Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
THE RECRUITING GUY:
Lineman lists UA with big boys
ESPN 300 offensive lineman Grant Newsome of McLean, Va., has been communicating with Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman and has plans to visit the Hogs this summer.
“I have a lot of interest in Arkansas,” Newsome said. “I’m pretty open in the process, and I think Arkansas is a school I’m definitely going to take a hard look at.”
Newsome, 6-7, 290 pounds, 5.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is a four-star prospect and rated No .235 nationally by ESPN. Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, Virginia, Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame are among the 30 schools that have offered him. Newsome said his conversations with Pittman have peaked his interest.
“He’s just been talking about the program out there and the people, the fans,” Newsome said. “It’s seems like a pretty good atmosphere and a place that would be worthwhile to visit.”
National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network said Newsome is the total package.
“He’s one of the premier offensive lineman in the country,” Lemming said. “When you meet him you’re immediately impressed not only with his great size, but his smarts and his ability to communicate with the press. He’s a smart, intelligent kid, very mature. He has the long arms and length, everything to be a great tackle.”
Newsome, who has a 315-pound bench press and 405-pound squat, said he is looking to visit Alabama, LSU and Arkansas during the same trip.
“I’ll probably take a visit sometime in the middle of June,” Newsome said of Arkansas.
Newsome said he is not favoring one school over another at this point.
“I’m still wide open right now,” said Newsome, who has been timed at 4.72 seconds in the pro-shuttle. “I want to stay open through the spring evaluation period and see who else comes in and take those last few visits and maybe a few more and go from there.”
Newsome said he won’t draw things out once he takes all of his visits.
“ I think I’m going to have a decision sometime in July,” Newsome said.
Newsome said he has a 3.65 grade-point average and is planning to major in history, an area of interest cultivated by his grandfather, Paul Hager, a Civil War history buff.
“I’ve always had a interest in it,” Newsome said.
Newsome said he is considering a number of things when evaluating his options.
“Feeling comfortable with the coaching staff and with the players and with the whole community there,” he said. “Then beyond that, I just think the whole football aspect. I want to go somewhere I can win.”
BUYING INTO FORD
Louisville became the first college to offer a scholarship to Bentonville sophomore quarterback Kasey Ford, but Wednesday’s offer will likely be the first of many.
Bentonville Coach Barry Lunney Sr. said he believes more offers will come Ford’s way as the April 15-May 31 spring evaluation period for coaches continues.
“I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have, I don’t even know what the number is … eight to 10 D-I offers before spring football is over with it,” Lunney said. “I’ll be very surprised.”
Ford, 6-5, 237, completed 107 of 185 passes for 22 touchdowns to lead the Tigers to the Class 7A state title over Cabot. Ford was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All-Arkansas Preps Super Sophomore Team and attended the Hogs’ spring game Saturday.
Lunney said college coaches will like what they see when Ford throws the football.
“He’s a big kid, a big, physical quarterback, and it doesn’t take long to see his arm strength and the way he can throw the football,” Lunney said. “He’s got a lot of zip on it. He can make all the throws that you want to make. He can throw from one hash mark to the other sideline on out routes, the deep balls, and just the whole package.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 31 on 04/27/2014