THE RECRUITING GUY:

Defensive end wakes up to an offer from Arkansas

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, March 7, 2014
University of Arkansas assistant coach Michael Smith during media day Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 at the Fred W. Smith Football Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
University of Arkansas assistant coach Michael Smith during media day Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 at the Fred W. Smith Football Center in Fayetteville.

Defensive end James Lockhart IV of Ennis, Texas, checks his direct messages on Twitter the first thing each morning, and Tuesday he had a message from Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith asking him to give the coach a call.

“Within two minutes of the conversation, he said, ‘We want to offer you a scholarship,’ ” Lockhart said. “He said they’re really excited about me.”

Lockhart, 6-4, 253 pounds, is rated the No. 14 defensive end and the No. 82 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN. He has scholarship offers from 17 other schools, including Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Ole Miss.

He said he’s been talking to Smith, his lead recruiter at Arkansas, and defensive line coach Rory Segrest.

“He seems like a really cool dude,” Lockhart said of Smith. “There’s a few coaches that I talk to from other schools. Some are cool and some are laid-back, but he seems really cool. I feel like I can relate to him with a lot of stuff.”

Lockhart, who recorded 122 tackles, 8 ½ sacks, 21 quarterback hurries and 3 forced fumbles as a junior, said Segrest likes what he sees on his highlight video.

“He seems like he’s really fired up about me,” Lockhart said.

Segrest’s five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles also impressed Lockhart.

“Yeah, of course,” said Lockhart, who was timed at 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash last summer. “If you have a coach, especially from the SEC, and he’s had experience in NFL, he knows what to look for.”

Lockhart, who has a 3.83 grade-point average, wants to be a coach after his playing days are over.

“I want to major in sports management or something in that area,” he said. “Basically, I want to be a coach. It doesn’t matter what level, I just want to be around the game as long as I possibly can.”

He hopes to visit Arkansas in the spring.

“Arkansas is definitely somewhere I want to go,” Lockhart said. “Alabama and Auburn, I plan on making those visits.”

IMPRESSED BY PITTMAN

Highly recruited offensive lineman Drew Richmond of Memphis University School said he is leery of Arkansas’ record over the past two seasons, but he isn’t of offensive line coach Sam Pittman’s track record of producing NFL-ready linemen.

Richmond, 6-5, 320, 5.3, has31 scholarship offers after Pittman told him Monday morning that he had one from the Razorbacks. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Ohio State and Florida State are among other schools that have offered.

“He told me he coached the offensive line at Tennessee, and he said after this draft he’ll have 17 offensive linemen drafted,” Richmond said. “I said, ‘Woo’. I was like, ‘Woo, woo, woo.’ Seventeen offensive linemen drafted, that’s crazy.”

Finding an offensive line coach capable of helping him get to the NFL is high priority on Richmond’s list.

“Definitely,” Richmond said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t trying to get to the league.”

Richmond isn’t sure of his level of interest in the Hogs just yet.

“I don’t know anything about Arkansas,” Richmond said. “They haven’t been that relevant lately. They were relevant when they had the 6-6 quarterback and they had Tyler Wilson and Matt Jones, so I know about them, but they’ve recently been on the downhill.”

BIG PLAY DRE

Fayetteville safety Dre Greenlaw is orally committed to Arkansas State, but he is also drawing interested from Arkansas.

Greenlaw, whose nickname is Big Play Dre, and Fayetteville tight end C.J.O’Grady visited Arkansas on Saturday. Greenlaw, 6-1, 216, 4.53, said the Razorbacks want to evaluate him during their three-day camp June15-17.

“They’re really interested,” said Greenlaw, who is expected to see some time at running back this fall. “They want me to come to some camps, so I plan to do that.”

Earning a scholarship offer from Arkansas would be a dream come true, said Greenlaw, who also has offers from Southern Miss, Memphis and Washington State.

“I would say it wouldn’t change my decision from Arkansas State,” he said. “But knowing that I have the choice of being a Razorback or a Red Wolf, it’s still pretty big-time to me.”

ANOTHER VISITOR

Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus offensive lineman Keaton Sutherland, 6-5, 280 pounds, 5.13, will take an unofficial visit to Arkansas on Saturday.

Sutherland has scholarship offers from approximately 15 schools, including Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 26 on 03/07/2014

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