NLR receiver takes up-close look at Razorbacks

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, April 25, 2014
North Little Rock Charging Wildcats' K.J. Hill keeps his eye on the end zone during their game against the Lake Hamilton Wolves Sept. 6, 2013 at North Little Rock High School.
Photo by Melissa Gerrits
North Little Rock Charging Wildcats' K.J. Hill keeps his eye on the end zone during their game against the Lake Hamilton Wolves Sept. 6, 2013 at North Little Rock High School.

North Little Rock receiver K.J. Hill is thinking hard about the Razorbacks following his visit Tuesday to Arkansas.

Hill, 6-0, 194 pounds, 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is a major target of the Razorbacks and said he went into the visit wanting to know how he would be utilized in the Hogs’ offense. He liked what he heard.

“It was a good visit overall,” Hill said. “It put a lot on my mind. We had a good talk with all the coaches and got a good feel for it.”

Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Florida are among the 18 schools that have offered him a scholarship. Oregon and the Florida offered this week. He is rated a four-star prospect and the No. 215 recruit in the nation by ESPN.

Arkansas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney, receivers coach Michael Smith and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. showed Hill an in-depth presentation on how he would be featured in the offense.

“They had a big PowerPoint showing me I how could fit in and answered all my questions,” Hill said. “They were just telling me how much they wanted me and how much they need me and showing me where they need me. It just made sense.”

Hill had 63 receptions for 1,143 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior and was named the All-Arkansas Preps Offensive Player of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

He said watching Tuesday’s practice helped him understand how he could fit into the offense.

“I watched them practicing and could see the receivers leaving and holes I could fill,” Hill said. “They showed me easy ways to get me the ball.”

Coach Bret Bielema made sure Hill left informed about Arkansas’ plans for him.

“He was asking me if there were any more questions that needed to be answered,” Hill said. “He just talked about me coming up there.”

Hill received an invitation Monday to attend The Opening, an invitation-only event held in July for the nation’s top 162 high school prospects at Nike headquarters at Beaverton, Ore. Former Charging Wildcats running back Altee Tenpenny participated in the event in 2011 and 2012, and North Little Rock cornerback Kavin Alexander took part last year.

“I’ve been working on that since last year,” Hill said. “I know it’s a big thing for North Little Rock and somebody goes every year and I could be that person.” FRIENDLY VISIT

Arkansas is expected to host approximately 60 prospects for Saturday’s Red-White spring game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Offensive lineman Jerry Tillery, who is orally committed to Notre Dame, plansto see former Shreveport Evangel teammate and Razorbacks receiver Jared Cornelius.

“I will be in Fayetteville this weekend visiting my friend Jared Cornelius,” said Tillery, who maintains he is solidly committed to the Fighting Irish. “We’ve been friends forever.”

Tillery, 6-7, 310 pounds, 4.99, is rated the nation’s No. 18 offensive tackle and No. 201 prospect by ESPN. Tillery said Cornelius spoke well of Arkansas.

“They have a great football program. They’re doing some really good things,” Tillery said. “Jared has told me they’re getting a lot better and working hard, so it’s a great feel they have going there.Jared is going to introduce me to all of his roommates, and it should be a great weekend.”

Tillery is also one of the select prospects invited to The Opening. He has a 3.8 grade-point average and plans to study pre-med in college.

“Both of my parents are in the medical field,” Tillery said. “I’ve really been fascinated by all that, along with math and science.” ALSO ON THE LIST

Other prospects expected to attend Arkansas’ spring game include running back Chris Warren III of Rockwall, Texas, tight end C.J.

O’Gradyand safety Dre Greenlaw of Fayetteville, and Highland receiver Deon Stewart.

Arkansas commitment Austin Cantrell, a tight end from Roland, Okla., also plans to visit for the spring game. Cantrell, 6-3 ½ , 249 pounds, 4.58, received a scholarship offer from Oklahoma on Wednesday, but he said Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema has nothing to worry about.

“Arkansas is a place that I believe I fit in,” Cantrell said. “I made a commitment to Coach B. and Arkansas, and I plan on keeping it.” QB GETS FIRST OFFER

Bentonville sophomore quarterback Kasey Ford received his first scholarship offer Wednesday from Louisville, and it’s likely several other schools will follow suit during the spring evaluation period that ends May 31.

Ford, 6-5, 237 pounds, led the Tigers to the Class 7A state title. He completed 107 of 185 passes for 22 touchdowns and ran for 4 more touchdowns last season, and was named to the All-Arkansas Preps Super Sophomore team by the Democrat-Gazette.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 28 on 04/25/2014