UA benefits from early badgering

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, March 3, 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)

— Early contact between a former Wisconsin coach now at Arkansas and Florida linebacker Richard Yeargin might be beneficial for the Razorbacks.

Yeargin, 6-4, 230 pounds, 4.6 seconds of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School, likes Arkansas because defensive line coach Charlie Partridge offered Yeargin during the spring of his sophomore year while Partridge was still at Wisconsin.

“You remember that coaching staff and them being your first offer,” Yeargin said. “I’m not saying I’m not interested in Wisconsin anymore, but that was the first coaching staff that first offered me. So they saw something in me that others didn’t see at that point.”

Yeargin said Partridge gained his respect by staying in contact with him. The Hogs offered Yeargrin on Monday, and he now has offers from approximately 20 schools, including Florida, Clemson, UCLA and Tennessee.

“They’ll definitely be one of my official visits if I don’t get a chance to make it up in the summer,” Yeargin said.

Yeargrin’s coach at University School, Roger Harriott, said he is glad to have Yeargin after playing against him last season when Yeargin was at Chaminade Madonna College Prep in Hollywood.

“He has an exceptional work ethic in the weight room, but the most impressive thing about Richard is his intelligence and character,” Harriott said. “He’s extremely mature. He has a high football IQ and gets it done in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA and has an exceptional attitude.”

Education tops the list of Yeargin’s must-haves for college.

“Secondly, I want to value stability in the coaching staff and the program and the loyalty they’ve shown,” Yeargin said. “The sense of urgency they put forth in getting me. Thirdly is a good football tradition.

“I’m a winner, not a loser. I want to go somewhere I can see good in the program and see that it’s headed in the right direction.”LINING UP LINEMAN

Arkansas offered a scholarship Tuesday to Jermaine Eluemunor, the nation’s most hotly pursued junior-college offensive lineman.

Eluemunor, 6-5 1/2, 315 pounds, plays for Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna Community College and has scholarship offers from 13 schools, including Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Penn State. He and his family moved to the United States from London, England, in pursuit of a better life.

“I hope to make the pros one day and make sure my dad doesn’t haveto lift a finger again because he’s been working ever since he was born,” said Eluemunor, who plans to graduate in December and will have three years to play two. “He’s never asked for anything, so I want to make sure he gets everything he wants.”

Eluemunor has planned official visits to Texas A&M and Ohio State, but he said the more he gets to know Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman, the more interest he has in the Razorbacks.

“I called him and I was like, ‘What’s up, Coach?’ and he was like, ‘Nothing much. I’m moving in our new house with my wife,’ and he put her on the phone.

“I said ‘Hi, Mrs. Pittman,’ and I had a unique conversation with her, and Coach Pittman came back on the phone and he said, ‘If you come down here that’s going to be your Arkansas woman. I was like, ‘That’s funny, Coach.’ ”

Eluemunor said he is still unsure which schools will get his other three official visits, but he noted how Pittman praised his on-field effort and willingness to play through the whistle.

“I like Arkansas, and I like Coach Pittman,” Eluemunor said. “I talked to Coach [Bret] Bielema when he was at Wisconsin, and I really liked him as a coach.” PONDERING A VISIT

Arkansas is hoping to convince one of the nation’s top safety prospects to visit Fayetteville.

Brandon Simmons, 6-0, 180 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yarddash, plays at Mansfield (Texas) Timberview and has scholarship offers from 41 schools, including national powers Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU and Michigan. The Hogs were one of the later schools to offer.

“I didn’t think they were interested in me, but they were going through a coaching change so I understood that,” Simmons said. “Right now I’m trying to find out as much as I can about them.”

Simmons said he’s been having phone conversations with cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson as well as communicating through Facebook about a visit.

“I would really like to come up to one of their spring practices,” Simmons said. “I would like to see how the coaches are during practice and see what I would be getting myself into as far as them coaching me.”

Simmons will visit Stanford in April. He ranks 23rd in a class of 413 with a 98 average on a 100-point scale, but he is undecided on a major.

“I wanted to do forensics,” he said. “I’m just really not sure yet. It kind of depends on the school. I’m looking at Stanford, and they don’t offer forensics. So, obviously, if I want to attend there I can’t study that. So it depends on the school.” E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 28 on 03/03/2013