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:
New UA women's coach sees talent, makes offers
Jimmy Dykes speaks after being introduced as the eighth women's head basketball coach Sunday, March 30, 2014, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Arkansas women's basketball Coach Jimmy Dykes extended two scholarship offers after the Hogs' June 23 Elite Camp.
Fort Smith Northside junior forward Aaliyah Jackson impressed Dykes and his staff and received an offer along with Central Arkansas Christian freshman guard Christyn Williams.
Jackson recently moved to Fort Smith from Oklahoma, where she attended Edmond Santa Fe High School.
"I've had some great players throughout my career at Northside high school and she's definitely one of the best," Northside Coach Rickey Smith said. "She'll be an elite player coming out of Northside high school, I can assure you. She has a very, very aggressive warrior mentally."
Jackson, 6-0, had spoken to Dykes and was told the Razorbacks coach wanted to see her play before extending an offer.
"I finally got that chance to show him what I could really do," said Jackson, who plays for the Arkansas Mavericks during the spring and summer.
Her final decision, Jackson said, could come near the end of the summer after her junior year or at the beginning of her senior year.
"If I feel like it's just right, that I need to be at the school, I will commit early," Jackson said.
Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ranks Jackson the nation's No. 30 prospect in the 2016 class, and she's also successful in the classroom, reporting a 3.85 grade point average.
"I would love to be a physical trainer," she said.
Jackson returned to Fayetteville four days after the Elite Camp for an un0fficial visit.
"I love it up there," Jackson said. "I love the whole staff. They treat me all the same. I just love it."
Jackson said she holds Dykes in high regard.
"I just love the way he treats me when I'm there," she said. "He's awesome. He has a passion for me when I walk through the door. He just welcomes me just like how he would welcome one of his players on the team."
Jackson expresses confidence in her abilities regardless of the situation.
"I can do it all," Jackson said. "I can play the 1 through the 5 depending on what type of person is guarding me. If it's a short girl, I'll go in and post up, and if I'm at a disadvantage I can either shoot it or go right by you."
Jackson narrowly missed out on making the USA national team in her age group the past two years.
"The year before, I tried out for the 16-under," she said. "This year, I tried out for the 15-under. I made it to the last round."
Linebacker Jordan Carmouche traveled to Fayetteville with hopes of earning a scholarship offer from Arkansas during the June 19 Elite Camp.
Four days later, he got it.
Carmouche, 6-1, 200, 4.60 of Manvel, Texas, had a scholarship offer from Houston before attending Arkansas' camp, where he met with Bret Bielema in the office of the head coach.
"He was saying how he really liked my game and all of the coaches were impressed," Carmouche said.
Carmouche said he spoke to Bielema again on June 23 and was notified of his offer.
"He said he hopes I come ... and they have a lot of linebackers graduating and a spot would open up for me real soon," Carmouche said.
His experience in Fayetteville was all positive..
"The coaches are great, the facilities were great," Carmouche said. "Big campus, I loved the stadium."
Carmouche recorded 50 tackles, 4 interceptions and 4 pass breakups as a sophomore. He said linebackers coach Randy Shannon demands the best.
"He pays attention to all of the details and makes sure his players do their best," Carmouche said.
Jordan said his parents, Darnell and Evelyn, were impressed with the way Bielema stressed the importance of making the right life decisions and not getting caught up with the wrong people.
"My parents liked that he was talking to me as a person and not as a player," Carmouche said.
Carmouche said he is also drawing interest from Texas, Baylor, LSU, Arizona State, TCU, Michigan State and Georgia. He said he plans to attend Baylor's camp on July 18 and believes the Longhorns are close to making him an offer.
As for the Hogs, Carmouche said, "They're right at the top right now."
Email Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports on 07/06/2014