Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
Florida TE next Hog commitment?
Arkansas could add commitment No. 17 to the 2014 class when the Hogs host tight end Ravian Pierce on an official visit this weekend.
“I just want to see life as a college student, the school and see how it’s set up and the life style around the school,” said Pierce, who admitted a good visit will likely see him pledge to the Razorbacks.
Pierce, 6-4, 230 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Plantation (Fla.) High School recorded 63 receptions for 957 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. His production and talent has seen approximately 27 schools extending scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State and Ole Miss.
He and Hog freshman running back Alex Collins know one another and have discussed life in Fayetteville.
“He told me about the campus, the students and about the fans and a lot of basic stuff,” Pierce said.
Plantation Coach Steve Davis said Pierce is what college coaches are looking for at tight end.
“He’s really the type of athlete that can flex out and play some receiver,” Davis said. “He’s that talented. He’s also a very good blocker.”
Davis said he also sees Pierce becoming a Razorback with a good visit.
“Arkansas has a real good chance,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t get a commitment this weekend from him if he likes it.”
Pierce said seeing Collins, who ranks fifth in the nation with 481 rushing yards, being successful at Arkansas helps his interest level.
“It just shows they know how to use their people,” Pierce said. “They know how to put you in place to make you look good.”
Davis has watched Pierce grow as a player and as a person.
“He’s matured a lot since his freshman year,” Davis said. “He’s gotten more mature every year and I’m really proud of the young man he’s become. It’s great to watch a kid over a four year period and turn into the man he is now.”
Davis has had a long relationship with Coach Bret Bielema and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who’s a Plantation graduate.
“They’re quality football coaches,” Davis said. “I’ve known Coach Bielema since when....oh my goodness. I met him when he was probably at Iowa. He has a a really stellar track record. I don’t know people realize up there that when Iowa was winning he was getting a lot of south Florida guys up there at Iowa and he’s been doing real well. Throughout his career we’ve kept in contact and I consider him a friend.”
Before leaving Wisconsin, Partridge and Bielema secured the commitment of Plantation cornerback Sojourn Shelton, who signed with the Badgers and is now a starter. Davis said Partridge is ready to add Pierce to the Razorback roster.
“He use to joke about getting a kid from Plantation and last year he signed our corner who’s now starting at Wisconsin,” Davis said. “He recruited him and finally got a kid but didn’t get a chance to coach him.”