Oregon offensive lineman fits bill for Arkansas

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013
Bret Bielema was hired to fill Arkansas' head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.
Photo by The Associated Press
Bret Bielema was hired to fill Arkansas' head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.

— The offensive line is one of Arkansas’ greatest needs in the 2013 recruiting class, and several new prospects are emerging.

Brayden Kearsley of Aloha, Ore., was recruited by Arkansas’ previous coaching staff. Coach Bret Bielema and his staff recently extended a scholarship offer to Kearsley, 6-4, 300 pounds, 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash, at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

Running backs coach Joel Thomas and offensive line coach Sam Pittman have been in touch as well. Kearsley said he got to know Thomas well when Thomas was at the University of Washington, and he met Pittman over the weekend.

Kearsley has approximately 15 scholarship offers and lists Oregon State as his top choice with Arkansas, California and Wisconsin in his top four. He said Pittman gave him a rundown on what he’s looking for from an offensive lineman.

“He needs linemen that have grit and play p+++ed off,” said Kearsley, who reports a 325-pound bench press and 485-pound squat. “I guess you can say he likes that. He just wants linemen that love to play the game. You need that in the SEC with the teams you’ll be going up against every week. “

Kearsley plans to announce his decision Jan. 23.


Cornerback Damarious Randall of Mesa (Ariz.) Community College said Arkansas offered him a scholarship earlier in the week.

Randall, 6-0, 185 pounds, 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from 16 other schools, including TCU, Louisville, Arizona State, Nebraska, Hawaii and Texas Tech.

He plans to officially visit TCU this weekend and Arizona State on Jan. 18, and he is talking to his parents about a possible visit to Fayetteville.

“I remember them with Ryan Mallett,” Randall said. “He was a big-time quarterback. I used to love to see them play because I always wanted someone to beat Alabama, and Arkansas had the team to do that but they weren’t fortunate enough to do it. I use to watch Arkansas football all the time.”

Randall attended high school in Pensacola, Fla., before heading to junior college, where he was named a first-team junior college All-American this season after leading the nation with 10 interceptions. He also recorded 73 tackles, 6 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble and recovered 1 fumble and was the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year.

Randall played against former Razorbacks receiver Marquel Wade in high school.

“He was pretty good,” said Randall, who is expected to graduate in May and will have two years to play two at the next level. “He and I battled during high school.”


Tight end Brandon Vandenburg of Palm Desert (Calif.) Community College has Arkansas among his top three and has scheduled an official visit to Arkansas for Jan. 25.

Vandenburg, 6-6, 260 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has approximately 30 scholarship offers but has narrowed his list to Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

Razorbacks offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney sold him on the idea of visiting Fayetteville

“I like what I’ve heard from the coaching staff, Coach Chaney in particular,” said Vandenburg, who plans to major in business. “I like the offense he runs and I like the need they have at tight end. Those are kind of the major factors that came in for me choosing schools for official visits”

Vandenburg plans to visit Vanderbilt on Jan. 18 and Tennessee on Feb. 1. He said he likes how Arkansas’ offense demands that its tight ends block as well as catch passes.

“I think those are all key components in being a well rounded tight end that’s ready to go to the NFL,” Vandenburg said.


Arkansas will not sign Memphis East linebacker Marcus Robinson, who orally committed to the Razorbacks in August, according to Memphis East Coach Marcus Wimberly.

Robinson is the sixth commitment who has been taken off the Razorbacks’ commitment list since Bret Bielema was hired as Arkansas’ coach.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 24 on 01/11/2013