Richard Davenport is a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
DT Craig Evans talks recruiting and Hogs
Defensive lineman Craig Evans of Sun Prairie, Wis. is a prospect the Hogs hope to land in the 2014 class.
Highly recruited defensive tackle Craig Evans was on the Recruiting Thursday radio show last night.
Evans, 6-3, 300, 5.0 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin is committed to Wisconsin but has strong ties to Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge from their days in Madison.
Here are some of the highlights of last night's interview.
You talked to defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and Coach Bret Bielema Wednesday night.
“Me and coach Partridge was just reconnecting. Before last night we hadn’t talked in a week or so or two, maybe three weeks. He was just checking up on me and seeing how I was doing and telling what an awesome game the D-linemen had down there.”
What is it like to talk to Coach Bielema?
“He’s a pretty funny dude. Obviously, I know him from Wisconsin. We kind of had that relationship from awhile ago. So he and I have a relationship where we can crack jokes and have a sense of humor towards one another.”
Who else are you looking at for official visits? (He talked about visiting the Texas A&M game if it's played at night because of travel time)
“Right now, it’s just you guys. Probably Michigan State. I haven’t decided on that one yet but right now it’s just you guys.”
When Bielema and the staff left for Arkansas did you know you would eventually visit Fayetteville?
“Most definitely, before I committed to Wisconsin. Coach Bielema is always a 100 guy. He came to me kind of like 100 and was like ‘Craig, there’s no guarantee that I’m going to stay here but as long as I can I will.’ When you get to this level it’s a business’. So I had to respect that part. I had to respect it was a business and I respect that he had to make a better move for his family. I can’t do anything but respect that.”
“So as soon as those guys went down there I knew they would contact me when they got settled. Right away once they got settled they contacted me and they offered me and that felt good. Right away I knew I was going to have to keep Arkansas in the back of my mind.”
I’m kind of scared to come down there in a good way though.”
“Man, I look at you guy’s fans on Twitter. It’s crazy the love they show. “
You’re blown away on your visit and reunited with Coach Bielema and Coach Partridge. Any chance you commit?
“When I get down there and Arkansas feels like the place for me and I can see myself growing up as a young man and growing into a man then by all means yes. I could definitely say that.”
When did you recognize that Coach Bielema and Coach Partridge were concerned about your well being?
“I recognized that about Coach P my freshman year. That’s when we first.... first coach I ever talked to. Came in right away and noticed me before I think I played my first high school football game. After seeing me in practice he said 'Kid you have some great talent‘ and ever since then he looked and evaluated me and told me right up front ‘I’m going to evaluate you I’m going to get you stronger in areas and you’re going to be one freak of nature'. I just believed in him and when he was up here I went to the camp and he coached me up and I still use those moves to this day to help me exceed and play at the highest level that I can. Big props to him. He’s just a great coach all around.
“Coach Bielema, when I first met him he was an upfront guy. Didn’t hold anything back. He told me right away what I needed to do to be able to play at Wisconsin.”
“I’m a young man that listens to the wise. I take in from older guys. Those guys have a lot of knowledge. So I take in and try and listen to everything they have to tell me and take it in and use it the best I can. And I recognize right away those guys aren’t beating around the bush. Everything they were telling me was upfront and I really like that about a coach. That’s one of the biggest things I look for in a coach. A coach that’s going to be for real with me and not a coach thats going to beat around a bush.”
Byran Jones and Robert Thomas are leaving. Has that been mentioned to you about immediate playing time?
“That’s another thing. First off obviously, I’m from the South (Jackson, MIss.). Nothing was ever given to me. So if it so happen that I came to Arkansas yeah they’re losing two D-tackles but I still want to earn my spot . As far as looking at it I do have a good chance of getting one of those spots early on so I look forward to that.”