Defensive end likes what he’s hearing from Arkansas

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, April 11, 2014
Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest directs his players during practice Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the UA practice field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest directs his players during practice Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the UA practice field in Fayetteville.

Arkansas is hoping junior college defensive end Marquavius Lewis will fill the spot vacated by senior Trey Flowers after the 2014 season.

The highly regarded prospect visited the Hogs last Saturday and said the trip went well.

“The coaches were pretty straightforward and showed me around the facilities,” Lewis said. “The facilities are pretty amazing, and the city as well.”

Lewis 6-4, 270 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has 15 scholarship offers from schools that include Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Kansas State and West Virginia.

Lewis said he enjoyed visiting with Coach Bret Bielema.

“He was a straight shooter and he let me know where he could help me,” Lewis said. “He would help me with my weaknesses, and he knows what it takes to push a player and make them better and get them to the next level.”

Lewis recorded 60 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 6 1/2 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries and 1 blocked kick last year while being named first-team all-conference in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference. He said he respects defensive line coach Rory Segrest’s resume and took note that it includes five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I’ve seen where he’s been and who he’s coached,” Lewis said. “He was with the Eagles, and he knows what it takes to get to the next level.”

Lewis plans to graduate in December and enroll at his new school in January. He said he also is considering taking one of his five allotted official visits to Fayetteville.

“I’m thinking about it, butI just don’t know when,” he said. “I just need to discuss some things with my family. They don’t mind where I go and they’re going to support me regardless, but they want to have some input.”

Lewis is a native of Greenwood, S.C., but he said it’s not a lock that he’ll end up playing at South Carolina.

“South Carolina is my home and I grew up there,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t say it’s priority to go to South Carolina. South Carolina might not fit me, if I’m not comfortable. I’m probably going to go to the most comfortable school.”

He also spent time with Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert and came away impressed.

“He told us about the J.J. Watts story,” Lewis said. “He showed us pictures before and after with the people he’s worked with.”WEIGHTY FEAT

Arkansas defensive line signee Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado broke his own state power clean record of 335 pounds last Saturday at the Arkansas High School Weightlifting Championships at Dover.

Jackson lifted 360 pounds and joined some elite company on the national level, according to former Arkansas linebacker David Bazzel, who helped start the competition in 1994.

“I’ve looked around to find it documented where high schoolers have power cleaned over 350, and there’s only a handful that I’ve found in the last 25 years,” Bazzel said. “There have been a few, but it’s a very small group. It’s a very small, select group.”

Jackson, 6-2, 330 pounds, was successful on lifts of 335 and 350 pounds before attempting the record-setting lift. He also bench pressed 410 pounds to set a state record for the heavyweight division with a total of 770 pounds. Former Razorbacks player Scott Davenport of Clarendon lifted 765 in 1999.

Bazzel said two Florida high school athletes have power cleaned 400 pounds using the Olympic style technique instead of the one used by Jackson.

“Bijhon was based on power explosiveness, not technique,” Bazzel said. “He pulls the bar four to five feet off the ground. Now in Florida, where you see cases of the 400-pound lifts, those are only being pulled about two and half feet off the ground and the lifter gets underneath it.

“If you look at brute strength, he’s [Jackson] probably one of the strongest in high school history.”

Bazzel puts more focus on the power clean lift than the bench press.

“To me, the power clean is the football lift,” he said. “It’s a power explosive movement. I [would] much rather have a guy power clean 360, 370 than bench 400 just because the game is really played below the waist. Especially on the line.”

Email Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 23 on 04/11/2014