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:
No. 1 offensive lineman gets first-rate treatment
Jalin Barnett was offered by Arkansas on Thursday, June 12, 2014.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas did everything it could to make a lasting impression on Jalin Barnett, the nation's No. 1-ranked offensive guard, who visited the school on Thursday.
"The whole staff was there to greet me at the door," said Barnett, who plans to make the Hogs one of his five official visits. "That's amazing, I know they really want me."
Barnett, 6-3 1/3, 305 pounds of Lawton, Okla,. has received scholarship offers from 50 schools, including Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Stanford and Tennessee. ESPN rates him the No. 1 offensive guard prospect in the nation.
Offensive line coach Sam Pittman assured Barnett the Hogs are in need of his services.
"They talked about how valuable I could be," Barnett said. "They said they had two guys leaving and I could go in at left guard and start now. They kind of compared me to people who have already been drafted and I could be a high draft pick in that style of offense."
Barnett and his offensive coordinator, Ryan Breeze, arrived about 10 a.m. and left at 6:15 p.m.
"They had the day planned out," Barnett said.
The first hours were devoted to touring the facilities and talking with several of the offensive linemen, including Dan Skipper.
"They told me it was a great place to be," Barnett said. "I asked them how their freshman year went. I asked them what type of teams were the toughest to play."
Afterward, Barnett said Fayetteville isn't too far away from home and he could see himself being a Razorback.
"I really feel like I could be there," said Barnett, who hopes to visit for the Nicholls State game Sept. 6. "I feel like if I moved here I could get my grandparents up here for a visit."
Barnett said Pittman didn't let him out of his sight.
"He was on my case all day," Barnett said. "We were just hanging out having fun."
Barnett said head coach Bret Bielema talked to him about life after college.
"He showed me a graph about the four years I'll be in college," Barnett said. "It's really short, so I should think about what I want to do after college."
Highly sought cornerback William Lockett and junior receiver Sean Dykes of Manvel, Texas, plan to be in attendance today when a three-day Arkansas camp begins.
Lockett, 6-0, 185, 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has scholarship from 15 schools, including Michigan State, UCLA, Missouri, Purdue, Kentucky and Washington. He said he hopes his performance will earn him an offer from the Hogs.
"I'm really interested in Arkansas," said Lockett, who reports a 3.1 grade point average. "They're a good school, a powerhouse school. I really like that. Being a part of that would be good for me and my future."
Lockett and Dykes have been talking to running backs coach Joel Thomas.
"He said they're really interested in me and they really want me to come to camp," Lockett said. "They like the way I play, they like my style of play."
Lockett said his mother, Zelda Russell, has stressed the importance of being well-mannered and polite when meeting people.
"It's just been me and my mom my whole life," Lockett said. "She always tells me whenever I talk to somebody make a good impression on them because first impression is the most important thing while talking to someone. I just look up to my mom. She's raised me and my little sister. That's where I get everything."
Dykes, 6-2, 204, 4.57, won't participate in camp because of a broken foot he suffered during a 7-on-7 competition this spring. Oklahoma State, TCU, Ole Miss and Texas are among those showing interest in him, along with Arkansas.
His father, Billy, was a tight end and teammates with Arkansas broadcaster and former Oklahoma tight end Keith Jackson in the mid-1980s. His uncle, Hart Lee Dykes, was a highly recruited receiver out of high school and went on to play at Oklahoma State and was New England's first-round draft pick in 1989.
"I workout with my uncle in the summer and I've always had hands to catch," Dykes said. "I get that from my dad and my uncle. My dad being a tight end knows how to run routes. He goes to a lot of my practices and camps I go to. He helps me in game-type situations too. My uncle teaches me a lot of stuff too."
Dykes had limited opportunities last season and caught 17 passes for 400 yards and 5 touchdowns.
"I did good when I got it," Dykes said.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports on 06/15/2014