THE RECRUITING GUY:

Texas RB likes it all at Arkansas

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Junior running back Chris Warren III is one of the top prospects in the nation.
Junior running back Chris Warren III is one of the top prospects in the nation.

Football is very important to highly recruited running back Chris Warren III, but he’s also putting a premium on education while looking for his future college destination.

Warren, 6-2, 235 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Rockwall, Texas, has received approximately 18 scholarship offers, including ones from Arkansas, Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Stanford, Auburn, Oklahoma, Georgia and others.

He and his mother, K’tara, visited Arkansas on March 1 and made a return trip for the Hogs’ spring game on Saturday.

“The highlights of the visit was finding out about some new majors,” said Warren, who has a 3.33 grade-point average and is looking to study biology. “I didn’t know, for example, nanoscience and poultry science. I thought nanoscience was only science fiction.”

He said he also liked how the Arkansas offense operated and sees the offensive philosophy well-suited for his skills.

“I think it’d be a great for me,” said Warren, who was one of about 50 prospects who visited Arkansas on Saturday. “I really enjoyed it. Now I just have to watch next season.”

Warren had a stellar sophomore season with 174 carries for 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns. He started his junior season off strong, but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in the fifth game of the season against rival Rockwall-Heath and ended the year with 747 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He’s learned some life lessons in the process.

“You can’t take your body or the game for granted, and that anything can change your course if God says so,” Warren said.

His father, Chris, played 11 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia, and at one point was the Seahawks’ all-time leading rusher with 6,706 yards.

CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said people who assume Warren is strictly a power back are wrong.

“It’s tough to pigeonhole him into a certain style,” Lemming said. “He can run with power, but also has the speed to take it outside and create mismatches with both linebackers and defensive backs.”

The estimated crowd of 30,000 for Arkansas spring game Saturday caught the attention of Warren’s mother.

“It was nice to see the type of crowd for a spring game,” K’tara said. “That was impressive. Fanswise, I would have to say … I don’t know, they were just genuine. They struck up conversations and started chatting.”

Warren, whose lead recruiter at Arkansas is running backs coach Joel Thomas, said another visit to Arkansas is a possibility. He plans to cut his list to five schools at the end of the summer and officially visit those five.

BACK AGAIN

Nashville receiver La’Michael Pettway said he felt the love from the Arkansas fans during his visit Saturday.

“The fans are really behind the Razorbacks,” Pettway said. “I had a few stop me and talk to me about being a Hog and staying in Arkansas.”

Pettway, 6-3, 200, 4.50, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Mississippi, Louisville, Arkansas State and Southern Miss.

He played quarterback in the first three games of last season and completed 33 of 56 passes for 342 yards, 5 touchdowns and rushed 47 times for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns. From the fourth game on, he was mostly a receiver and recorded 54 receptions for 1,054 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Pettway said the Saturday’s visit, his third to the Arkansas campus, helped the Hogs’ chances of signing him.

“Of course, just being there repetitiously and coming back to Fayetteville, it’s starting to feel like home,” Pettway said. “The people welcoming me back and myself coming back and learning more and talking to the people and the players and the fans make me feel like I’m home.” MONK’S 59

Bentonville sophomore basketball guard Malik Monk, who played for the 17-under Arkansas Wings this weekend, set a single-game scoring record in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball league with 59 points.

Monk, 6-4, 173, was 15 of 26 from the field, including10 of 16 from three-point range, and made 19 of 23 free throws in a 98-91 loss to highly regarded All Ohio Red at Sacramento, Calif., on Sunday.

Wings Coach WesSwift, who coached Jonesboro High School to the Class 6A title this season, called Monk’s performance phenomenal.

“They were all over him,” Swift said. “They had some high major players of their own. They were fouling him on a number of the goals. They were face guarding him, putting a hand right in his face on the catch, but he was in such a zone and he was just going up and making it anyway.”

Monk, who also had 9 rebounds, 3 assist and 2 steals in the game, wowed the opposing team.

“The head coach of Ohio just came up and said, ‘Coach, we’ll just see him in the lottery in a couple of years,’ ” Swift said. “ That’s exactly what he said to me.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 19 on 04/29/2014

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