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:
Top Texas running back eager to visit Arkansas
Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas speaks during Arkansas' media day Aug. 11, 2013 in Fayetteville.
Arkansas has turned its focus to adding to an already promising 2015 class, and the Razorbacks would like to add one of the top prospects in Texas to their commitment list.
McKinney North High School running back Ronald Jones II reports scholarship offers from 14 schools, including Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU. Jones, 6-0, 185 pounds, 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas have been communicating about setting up a visit in February or March.
“I’m looking at February because my mom said that would probably be the best time,” Jones said. “I’m definitely going to be in Fayetteville. I’ll be going to at least one of them.”
Jones ran the 100 meters in 10.92 seconds and the 200 meters in 21.94 last summer, and he was named the All-District 13-4A MVP in a vote of coaches this past season. His quick burst and acceleration helped him rush 244 times for 2,406 yards, an average of 9.86 yards per carry, and 39 touchdowns while competing in Class 4A, the second-highest classification in Texas.
Jones’ engaging personality leads to easy conversation, and he credits his mother, Jackie Dockery-Jones, for his polite nature.
“She always taught me to respect everybody and not to fear anybody but God,” said Jones, who is considering attending law school. “I guess I have to give her credit for my character.”
Jones already has visited Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU, and he said Arkansas is attractive for several reasons.
“I’m honestly very interested in Arkansas because they’re an SEC team and they’re not too far way from home,” Jones said. “I figure my mom could come and see the games that’s in Arkansas. It’s mainly the conference and guys like Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Knile Davis. They’ve shown they can get running backs into the NFL. Ultimately that’s my main goal, and then Coach Thomas, he’s cool.”
Jones noted the early success of Arkansas true freshman running back Alex Collins, who rushed 190 times for 1,026 yards and 4 touchdowns.
“He started off real strong. I was really impressed,” Jones said of Collins. “As the season went on … it wasn’t the best year for them. They’re a really young team and hopefully they’ll bounce back, and that’s just going to boost my interest.”
Arkansas was looking to upgrade the back seven of its defense with the 2014 class, and it appears they did that.
The Hogs signed five defensive backs and an athlete who could play in the backfield.
CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming likes the defensive back class, including three-star plus cornerback Henre’ Toliver of Metairie (La.) Rummel. Toliver chose the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from schools such as Oklahoma, Arizona State,Nebraska, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Arizona.
Toliver, 6-1, 180 pounds, 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash, recorded 26 unassisted tackles, 7 assisted tackles, 1 tackle for a loss and 4 interceptions while helping the Raiders to their second consecutive Class 5A state title.
“He’s another physical, hard-hitting guy,” Lemming said. “I like him a lot. I think Arkansas thinks he has great potential. He’s actually played corner and safety, so he could play either one.” E-mail Richard Davenport at
Sports, Pages 25 on 02/09/2014