Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Illinois lineman anxious to visit Arkansas
Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman's ability to lure top linemen to Fayetteville continued with the addition of highly regarded Jalen Merrick.
Highly recruited offensive lineman Gabe Megginson isn't sure what to expect when he visits Arkansas on Saturday.
Megginson, 6-5, 280, 5.2 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Jacksonville, Illinois has 28 scholarship offers from schools like Arkansas, Ohio State, Illinois, Louisville, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State.
“I don’t know too much about Arkansas,” Megginson said. “Going in it open-minded is a cool deal because when I’ve never visited a school, most of the time you come out really surprised and loving what they have to offer. Really I’m just looking forward to seeing everything.”
He has cited offensive line coach Sam Pittman’s ability to send players into the NFL as one of the reasons for his interest after receiving an Arkansas offer in March. He said Pittman has bragged about the Razorback fans.
“He always talks about the fan base,” said Megginson, who received his first offer from Akron at the end of his sophomore year. “I mean you guys definitely love football.It’s absolutely a football state. I’m excited to see kind of a southern culture. The most southern school I’ve visited is Vanderbilt and that’s not too far south. I’m just looking forward to seeing the culture he’s been talking about.”
Megginson has recorded a 345 pound bench press, 300 power clean, 435 squat and 515 dead lift. He’s heard great things about Pittman.
“Obviously, I want to talk to the best of the best coaches,” Megginson said. “People that’s going to make me the best player I can be. I’ve heard nothing, but good things about him. He’s a really nice, down-to-earth guy. He loves football so it’s great talking with him.”
He’s recently visited Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and North Carolina State and is looking to narrowing his list.
“I’m always trying to narrow my list a little bit,” he said. “I’ve told a couple of schools that they no longer have to recruit me. It’s still pretty broad. Only a couple teams are out of it. I’m trying to narrow it down, but I won’t narrow it a lot until the time comes .”
Megginson is confident he’s making headway towards making his college decision.
“I definitely only have a very small group of people I’ve seen so far,” Megginson said. “It’s clear, there’s standouts. Hopefully I can make two or three more visits and just call it a day. There will be a team out there. I’ll see it for sure. “
Several factors will go into Megginson’s decision.
“The academics, the coaches, the people,” Megginson said. “I know I’ve been to some schools and you look at every player and they have a smile on their face and that’s great to see. Then you know that no matter, if they have a winning record or a losing record they’re happy to be there. They’re just happy playing football there.”
Highly recruited offensive tackle Brian Wallace Jr., an Arkansas signee, along with his parents mentioned the character of the Arkansas coaches and players as a main reason for the younger Wallace’s decision to be a Razorback. Megginson is looking for something similar.
“I do look at the type of people they recruit,” Megginson said. “There’s some schools that recruit me and I’ve seen stories about a recruit and I’m trying not to be around that . Just the people, people are a big thing.”