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:
Hogs running back prospect no dummy
Arkansas Assistant Coach Joel Thomas works with the Razorbacks during practice on Saturday, March 30, 2013 in Fayetteville.
Running back Karan Higdon of Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview received a scholarship offer from Arkansas last week and said it’s a big step as far as his recruiting goes.
“I feel like it’s a very big offer for me and a very big step towards the recruiting process and towards my goals in life,” Higdon said. “I think it could be a great opportunity to reach my dream, which is the NFL.”
Higdon, 5-9, 190 pounds, 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is orally committed to South Florida but also has scholarship offers from Arkansas, South Florida, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest.
He has a 4.0 grade-point average and participates in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, an intense curriculum for high school juniors and seniors. If completed, it allows a student to become a sophomore academically upon entering college.
“I put a lot of work into it,” Higdon said. “My parents place a big importance on that. I grew older and started realizing it’s not cool to be a dummy. No one should want to be a dummy. You should want to strive to be the best.”
Higdon said Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas respects what he has done on and off the field.
“He likes that I have good grades,” Higdon said. “He likes that a lot, and he likes what I do on the field and the way I am as a player and from a character standpoint.”
Higdon rushed 108 times for 967 yards and 15 touchdowns in 7 games. He sat out two games because of a sprained ankle and missed another because of a cancellation.
A visit to Fayetteville appears to be likely.
“I have to weigh and explore my options,” Higdon said. “Arkansas would definitely be an official visit for me.”
Higdon is aware of the success Arkansas running back Alex Collins had as a freshman. He is also aware that the Hogs are recruiting South Florida aggressively.
“I feel like they don’t play favoritism,” Higdon said. “If you’re good or great and you come in and show what you can do, they’re going to play you regardless if you’re a freshman or a senior.”
Arkansas extended scholarship offers last week to several players in Texas, and one of them has ties to Arkansas.
Houston Cypress Ridge receiver Kemah Siverand, 6-1, 190 pounds, 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has offers from 12 schools, including Arkansas, Texas, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. His mother, Lisa, is from Little Rock and has family in the area.
“It was good to hear from the coaches,” Siverand said of the Razorbacks.
He talked to his lead recruiter, defensive backs coach Clay Jennings, along with Coach Bret Bielema and other members of the Arkansas staff and discussed possibly setting up a visit.
“Pretty much every school that has offered me wants me to get down there,” Siverand said. “It’s on me to try to visit all the schools that have offered me, so I’m going to try my best to make it to the schools that have offered me.”
Siverand had 25 receptions for 611 yards and 7 touchdowns last season and is considered one of the top prospects in the nation, according to national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.
Siverand’s outstanding play on the field is matched by his work in the classroom. He has a 3.54 grade point average and plans to major in petroleum engineering.
Bielema acknowledged his hard work on and off the field.
“He wanted me to know that I’m a kid that can play,” Siverand said. “He also knows I’m a good student-athlete, meaning that I can do well on the football field and off the football field.”
Nashville receiver La’Michael Pettway celebrated his birthday Thursday by receiving a scholarship offer from Arkansas during a visit to the school.
“It was expected, and then again is wasn’t,” said Pettway, who was told of the offer by Coach Bret Bielema. “When I finally got it, it was an exciting birthday present.”
Pettway, 6-3, 200 pounds, 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash, also has scholarship offers from Alabama, Louisville, Ole Miss, Arkansas State, Nebraska and Southern Miss. He’s the ninth in-state prospect in the 2015 class to receive an offer from the Razorbacks.
Pettway finished last season with 54 receptions for 1,054 yards and 17 touchdowns after playing the first three games as a quarterback. He completed 33 of 56 passes for 342 yards and 5 touchdowns, and rushed 47 times for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Pettway is on a week-long tour of schools that includes visits to Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, USC and Stanford.
E-mail Richard Davenport at
Sports, Pages 20 on 03/21/2014