Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
The Opening updates
BEAVERTON, Ore. The prelims of the Nike SPARQ Combine were held this morning. North Little Rock safety Tyler Phillips, 6-2, 208 pounds and receiver K.J. Hill, 6-1 192 entered the competition ranked No. 1 and No. 9 nationally in the SPARQ ratings out of approximately 14,000 athletes.
SPARQ ratings are used as a standardized measure of athletic ability and take into account an athlete’s speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness.
Phillips placed fourth and Hill came in at number eight in the prelims and will compete for the Nike SPARQ Combine national championship tonight on ESPNU at 7 pm.
Phillips ran a 4.73 electronic time in the 40, 3.94 in the pro-shuttle, 41.6 vertical and a 42.5 power ball toss.
Hill ran a 4.61 in the 40, 3.88 pro-shuttle, 40.1 vertical and a 40 power ball toss.
Dumas tight end Will Gragg reports running a 4.79 time in the 40, 4.2 pro-shuttle, 33 vertical and 39 power ball toss for a score of 106.
Receiver Kirk Merritt of Destrehan, La. scored the highest SPARQ rating with a 147.60. He entered the event with the second highest SPARQ rating of 138.84 behind Phillips.
In other news, it appears Arkansas is close to offering linebacker Porter Gustin of Salem, Utah. He has about 35 offers right now but there appears to be interest in Arkansas. His father, John played quaterback at Wyoming when Arkansas offensive coordinator was on the Cowboys staff.
John Gustin spoke very highly of Chaney and it appears the Hogs might have a shot at getting a visit from the linebacker should they offer.
Gustin, 6-4, 238 ran a 4.63 laser time in the 40 yard dash and finished with an impressive 130.44 SPARQ rating. He played quarterback, linebacker and punted for his team last year. He also has a 94 MPH fastball. He's definitely one of the best looking athletes at The Opening.
The media gets their first shot of interviewing the athletes at 3 o'clock central time. Should have more updates later.
Highly recruited receiver and return man Ryan Newsome of Aledo, Texas said Arkansas is still recruiting him hard even though he is favoring Oregon, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
Running backs coach Joel Thomas and receiver coach Michael Smith are talking to him. When he told them he was looking in a different direction, he was asked if he was committed and when he replied no, the coaches said we're still coming after you.
The Hogs appear to have made some headway, but still have work to do.
Linebacker Tevon Coney, 6-1, 222 of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. said he's talking to linebackers coach Randy Shannon. He said the Hogs haven't offered yet, but if they do he'll talk to his coaches and others and determined if he should visit. He mentioned late July as a possibility. He likes Shannon's honest and upfront approach to recruiting.
Junior defensive back Deontay Anderson, 6-1, 191, 4.5 of Manvel, Texas said teammate and linebacker Jordan Carmouche has told him very good things about Arkansas. Carmouche earned an offer from the Hogs in June and is looking to make a return trip on July 24. Anderson said he would think about coming up with him.
Anderon has about 30 offers.
Defensive back Holton Hill, 6-3, 185 of Houston Lamar said he's looking at trips to Florida State, LSU and Alabama and Arkansas is July. A very big fan of defensive backs coach Clay Jennings.
Hill is one that definitely stands out among the DBs.Great size and very good coverage skills. 4