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:
Utah linebacker shows spark of interest in Hogs
Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, right, talks with quarterback Brandon Allen prior to a game against Rutgers on Sept. 21, 2013 at Highpoint Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- One of the more impressive-looking athletes at The Opening is on Arkansas' radar and has an interesting tie to the Hogs.
Salem (Utah) Hills linebacker Porter Gustin, 6-4, 238 pounds, 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has offers from approximately 35 schools, including Southern Cal, Ohio State, UCLA, Oregon and Florida State. The Razorbacks appear to be close to offering.
His father, John, was a quarterback at Wyoming in the early 1990s when current Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was an assistant for the Cowboys.
Porter Gustin said his father had nothing but good things to say about Chaney.
"It's all positive," he said.
Gustin was laser-timed at 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the prelims of the SPARQ championship Tuesday morning and finished with an impressive 130.44 SPARQ rating. The rating is a standardized measure that factors in an athlete's speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness to gauge overall athletic ability.
Gustin appears interested in the Razorbacks.
"I would definitely have to start talking to the coaches a little bit more, build more of a relationship and maybe, hopefully, get out there and visit," Gustin said. "Then everything will come together after that whether they'll be in my tops. It's a process."
Gustin, who was the starting quarterback and linebacker last year, is rated the No. 17 athlete and No. 190 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN. He said he plans to narrow his list of prospective schools in the near future.
"I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks, very soon," said Gustin, who also punts. "I think I'm going to a top 10 first and hopefully go down to a top five after that."
Gustin plans to take an official visit to Notre Dame during the season and plans to take his other four allotted official visits.
Safety Deontay Anderson of Manvel, Texas, was one of a few juniors who participated in The Opening.
Anderson, 6-1, 191 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship offers from approximately 30 schools, including Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Michigan State.
Three teammates -- cornerback William Lockett, junior receiver Sean Dykes and linebacker Jordan Carmouche -- have visited the Razorbacks this summer.
"They've told me great things about Arkansas," said Anderson, who was named to the all-tournament team at The Opening. "Jordan told me that he loved the campus and all that."
Carmouche received a scholarship offer from the Hogs after a good showing June 19 at the camp. He is looking to visit Arkansas again July 24 for the Elite Camp, and Anderson said he might tag along.
Anderson said it helps Arkansas that his teammates are interested in the Razorbacks.
"You play with your teammates and you know how they play," Anderson said. "If they go there, it's more comfortable and you just feed off of them."
Anderson recorded 67 tackles, including 2 for loss, 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections and recovered 1 fumble as a sophomore. He is rated the No. 1 safety and the No. 7 overall prospect in the nation in the 2016 class by ESPN
Defensive backs coach Clay Jennings is Arkansas' lead recruiter on Anderson.
"My dad and Coach Jennings talk a lot," Anderson said. "He just keeps telling me to keep calling. He was telling me I have great ability, just a great athlete, and I have a chance to be the best."
Anderson said he plans to visit Alabama on July 14.
"Then we'll work our way back down to Ole Miss and Mississippi State," he said. "I know I'm going to A&M, maybe LSU."
CORNERBACK A FIT
Arkansas is looking to add more length and athleticism to the defensive backfield, and Houston Lamar High School cornerback Holton Hill fits that mold.
Hill, 6-3, 185 pounds, has scholarship offers from more than 20 schools, including Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska. It appears the Hogs will get a visit later this month.
"I'm going to start making my way out of the state," Hill said. "That's something I haven't done yet. I'm looking forward to that and getting out of state and seeing all of those schools."
Hill is being recruited by Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings.
"Coach Jennings is a nice guy," Hill said. "He's been recruiting me since he was with TCU, so we've had a bond since way back, like the beginning of my sophomore year. He's also one of the first ones to start recruiting me, so that's a good thing."
Being comfortable with his surroundings will make a big impact on his college decision.
"What feels home to me and whatever feels the most comfortable for me and my family, then that's where I'm going to go," Hill said.
He is rated the No. 19 cornerback and the No. 200 overall prospect in the the nation by ESPN. During 1-on-1 drills Tuesday, the first day of The Opening, Hill was one of the best defensive backs in action.
"I think I did pretty good," Hill said. "I only got caught on once, and that was on a slant route and I was playing off, so I'm going to have to give something up. You're always going to have to give something up here and there, but other than that I think I did pretty good."
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Sports on 07/13/2014