Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
O'Grady gives Arkansas' TE play a thumbs up
Fayetteville junior C.J. O'Grady, left, reaches to score ahead of Springdale senior Josiah Wymer during the first half of play Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Fayetteville High.
Fayetteville tight end C.J. O’Grady received a scholarship offer from Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema during Saturday’s visit and more information on the Hogs’ use of his position.
“He talked about how they had two to three tight ends on the field out of all the plays they ran this year,” O’Grady said. “It was like almost half of the plays that ran used two tight ends or more. That really stood out to me. Not many other schools have something like that to offer.”
O’Grady, 6-4, 235 pounds, 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, also has scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Louisville, Mississippi, Wake Forest, Boise State, Arkansas State, Memphis and Southern Miss. He and his mother, Jessika learned Bielema puts a major emphasis on education. Video highlights CLICK HERE
“We talked about how important academics are in college because football won’t always be there,” O’Grady said. “He said you have to have a backup plan and that’s what Arkansas is about. They’re about academics. Academics first, but you also have to bring a work ethic on to the football field as well.”
O’Grady was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All-Arkansas team after recording 45 receptions for 884 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season. After hearing the news of the offer, his mother wanted him to commit, but he’s unlikely to make a decision in the near future.
“I’m thinking about waiting because I want to see if I get the opportunity to play in the Under Armour game next year and announce my commitment there,” O’Grady said. “I think that would be cool because it’s on national TV for all of my family members to see.”
His mother was thrilled about the offer.
“She just smiled and laughed because she was proud of me,” O’Grady said. “She’s proud of me because of how far I’ve come.”
He was expected to receive a scholarship offer from Texas during a visit this weekend, but he said he might not make the trip because of the possibility of basketball practice.
The 40 million dollar football complex impressed O’Grady.
“I got to see their new lounge and hangout spots that they have,” O’Grady said. “I got see their locker room which was very impressive. They have a bunch of new stuff that kind of makes you want to go to Arkansas. I could see myself hanging out there looks like a real chill environment.”
His lead recruiter, tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. also spoke about Arkansas’ focus on academics.
“Coach Lunney was saying even before practice the first thing they would do they would go over the academics of all the players and see how they’re doing,” O’Grady said. “Academics at Arkansas is huge. It comes before sports.”
How a school uses the tight end will play a big factor in O’Grady’s decision.
“The schools I’m looking for is like a school like Arkansas,” he said. “That’s going to use tight ends for most of their offense. They’re going to use tight ends to not only block because every tight end is going to have to block, but catch the ball as well. More catching than blocking. That’s what I’m looking for.”