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:
Versatility, athleticism make Ramsey coveted
Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon works during a spring practice in Fayetteville.
Linebacker is a priority for Arkansas’ 2014 class, which makes this weekend’s official visit by Randy Ramsey an important one.
Ramsey, 6-3, 210, has played cornerback, safety and linebacker for Fort Lauderdale, (Fla.) Dillard as a four-year starter. He played defensive end this past season and recorded 25 sacks.
“I just want to have a good time and meet the coaches and get to know the players,” Ramsey said before his visit. “Get to know the campus a little bit, and see if it’s the right fit for me.”
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Ramsey, who has run a 4.57-second 40, was one of six official visitors who arrived Friday. Linebackers coach Randy Shannon is his lead recruiter.
“He’s a nice guy,” Ramsey said. “He told me about everything about the school. I just want to get up there and see.”
Ramsey said he is considering official visits to Kentucky or Illinois, but he made it sound like a good visit this weekend may end his recruitment.
Arkansas struggled to find a go-to receiver in the red zone last year, and that deficiency makes Miami Norland’s Kendrick Edwards a prime recruiting target during the countdown to signing date.
Edwards, 6-6, 200, 4.6 seconds in the 40, wraps up his official visit to Fayetteville today. Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Rutgers, Syracuse and Louisville are among the 20 schools who have offered Edwards.
“I’m looking some place where I can come in and play as a freshman,” said Edwards, who was once committed to Rutgers. “Then I’m looking for a place that can fit me. A nice environment, good academics and nice people.”
He said he plans to take an official visit next weekend to Louisville, where former Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino has replaced Charlie Strong, who is now at Texas.
“They’re just starting to call me back,” Edwards said. “They were like the first offer I had, and after they offered me I like never got any calls from them. After they got their recruits, they forget about you.So I really wasn’t interested in Louisville anymore.”
Edwards had 24 receptions for 443 yards and 8 touchdowns as a junior. His senior numbers went down during his team’s 3-7 season, but he said he remains confident about his ability.
HELD IN HIGH REGARD
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema often talks about recruiting uncommon men, and defensive end Solomon Thomas of Coppell, Texas, appears to fit the mold.
Thomas, who’s wrapping up his official visit to Arkansas today, is highly regarded for his play on the field, but is also well thought of off the field too.
Thomas said his parents, Chris and Martha, deserve credit for the praise he gets.
“My mom and dad always emphasized when I was little going to church and living the right way,” said Thomas, who has narrowed his list to the Hogs, Stanford and UCLA. “Even when my parents and no one else is around [I] make sure I’m doing the right thing. Later in life that’s character, that’s integrity, that’s everything.”
Thomas, 6-3, 261, 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is rated as the nation’s No. 24 prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. He played in the U.S. Army All American game in San Antonio on Jan. 4.
Email Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports, Pages 29 on 01/26/2014