The Recruiting Guy:

Offensive lineman, 6-9, 305, big fan of UA assistant

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, August 17, 2014
Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman on the sideline during the Razorbacks' Aug. 31, 2013 game against Louisiana-Lafayette at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Rick McFarland
Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman on the sideline during the Razorbacks' Aug. 31, 2013 game against Louisiana-Lafayette at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman's ability to communicate and connect with junior college offensive lineman Tyler Howell has the Hogs in line for an official visit.

Howell, 6-9, 305 pounds, plays for Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., and has scholarship offers from seven schools, including Arkansas, Ohio State, Kentucky and Missouri.

"Just the way he carries himself, I can't even explain it," Howell said of Pittman. "You just have to talk to him. Just the way he talks to his players is different from a lot of coaches. He doesn't just talk to you as a player."

Football wasn't on Howell's radar when he attended Bonner Springs High School in Kansas.

"I played basketball all through high school, but the coaching wasn't good so I wasn't developing like I should," he said. "We got a new head [football] coach in high school my junior year, and he had played at Butler and coached here. I talked to him and it just made me think about football a lot differently."

Howell plans to officially visit Arkansas on Nov. 15 for the LSU game and Ohio State on Nov. 29 when the Buckeyes play Michigan. He also is considering taking an official visit to Kentucky.

"It's probably going to come down to where I feel comfortable when I take my visit," Howell said. "I'll probably know right off the bat after I take visits, but I don't want to jump into anything too soon."

Howell is uncertain on a major.

"I was thinking social work," he said. "I want to work with kids."

Should Howell join the Hogs, he and offensive tackle Dan Skipper, 6-10, 326, would make an impressive looking set of bookends on the offensive line.

"Yeah, [Pittman] told me about that guy," Howell said. "I thought I was big."


It appears Arkansas will at least get an unofficial visit from defensive end Gabriel Campbell of Yazoo City, Miss.

Campbell, 6-6, 255 pounds, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from 10 schools, including Arkansas, Ole Miss, California, Mississippi State and Oklahoma.

"I'll probably drive up for a game this year," Campbell said. "It's not too far from for me to drive. I was going to save my official visits for places I can't drive to."

An official visit is where a school pays for the transportation, lodging and meals of a recruit. A prospect has to pay for everything except for game tickets on an unofficial visit.

Campbell is being recruited by Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith, defensive line coach Rory Segrest and receivers coach Michael Smith.

"I just hear a lot of good things about Arkansas football ," Campbell said. "I kind of narrowed it down to the schools interested in me and I was going to try and go to them this fall, and Arkansas is one."

Campbell also is a standout in baseball as a pitcher and a first baseman.

"I hit 87-88 on the gun last year," Campbell said. "That was a little while ago. It's higher now. My uncle [Tommy Campbell] played for the Mets in the 1970s."

Robb Smith told him Arkansas plans to roll out the red carpet when he makes his way to Fayetteville.

"He said you pick a day to come and we'll have an official Gabriel Campbell Day," Campbell said. "He said I'd be a real good fit for their defense."

Campbell, who has a 3.0 grade-point average, is considering studying criminology but also considering something more challenging.

" I've always wanted to be a Navy SEAL," Campbell said. "I just love those guys. They're the baddest group of guys on the planet, and I want to be apart of it. I [would] like to be able to call myself one."


Arkansas extended an unexpected scholarship offer Aug. 11 to cornerback Ryan Pulley of Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast.

"It was very surprising," Pulley said. "I really wanted that offer because I really want to play in the SEC. It was a real big offer."

Pulley, 6-1, 195 pounds, reports having about 14 other scholarship offers, including ones from Michigan State, Arizona and Tennessee. He said he wants to leave Florida to attend college.

"I really want to get out of the state," said Pulley, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at an Alabama camp."

He has been talking to defensive coordinator Robb Smith, his lead recruiter at Arkansas, about an official visit. Pulley said he'll likely visit in October or later.

Pulley, who has run the 100 meters in 10.65 seconds, also runs a leg on the 400-meter relay. Immediate playing time is a main factor for him.

"Start as a freshman," Pulley said. "I really want to go in and play immediately. That would be a big, big factor."

He also is looking at taking official visits to Tennessee, Arizona and Michigan State.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports on 08/17/2014