Richard Davenport is a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Bielema and Partridge key in Pierce's pledge
Florida tight end Ravian Pierce, who committed to Arkansas Wednesday night, was able to see firsthand how the Hogs utilize his position during his official visit for the Texas A&M game.
That and his relationship with Coach Bret Bielema and his lead recruiter, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge sealed the deal.
“Arkansas has a bunch of tight ends and I can see no matter what formation they’re in there’s always a tight end,” Pierce said. “Sometimes it’s two, sometimes it’s three. That shows me that no matter what I’ll be able to get on the field.”
Pierce, 6-4, 230 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Plantation High School had 11 receptions for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns before suffering a broken right foot in practice a few days before his visit to Fayetteville.
“He said he was excited and he was glad to have me there,” said Pierce of Bielema’s reaction to his commitment. “I told him I’m ready to get this train moving.”
Partridge, who graduated from Planation, was ecstatic about Pierce becoming a Hog.
“Coach Partridge was very excited he was like finally got a Colonel, I got a Colonel I can hang with,” Pierce said with a chuckle.
Pierce said recruiting coordinator Chris Hauser and one of his recruiting assistants escorted him around town during the trip and played a role in him choosing Arkansas.
“They had conversations with me and it really wasn’t about Arkansas,” Pierce said. “It was them just making me comfortable. I felt like I never left home. They brought me in and we had a great time. It was just fun, a great experience.”
As of late last night, he hadn’t had the opportunity to tell his uncle and aunt, Bennie and Paris Broyles,who live in Little Rock about is decision.
“I haven’t told them yet,” he said. “It’s been calls after calls. I haven’t had a chance to breath yet.”
The Razorback fans also helped Arkansas’ cause.
“The fan base was crazy,” said Pierce, who’s rated a 3-star plus prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. “I was on the field until they started playing and then I went up in the stands. I heard the chants and it just sent chills through my body. It was just great “
Planation Coach Steve Davis said Pierce’s athleticism separates him from other tight ends.
“Not a lot of tight ends have that type of ability to get up the field and go high and catch the ball like he does,” Davis said. “He’s a really good blocker too.”
Davis, who reports Pierce having between 10 to 15 scholarship offers from schools like Florida and Miami, said Bielema and Partridge’s ties to the area were important.
“I think it was very big just the fact of familiarity with those guys and the trust level we have here,” Davis said. “The amount of time we’ve known them I think really helped with him making the decision.”
A few days before his visit to Arkansas, Pierce hurt his right foot in a non-contact drill.
“He has a slight fracture on the outside of his foot,” Davis said. “He’ll probably be out four to five weeks. We hope we can get him back by the end of our season as we’re going into the playoffs.”