois and Tulsa while also drawing interest from Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Arkansas State and others.
"It went great," said Burgess, who arrived about 9 a.m and left about noon. "I got to see a lot of new things going on there," The new construction side and how everything's going to be operated."
Burgess lead the Bulldogs to the Class 6A state title while completely 219 of 296 passes for 3,128 yards, 36 touchdowns and suffered only 5 interceptions. He spent about 20 minutes in Coach Bret Bielema's office.
"He's a really a great guy," said Burgess, who was told recruiting in-state athletes would be a big priority. "I really haven't had a chance to speak to him personally until then. I can just tell he's really down to earth. I loved what he had to say and I loved the direction he's leading the program. He makes you feel at ease while you're talking to him. He's going to tell you the truth and shoot you straight so I really respect that out of him."
Burgess was able to talk to offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Jim Chaney for about 45 minutes and was told the Hogs would only take one quarterback. The Razorbacks have a pledge from quarterback Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Missouri.
"They said they're going to take one quarterback in this class and as of now they have the committed quarterback," Burgess said. "They said they're recruiting me right now and they're really hesitant about offering quarterbacks. They really want to see me and I can respect that. I respect the coach that's looking at my film is actually going to get out and recruit me. I really appreciated they mean business."
He said Chaney plans to watch Burgess during a spring practice and build a better relationship.
Burgess was also able to check out the new football complex slated to open in June.
"We put on the hard hats and walked around a little bit," Burgess said. "We looked at the pictures of what it's suppose to look like and actually looked at the progress. They're moving fast."
The coaching staff was very detailed and made him feel at home.
"They're great guys," Burgess said. "I was glad to be able to talk to them. They really went out of their way."
Lunney Jr. and the Burgess family are familiar with one another.
"His family is kind of a friend of the family," Burgess said. "When they first started recruiting me he was the first one to start to contact me. He and coach Chaney are about 50-50 in talking to me on the phone and on Facebook. I really like Coach Lunney too."