Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
Pine Bluff helps make 2016 class special
The junior class of football prospects in Arkansas is considered one of the best to come along in several years, but the 2016 class will likely surpass the well regarded group.
Pine Bluff alone has four sophomore prospects worthy of major college consideration.
Tight end-defensive end John Tate has already accumulated offers from Ole Miss, Louisville and Arkansas State.
Safety David Beasley, quarterback and defensive back Ladarius Skelton and running back Romar Reades will likely see offers come their way in the future.
Zebras Coach Bobby Bolding said because Tate isn’t finished growing, his college position is up in the air.
“I have no idea,” Bolding said. “He may end up being inside on defense. He maybe an end or a tight end. He may also grow into an offensive tackle. He just turned 16. There’s no telling what you’ll end up being. He’s very athletic.”
Tate, 6-3, 240 pounds recorded 27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss and 12 quarterback hurries this past season. Video highlights CLICK HERE
“I know Alabama was impressed at the basketball game when they came and watched Will (Gragg),” Bolding said. “They were impressed with his athleticism. Obviously, Arkansas’s has interest in him. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out over the course of the summer.”
Bolding thinks Beasley, 6-2 1/2, 175 is a high D-I talent.
“A lot of people are interested in David, nobody has pull the trigger yet,” said Bolding, who reports Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas State showing interest. “But he’s had a lot of looks. His dad is about 6-4. I met his uncle at the Greenwood game and he’s about 6-7, so there’s no telling how big this kid is going to be.”
This past season, Beasley recorded 30 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss, 18 pass breakups and 1 interception. Video highlights CLICK HERE
Zebra junior tight end Will Gragg is up to 14 offers from schools like Arkansas, Texas, Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU and others.
“It helps when you have a guy like Will,” Bolding said. “They’re coming and then they see these other guys and they’re going dang these guys can play.”
Reades, 5-9, 192, rushed 74 times for 622 yards, an 8.4- yard average, and 7 touchdowns. He recently ran 4.48 seconds in the 40 yard dash and power cleaned 275 pounds. Video highlights CLICK HERE
“He’s already gained 12 pounds since the season,” Bolding said. “He’s a weight room junky. He grinds in the weight room. He loves everything about football.”
Defensively, Reades recorded 24 tackles, including 2 sacks and 5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovered fumble for a touchdown and 4 blocked kicks.
“He’s a guy that blocked a field, recovered a fumble for a touchdown and had a 60 yard run for a touchdown in the state championship game,” Reades said. “We played three tailbacks last year. We won’t play three this year. He’ll get a lot more carries. He can roll.”
Bolding believes Skelton, 6-1, 200, has the physical tools and attitude to be a top flight safety at the next level. He said Skelton will play the position next fall along with quarterback.
“He’s not getting any looks right now, but it’s going to happen when they see him play defense,” Bolding said.
Skelton rushed 158 times for 974 yards and 8 touchdowns and completed 87 of 152 passes for 1,219 yards and 13 touchdowns. Video highlights CLICK HERE