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:
Hill, Gragg are hearing plenty about Razorbacks
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.
Highly regarded in-state prospects Will Gragg and K.J. Hill are expected to arrive in Fayetteville today and watch Arkansas' scrimmage Saturday at Razorback Stadium.
Both have similar ideas of what they want to experience during the visit.
"We just want to see them and talk to them," said Gragg, a tight end from Dumas. "We really want to see how they work in camp. We haven't been to one of their camp practices yet."
Gragg, 6-4, 247 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has received scholarship offers from schools that include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn, Texas, LSU, Oregon and Ole Miss. He is rated the No. 7 tight end and No. 214 prospect in the nation by ESPN.
"We just want to go out there and see how they do it and see some of the differences from last year to this year," Gragg said. "See the intensity level and see the difference in the way they work and go about their business."
Gragg, whose older brother Chris played tight end for the Razorbacks and is a member of the Buffalo Bills, said he communicates with Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. on a daily basis. He said he talks with Bielema more than other head coaches.
"It's not all the time that you get to talk to the head coach," he said. "Most of the time it's just your position coach or recruiting coordinator."
Hill, a 6-1, 192-pound receiver from North Little Rock, has scholarship offers from approximately 20 schools, including Arkansas, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. He said he is in frequent contact with Bielema, Lunney, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and receivers coach Michael Smith.
"They've all been twittering me and talking to me almost everyday now," said Hill, who has recorded a hand-held time of 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "They're just trying to get me up there as bad as they can. I like that. They're showing love and showing they want me."
Hill said he plans to take official visits to Ohio State (Sept. 6), Notre Dame (Oct. 4), Florida (Oct. 11), Arkansas (Nov. 15) and Alabama (Nov. 29).
Hill and Gragg, who want to go to the same school, visited Alabama on Aug. 1-2. Hill said Alabama is among his top two favorites but he isn't naming the other school.
"I want to see progress," Hill said of the Hogs. "I just want to see how they've changed this year. They have some play-makers and some players they wanted, so I want to see how they use them."
Hill had 63 receptions for 1,143 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior and was named the Offensive Player of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Arkansas' other in-state commitments -- Charleston quarterback Ty Storey, Fayetteville tight end C.J. O'Grady, Highland receiver Deon Stewart, Fort Smith Northside defensive end Daytrieon Dean and Junction City tight end/defensive end JaMario Bell -- are working hard to get Hill and Gragg to come in Fayetteville.
"They're just dreaming about the future," Gragg said. "Ty is trying to get the guys that he wants in the huddle with him. He's doing his part to get me and KJ to go up there. C.J. is telling me we could be the best [tight end] duo in college football and things like that."
Hill said the group has him thinking about the Razorbacks as well.
"It does a lot," Hill said. "That's who you're coming in with. You're already building a relationship with them."
Gragg has been to Arkansas numerous times during his brother's career and during the recruiting process, so he doesn't plan to take an official visit to Arkansas. He said he will visit Louisville (Sept. 1), Texas (Sept. 6), Ole Miss (Oct. 4), Alabama (Oct. 18) and LSU (Nov. 8).
Gragg said said Bielema is easy to talk to and is like a mentor.
"He's just a down-to-earth type of person," Gragg said. "We just talk about everything. We talk about football, what they're doing, changes they're making, who's standing out, who's not, just different things. He asks me about the family and Chris and all that."
Hill said he is well aware of the advantages that come from staying in Arkansas.
"That's big," he said. "Like, if I go somewhere else, you might not get that. You might be just a regular person, just another four- or five-star. That's big."
Hill said he is considering orally committing on his birthday, Sept. 15, but that he hasn't made that decision yet. He said even if he commits then, it's likely he'll still take his remaining official visits.
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Sports on 08/15/2014