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:
Hogs recruits hit bowl circuit
Austin Allen, Fayetteville quarterback, looks downfield for an open receiver Saturday in the third quarter of the game against Bentonville at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock for the Class 7A football state championship.
LITTLE ROCK Last year’s Semper Fidelis All American Bowl in Phoenix featured 100 of the nation’s top high school players, including Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams and offensive lineman Jeremy Ward.
This year’s game will be televised on the NFL Network Friday at 8 p.m. from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. with numerous Arkansas prospects participating.
Fayetteville quarterback Austin Allen, who is committed to Arkansas, is on the East squad along with highly sought after running back Alex Collins, who plans to make an official visit to Arkansas on Jan. 25.
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who picks the players for the game, likes the physical and mental makeup of Allen, 6-2, 210, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash and sees him doing well on Friday.
“All the players in the game are big-time guys,” Lemming said. “It will be a different game speed wise, but I think Austin will do well. He’s a very mature, smart quarterback. He’s well known in Arkansas but a lot of people around the country don’t know him, so I think this could be a coming-out party for him.”
Collins, 5-11, 210, 4.4, of Plantation, (Fla.) South has officially visited Florida and Florida State, along with a trip to Wisconsin when Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema was the Badgers coach. Collins, once committed to Miami, is set to visit the Coral Gables, Fla., campus on Jan. 18.
“I always thought he was one of the better athletes in the country,” Lemming said. “He’s a guy that could be a wingback, running back, wide receiver, kick returner. He’s tremendous out in space. He’s instant offense to whatever college he goes to. He can play right away because of his great speed, vision and balance.”
Arkansas is hoping to land an official visit from Devon Allen, 6-1, 190, 4.48, a West receiver from Phoenix Brophy Prep. But Arkansas will have to fight off Arizona State for that honor. Allen, one of the nation’s top track prospects, had high interest in the Hogs before the uncertainty of the coaching staff.
He said he received a private Facebook message from Jim Chaney, Arkansas’ new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I need to give him a call soon to see if I decide to visit or not,” Allen said.” I was really interested in Arkansas awhile back and I was going to take a visit on the Sept. 15. It was one of my favorite schools, football and track team.”
Among the others showing interest in Arkansas is East offensive lineman Josh Outlaw, 6-4, 275, 5.1, Lithonia, (Ga.) Martin Luther King. Outlaw, once a Florida commitment, has expressed interest about making an official visit to Fayetteville.
On Thursday, the Semper Fidelis combine, called the“Proving Ground,” will also be held at the Home Depot Center. It begins at 10 a.m. and will last until 5 p.m. and will be divided into two groups.
An Arkansas 2014 commitment, quarterback Rafe Peavey, 6-2, 197, 4.5, of Bolivar, Mo., will participate along with Rogers Heritage quarterback Josh Qualls, 6-1, 175, 4.59, and Little Rock Central running back Logan Moragne, 5-9, 180, 4.61.
“You’ll see a lot of the top players from coast-to-coast coming to the combine.” Lemming said.
Two of Arkansas’ top prospects will be playing in other All American games this week. Pulaski Academy tight end Hunter Henry, 6-5, 235, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, will play in the Under Armor All American game on Friday in St. Peterburg, Fla. at 4 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
North Little Rock running back Altee Tenpenny, 5-11, 218, 4.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash, will play in the U.S. Army All American Bowl in San Antonio at noon on Saturday. The game will be televised on NBC.
Henry is committed to Arkansas while Tenpenny is committed to Alabama.
Quarterback Trevor Rea, 6-6, 220, 4.81 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of New Berlin, (N.Y.) Milford Academy, said he visited Arkansas last week.
Rea wasn’t able to meet with any of the Hogs coaches because his visit during the no-contact dead period, but Rea said he did drive around and see the campus on his own.
“I absolutely loved it,” Rea said. “Everything is bigger in the south. No doubt. They had a beautiful stadium. I went to see the campus myself to see if I could see myself there and I definitely could. I love it.”
Rea said he plans to visit Illinois State, which has offered a scholarship, in the next week orso. But Rea said he’s leaning toward the Hogs. He plans to enroll in January at his new school.
Arkansas running back coach Joel Thomas’ ability to communicate to young people has junior running back Mikale Wilbon high on the Hogs.
Wilbon, 5-10, 195, 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Chicago De La Salle, reports scholarship offers from Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, Arizona State and Mississippi State but would place the Razorbacks high on his list should he receive an offer.
“I called him one time and we were having a conversation and he wanted to know about me and my background, my family and stuff like that,” said Wilbon, who was recruited by Thomas when Thomas was at Washington. “He started talking about his family. He asked me what I like to do hobby wise. He said I need to kick it with him. He’s real cool, real hip. I like that.” E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 16 on 01/01/2013