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:
Allen gives Collins All-Star push
Austin Allen scrambles during Fayetteville's Class 7A state championship game win over Bentonville at War Memorial Stadium in December.
CARSON, Calif. Fayetteville quarterback Austin Allen, an Arkansas commitment, has had a good week of preparation for today’s Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
He also has given Arkansas an assist with the recruiting of one of the nation’s top running backs, Alex Collins of Plantation (Fla.) South.
“It’s been fun going up against all these g reat athletes and great players,” said Allen, who along with Collins will play for the East team. “It’s a blast going up against them in practice and seeing what they’re all about and getting to know and being around them.”
The game will be played at the Home Depot Center and televised on the NFL Network at 8 p.m. Central.
Allen, 6-2, 210 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has been able to get acquainted with Collins, 5-11, 210, 4.4.
Collins officially visited Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin when Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema was still in Madison, and he plans to officially visit Miami on Jan. 18 and Arkansas on Jan. 25.
“The Hog fans will show him a lot of love that weekend,” Allen said. “I think we have a good shot.”
Collins, who is rated a four-star recruit by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports, originally committed to Miami but reopened his recruiting. His relationship with Bielema and Razorbacks defensive line coach Charlie Partridge helped convince Collins to schedule a trip to Fayetteville.
“I was like, why not?” Collins said. “I have my recruiting process open and I have an extra visit, and why not take it and see what else they have to offer? That could be my calling.”
In Collins’ first year to play in high school, he rushed 228 times for 1,786 yards and 28 touchdowns in Class 8A, the highest classification in Florida, and was named Broward County’s player of the year as a junior.
“He’s a really good coach, first of all,” Collins said of Bielema. “He was recruiting me at Wisconsin, and you kind of grow that relationship with him. He said, ‘I still feel the same about you even though I’m at a new school, new environment and new setting, and I would still like to recruit you.’ They’re going to still run the same style of pro-style offense, which is a good thing.”
Partridge has a way of connecting with Collins, too.
“Coach P has a personality,” said Collins, who rushed for 1,400 yards this season while missing three games because of injury. “He knows how to make you laugh, and he’s a really good coach.”
Collins, who has scored 20 on the ACT, said he is confident he’ll make the right decision.
“I basically take notes about how I feel on each school, what I liked and what I didn’t like,” said Collins, who has a 2.6 grade-point average and is looking to major in criminal justice. “I’m going to make my final decision based on whichever school I feel the most comfortable with and which school I feel I can go there and be successful athletically and academically.”
Missouri City (Texas) Marshall linebacker/defensive end Deon Hollins Jr. is committed to UCLA but said he is still interested in Arkansas and will consider taking an official visit if asked.
“I think it would be a strong chance I go,” said Hollins, 6-2, 222 pounds, 4.59, who is playing for the West team in today’s Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. “Of course, I’ve had interest in Arkansas from the beginning.”
Rated a four-star recruit by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, Hollins said he likes the commitment the Hogs have made to the program.
“I like the facilities and all the new facilities they have coming up,” said Hollins, who plans to make official visits to Utah and Notre Dame. “I can see that the program is on the rise.”
STILL A HUSKY
Defensive end Daeshon Hall, 6-6, 230, 4.6, of Lancaster, Texas, has committed to Washington but said during preparations for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl that he is willing to listen to Arkansas.
“I would probably consider it, but I’m still solid with Washington right now,” Hall said.
Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas recruited Hall for Washington.
Pulaski Academy’s Hunter Henry, who has committed to Arkansas, will be the starting tight end for the White team in the Under Armour All American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Henry, 6-5, 235 pounds, 4.8, was voted one of the team captains for today’s game, which will be televised at 4 p.m. Central on ESPN. Henry plans to make his official visit to Arkansas on Jan. 18.
E-mail Richard Davenport at
Sports, Pages 21 on 01/04/2013