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:
QB Peavey was high on Hogs right from start
Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., became Arkansas’ first oral commitment for the 2014 class.
Quarterback Rafe Peavey, who will report to Arkansas today, almost seemed destined to be a Razorback before ever picking up his first football.
Peavey was born in Rhode Island but was decked out in Razorbacks clothing soon after leaving the hospital.
“He had an Arkansas onesie,” said his father, Jack, who was assistant coach at Rhode Island at the time. “When he was sitting in the high chair he had an Arkansas bib.”
Peavey, 6-2, 208 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, played high school football in Bolivar, Mo., and is rated a four-star-plus prospect and the No. 8 quarterback in the nation by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. He committed to the Razorbacks in the summer of 2012, choosing Arkansas over numerous other schools that included Missouri, Nebraska, UCLA, Boston College, Ole Miss andWest Virginia.
Jack met his wife, Rachael, while he was a graduate assistant at Arkansas under Jack Crowe and she was student. A native of Pennsylvania, Rachael had moved to Fayetteville when she was 13.
“I’ve had a lot of family attend school there,” said Rachael, whose uncle Sam Freas was Arkansas’ swimming coach from 1978 to 1985. “My sister and I have gone there.I have a cousin that’s actually working on her masters right now, and I have some family that live in Bentonville.”
Jack Peavey was the head coach at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar when Rafe attended one of former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt’s football camps as a fourth-grader along with his older brother Kolton, a quarterback at Rhode Island University. Rafe Peavey said the camp motivated him to become a Razorback.
“From that day on, I always have known I wanted to be a Razorback,” Peavey said.
Rafe, Kolton, 21, and sister Peyton, 19, learned early that the Razorbacks were the team in the Peavey household even though they were living in Rhode Island.
“The Razorbacks played in a basketball tournament in Providence, Rhode Island,” Jack Peavey said. “They knew Rachael and I were going to the game to watch the Hogs.”
Former Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino extended a scholarship offer to Peavey, his first, after watching him work out during the spring of 2012.
“It was emotional,” Rachael said of the offer. “It made me tear up, and Jack got emotional and his head coach got emotional.”
Rafe, who eventually accumulated more than 30 scholarship offers, also likes thatFayetteville is close to home.
“That was important to Rafe,” Rachael Peavey said. “So friends and family could come watch him.”
Even with the turmoil surrounding the 2012 season, which saw interim coach John L. Smith and Petrino let go, Peavey stayed strong with his commitment.
Peavey didn’t waste any time making an impression on Bret Bielema after he was hired as the Razorbacks’ new coach. After three meetings with Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who watched Peavey throw the first day of the spring evaluation period, it was agreed that Peavey was the quarterback for the 2014 class.
Peavey asked several questions during that third meeting with Bielema last June.
“Coach Bielema’s response to all that was really genuine, heartfelt,” Jack Peavey said. “He had to react on the spur of the moment to what Rafe wanted to talk about, and it was really heartfelt.”
Rachael Peavey believes her son is in good hands.
“The staff there really cares about him as a person,not just a player,” she said.
Rafe recalled being starstruck while watching Razorback players work out when he was on the Arkansas campus for the football camp in the fourth grade. Now he is looking forward to being an influence on others.
“I’m going to do my best to be a role model for little kids,” he said. “… Having the opportunity to be something like that to another person, it’s just something I’m really looking forward to.”
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.orgUA commitments ORAL COMMITMENTS WR JARED CORNELIUS 6-1, 190, 4.48, Shreveport Evangel RB JUAN DAY 6-2, 210, 4.5, North Little Rock LB DWAYNE EUGENE 6-2, 220, 4.5 Metairie, (La.) Rummel LB KHALIA HACKETT 6-2, 208, 4.63 Douglasville (Ga.) S. Paulding DE JAKE HALL 6-5, 230, Springdale Har-Ber K COLE HEDLUND 5-10, 170, Argyle, Texas DL BIJHON JACKSON 6-2, 325, 5.1, El Dorado TE JACK KRAUS 6-5, 240, 4.9, Bentonville WR COREY MCBRIDE 6-2, 180, 4.34 Geismar (La.) Dutchtown WR TORRANCE MOSLEY 5-10, 175, 4.4 Geismar (La.) Dutchtown CB CHRIS MURPHY 5-10, 180, 4.4 Marietta, (Ga.) Lassiter QB RAFE PEAVEY* 6-2, 208, 4.5 Bolivar, Mo.
TE RAVIAN PIERCE 6-4, 230, 4.53 Plantation (Fla.) OL JOVAN PRUITT 6-6, 295, 5.1 Dallas Bishop DunneDB SANTOS RAMIREZ 6-2, 180, 4.55, Shreveport (La.) Evangel CB HENRE TOLIVER 6-1, 180, 4.56 Metairie (La.) Rummel OL BRIAN WALLACE 6-6, 304, 5.2 St Louis Christian Brothers DL ARMON WATTS 6-5, 270, 5.1 St. Louis Christian Brothers UA SIGNEES WR CODY HOLLISTER 6-4, 205, 4.5 Arizona Western CC OL SEBASTIAN TRETOLA 6-4 1/2, 315, 4.9 Iowa Western CC
2015 ORAL COMMITMENTS DE-TE JAMARIO BELL 6-6, 230, 4.7 Junction City DE HJALTE FROHOLDT 6-5, 275, Denmark OL COLTON JACKSON 6-6, 291 Conway OL ZACH ROGERS 6-3, 295, 5.09 Carrollton, Texas, Hebron QB TY STOREY 6-3, 217, 4.92 Charleston * has signed an Institutional Financial Aid Agreement and will enroll in January
Sports, Pages 26 on 01/10/2014