UA assistant, cornerback find plenty to talk about

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014
University of Arkansas assistant coach Randy Shannon during media day Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 at the Fred W. Smith Football Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
University of Arkansas assistant coach Randy Shannon during media day Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 at the Fred W. Smith Football Center in Fayetteville.

Lamont Simmons wants to see if Arkansas is the right fit for him.

The Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines cornerback will be among approximately seven prospects taking official visits to Arkansas this weekend.

Simmons, 6-2, 175 pounds, 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has more than 20 scholarship offers from some of the nation’s top programs, including Arkansas, Auburn, Southern California and Penn State. He has a laundry list of things he wants to experience at Arkansas.

“Just meeting the coaching staff and seeing the facilities,” said Simmons, who will be accompanied by his mother, Shantel Williams, on the visit. “Seeing the dorms and interacting with players and getting their feel for the school.”

Spending time with Razorbacks strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert is also on his agenda.

“I want to see what type of guy he is,” Simmons said.

Simmons, who was selected to the preseason Class 4A All-State team, had 30 tackles, 1 interception and 4 pass breakups this past season after compiling 26 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3 pass breakups as a junior.

Linebackers coach Randy Shannon is Arkansas’ lead recruiter on Simmons.

“He’s a great recruiter,” said Simmons, who is rated a three-star prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network. “We can talk about anything. Most recruiters only talk football, and it’s cool to talk about other things in life.”

Simmons said his conversations with Shannon often lead to pop culture.

“We’ve talked about different movies and music,” Simmons said. “I remember him talking about The Hobbit and old school rap.”

Simmons gave Rutgers an oral commitment but has backed off. He has taken official visits to Rutgers and Auburn and plans to make trips to Southern Cal and Penn State after visiting Fayetteville.SAFETY WILL VISIT

Arkansas coaches hit the road Thursday, which marked the first day coaches could make off-campus visits to prospects at their schools and homes since Dec. 14.

Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson traveled to Alabama to visit safety Christian Campbell of Phenix City.

Campbell, 6-2, 185 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has offers from 11 schools that include Colorado State, Arkansas State, Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Western Kentucky and Southern Miss.

Johnson set up an official visit to Arkansas on Jan. 3.

He said his mother was impressed with Johnson during an in-home visit in December

“She liked him,” Campbell said. “She likes how he explains everything about the school. He was explaining about the facilities and about how many students they had at the school.”

Campbell drew rave reviews Dec. 14 for his play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in Montgomery, Ala., after recording nine tackles and a pass breakup.

“I just wanted to show them I can make plays,” said Campbell, who appears to be headed to Minnesota for an official visit Jan. 24. “So when my chance came, I made that effort. I think I did OK, but I could’ve have done better.”OTHER VISITORS

Others expected to make official visits to Arkansas this weekend include El Dorado defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson, 6-2, 330 pounds, 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash; Bentonville tight end Jack Kraus, 6-5, 245, 4.9; North Little Rock running back Juan Day, 6-2, 210, 4.5; Miami Gulliver cornerback Cornelius Floyd, 6-1, 170, 4.49; and Tucson, (Ariz.) Sabino offensive lineman Andrew Mike, 6-7, 275, 5.05.

Jackson, Kraus and Day have orally committed to Arkansas.

Floyd has scholarship offers from approximately 17 schools, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Virginia. He will be accompanied by his parents, Nelson and Audrey.

Mike and his father, Steve, will arrive around noon today. Mike is rated as a four-star prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network and has scholarship offers from more than 20 schools, including Arkansas, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington and Florida.

E-mail Richard Davenport at

Sports, Pages 26 on 01/17/2014